Titans Set to Storm the DC Universe

by Transmute Jun

The new DC Universe service is offers a lot of benefits to its subscribers, including access to a massive library of comics and movies. Yet one of the biggest draws for fans is the number of new, live-action series coming to the fledgling network, including Doom Patrol, Harley Quinn and Young Justice. The first of these new series is Titans, which was launched with much fanfare at the recent New York Comic Con (NYCC).

Titans may be more familiar to fans as Teen Titans, either from the comics or the various animated series. Yet this version is not truly ‘teen’, although a couple of the main characters are indeed teenagers. Yet the majority of the Titans, and certainly the storylines, are adult in nature. To complement this darker tone, the series is live action.

Brenton Thwaites (Dick/Robin)

Fans were invited to the world premiere of the series, where the first 2 episodes of the show were previewed. Attendees seemed excited by what they saw, and were especially energized by a Dick Grayson (played by Brenton Thwaites) seeking his own spotlight as a Robin separate from Batman, as well as a Raven (played by Teagan Croft) just discovering her powers, not understanding the dark legacy that accompanies them. Thwaites states that Dick is struggling with the more violent path he has been shown by Batman, uncomfortable by the ease with which the two of them can take lives. Dick wants to get away from fighting like an animal in a brutal, vicious way. It is clear early on in the series that Dick wants to break away from Bruce, yet finds it difficult to do so, despite moving to an entirely new city (the series is set in Detroit). This is the context in which Robin utters the infamous ‘Eff Batman’ line, as seen in the recent series trailer.

Teagan Croft (Rachel/Raven)

Teagan Croft speaks of Raven (known early in the series as Rachel) as a broken individual who has gone through recent traumatic experiences. Every time her emotional state is heightened, bad things happen. She bonds with Dick, having visions of Dick’s own loss of his parent in an horrific circus accident. In turn, Dick wants to take Rachel under his wing, fostering her as Bruce Wayne did for him, although the idea frightens him at first. Despite being a teenager, Rachel is strong-willed enough to interact with Dick on his own terms. Croft describes Rachel as having an old soul, and being grateful for people like Robin and Starfire who help her deal with the terrifying power inside of her.

Minka Kelly (Dawn/Dove)

Starfire (played by Anna Diop) is an essential member of the Titans in any version of the story. Yet the Starfire in this version is an older woman, currently known only as Kory. She awakes at the scene of a car accident, not knowing anything about her life, or the danger in which she seems to be embroiled. Diop describes her situation as being similar to that of Jason Bourne, where she has just enough instincts to pick up on the clues of her identity, following leads that will eventually bring her to join the Titans.

Beast Boy (played by Ryan Potter) is the other teenaged member of these Titans. As Potter explains, Beast Boy uses humor to help him cope with the darker aspects of life. Humor keeps him sane, and in turn, provides a balance to the dark tone of the series. Potter describes Beast Boy as ‘the light in a dark hallway’.

Alan Ritchson (Hank/Hawk)

The final two members of the Titans are Hawk and Dove (played by Alan Ritchson and Minka Kelly). Neither of these characters have been seen as a full-fledged part of the Titans in previous incarnations, and Kelly describes those previous appearances as ‘being on the fringe’. As such, she is excited to be portraying a character that has not been seen in live action before and hopes to make it her own. Ritchson explains that he and Dove balance each other well, with Hawk being able to fire up Dove for the fight, and Dove calming Hank back down. Both aspects are necessary for the two to function as an effective unit. The pair have a history with Dick, and they are the two to whom Dick turns when presented with the problem of keeping Rachel safe from those who want to use her for their own nefarious purposes.

Overall, Titans looks to have a darker approach, yet without the self-angst that has accompanied characters such as Superman and Batman in the recent DC theatrical releases. The show is geared toward fans who appreciate darker plots and character interactions without all of the self-loathing for which recent DC films have been criticized.

Titans premieres on DC Universe on October 12. Will you be watching? Join the conversation on the FoCC forums!

Transmute Jun

Transmute Jun has an addiction to pop culture conventions, and attends as many as she can each year. When she's not traveling, she likes to stay at home reading a good book, playing a video game, or binge-watching a TV show. She can be bribed with pizza, Coke Zero and Belgian milk chocolate.