As fans anticipate the launch of the upcoming DC Universe streaming service, more and more details are beginning to hit the scene on what is intended to be one of the main attractions for the early days of the new competitor for Netflix: Titans.
This time around, SplashReport shared an exclusive info dump on the upcoming show’s pilot episode. And oh boy, are these details an exciting read! Buckle up, folks.
First off, who the pilot will center around and the tone of the show:
“The pilot of TITANS is centered on three heroes, Robin, Raven, and Starfire (Brenton Thwaites, Teegan Croft, Anna Diop), but it begins with a flashback. The Flying Grayson Circus. This flashback is used as both a primer to the backstory of Dick Grayson (Robin) and an introduction to Rachel Roth (Raven). It does a respectable job at making the audience understand Robin’s character, akin to that of Bruce Wayne in the Batman films. It also gives a robust taste of what’s to come with Raven, highlighting her unstable psyche and untapped power. However, the rest of the pilot is structured very much around the individual heroes. Each first Act begins with a chyron separating the protagonists from each other. In this sense, it could be considered similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where each hero is given an introductory film to get the audience invested and are then brought together in an ensemble movie.
Before we get into the individual character breakdowns for the first episode, I think it’s important to discuss the tone of the show. TITANS is very much not a series for children. There are multiple f-bombs and s-bombs, among other swear-words that make it seem like they’re going for an R-rating. Moreover, the action is brutal, with bone snaps, people being shot, burned, and mangled. It’s a departure from the more joyful tone that many associates with the group, but it’s a departure that I feel is for the best. It’s refreshing to see a DC show that’s no-holds-barred instead of shying away from the more mature aspects of the mythology. It’s not as adult as something like JESSICA JONES, but it’s far darker than anything DC has put out on the small screen thus far. What separates TITANS from some of Marvel’s darker shows is the fact that it doesn’t ever really aim to be realistic. TITANS doesn’t shy away from the big, fantastical spectacle, and instead embraces the comic roots of the characters. We can have a realistic Robin fight scene, but we can also have Starfire blasting away goons with a burst of fire. It’s a mixture of realism and fantasy that I think works great.“
Next up are details on Brenton Thwaites’ portrayal of Dick Grayson/Robin:
“ROBIN is the first character we are introduced to. At this stage in his life, decades after the Flying Grayson Incident, Dick Grayson is in a terrible place. It’s not the Robin many of you are accustomed to. He doesn’t work with Batman anymore after growing to hate him and leaving Gotham for San Francisco. He’ll sometimes see a shadow of Batman, only to turn around and realize it’s his own. He’s afraid of becoming like Bruce. Nevertheless, he still wears the Robin suit instead of a Nightwing costume (which would make much more sense). In this iteration of the character, Grayson has taken up the career of being a Detective on the police force. We are introduced to some of the series’ side characters like Detective Rohrbach and Wolf, and we also notice Grayson’s plain apathy towards them. See, Robin doesn’t work with people anymore. After what Batman did to him, he’s shut himself off from any relationships, absorbing himself in his work. It’s an exciting choice for the character, and his development throughout the season will be one of its central pillars. We also get a glimpse into the action of the show, which looks to be phenomenal.“
While this incarnation of Dick Grayson is clearly much older than his counterpart from the classic Teen Titans cartoon show, I’m happily surprised that the new show seems to be following some of the facets of the cartoon in how Robin bears much more of a resemblance to his former teacher and father figure in his personality, being prone to brooding and opting to work alone at times.
Next up, Raven:
“From there, we are taken to the next chyron— RAVEN. Here we get a more extensive look into the character of Rachel Roth than in the cold open. We get to see more of her mother, Angela, an insomniac trying to manage taking care of a problematic childlike Raven. It’s been difficult. Raven’s powers are also given some spotlight early on, highlighting a deeply disturbed, almost demonic individual residing inside her. Rachel’s neighbors are well-aware of her strangeness, as are her classmates, who regularly bully her. It’s clear that Raven’s relationships at school are going to be a big part of her story moving forward. It is also within this Act that we are introduced to one of the main antagonists of the story, The Acolyte: a mysterious hitman whose intentions and superiors are unclear, but hint at a more extensive narrative at play. Without spoilers, let’s say that the Acolyte prompts some change within Rachel’s life that launch the entire show into motion.
Before we get the next chyron, we are given some more story developments with Robin and Raven.“
And lastly, everyone’s favorite lady from Tamaran, Starfire:
“And then, the next act— STARFIRE. She is probably the most intriguing character in the pilot episode, introduced in an enthrallingly enigmatic fashion. When we first meet her, Starfire is in smack in the middle of a car crash, her driver is embedded in the bloodied windshield, and armed men are chasing her for a reason unknown to us. Also, I think this is a good time to mention her outfit and appearance, as the recent set photos have caused some controversy amongst fans. Starfire is introduced to us the night after a DISCO PARTY. The reason she looks like someone out of a 1970s club is that she was at one. Her dress and hairstyle aren’t part of her usual look. So, everyone needs to relax a bit and wait for the official image. Okay… back to the story. On the escape, Starfire finds out she has multiple passports and can speak multiple languages— the identity of this woman is an absolute mystery. Some more events transpire (which I won’t divulge into for spoiler’s sake), and she is propelled on a mission that will sow the seeds for TITANS. We are chronologically reaching the end of the pilot, so the following will be very vague to avoid ruining some of the best moments of the episode. Towards the end, the culmination of the previous 50 minutes takes a head. There’s spectacle, violence, and mystery that acts as both a satisfying finish for the episode and a definite beginning for the rest of the show. The absolute greatest, the most jaw-dropping moment of the pilot happens here, and it’s so good. But you’ll have to see the episode yourself to find out what it is…“
All in all, these details are making me quite excited for the upcoming show. The classic Teen Titans animated series still holds up today, I think and while more people are finally starting to warm up to the meta-humor shenanigans that fill its younger spinoff series Teen Titans Go!, I definitely suspect that there’s an audience out there that still wants to see more of the darker side of the Titans. Clearly this new series will be aiming for a much darker direction than the original show ever went in, but thankfully it seems to be doing so in a way that marries the grit and grime of Robin’s backstory with Batman and the more fantastical side that comes from both Raven and Starfire’s stories.
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