Titans (2018 TV series)

Titans is an American television series created by Akiva Goldsman, Geoff Johns, and Greg Berlanti. Based on the DC Comics team Teen Titans, the series depicts a group of young heroes who join forces in their fight against evil. Featured as members of the eponymous Titans are Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites), Kory Anders (Anna Diop), Rachel Roth (Teagan Croft), Gar Logan (Ryan Potter), Jason Todd (Curran Walters), Donna Troy (Conor Leslie), Hank Hall (Alan Ritchson), Dawn Granger (Minka Kelly), Rose Wilson (Chelsea Zhang), and Conner (Joshua Orpin).

Titans
Titans (2018 TV series) title card.png
Genre
Based on
Developed by
Starring
Composer(s)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes24 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Akiva Goldsman
  • Geoff Johns
  • Greg Berlanti
  • Sarah Schechter
  • Greg Walker
  • John Fawcett
Producer(s)Robert Ortiz
Production location(s)Toronto, Ontario
Cinematography
  • Boris Mojsovski
  • Brendan Steacy
  • Fraser Brown
Editor(s)
  • Tirsa Hackshaw
  • Brian Wessel
  • Sara Mineo
  • Andrew Kasch
  • Carol Stutz
  • Brandon Hwang
  • JD Dawson
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time40–50 minutes
Production company(s)
DistributorWarner Bros. Television Distribution
Release
Original network
Picture format
Audio format
Original releaseOctober 12, 2018 (2018-10-12) –
present (present)
Chronology
Related showsDoom Patrol
External links
Official website

A live-action series based on the Teen Titans entered development in September 2014. Originally intended for TNT, a pilot written by Goldsman and Marc Haimes was ordered in December, but TNT departed from the project in 2016 before filming took place. In April 2017, it was announced that the series was being redeveloped by Goldsman, Johns, and Berlanti for DC Universe as its first original scripted program. Thwaites was cast as Grayson in September 2017 and other series regulars were cast between August and October 2017.

Titans premiered on October 12, 2018. The first and second seasons were released on DC Universe; a third season has also been announced, which will be released on HBO Max. Characters introduced in Titans would also appear in the series Doom Patrol, although Doom Patrol is set in a separate continuity.

PremiseEdit

Titans follows the young superheroes of the eponymous team as they combat evil and other perils.[2] Disbanded when the story begins, the series sees the team return when the original and new members reform the Titans. The Titans fight crime throughout various locations, including Detroit and San Francisco.

The first members of the team to appear in the series are Batman's former vigilante partner Dick Grayson, extraterrestrial Kory Anders, empath Rachel Roth, and shapeshifter Garfield "Gar" Logan. Dick is later revealed as one of the original Titans, alongside half-Amazon Donna Troy and crime-fighting duo Dawn Granger and Hank Hall. After the Titans reform, the team is joined by Batman's new partner Jason Todd, assassin Rose Wilson, and genetic clone Conner.

In the first season, Rachel comes to Dick for protection from dangerous forces pursuing her, which leads to them meeting and teaming up with Kory and Gar. The heroes eventually learn that Rachel is being targeted by her demon father Trigon, who seeks to enslave the world. The season also depicts Dick's efforts to distance himself from his mentor and his Robin persona, while Kory struggles with a bout of amnesia that leaves her unaware of her true identity.

The second season focuses on the official reformation of the Titans as Dick leads a new team composed of Rachel, Gar, and Jason. The Titans' return, however, leads to the reemergence of feared assassin Deathstroke, whose prior conflict with the original team caused their disbanding. As Deathstroke attempts to eliminate the heroes, the original Titans are forced to face him again, while other threats emerge from the malevolent Cadmus Laboratories and Kory's sister Blackfire.

Cast and charactersEdit

 
The Titans as they appear in the first season (L–R): Gar (Ryan Potter), Rachel (Teagan Croft), Dick (Brenton Thwaites), and Kory (Anna Diop)
  • Brenton Thwaites as Richard "Dick" Grayson / Robin / Nightwing: The leader of the Titans and former vigilante sidekick of Batman, seeking to move past his mentor and his Robin persona.[3][4][5] A member of the original team, he re-forms the Titans while assuming the new identity of Nightwing. Viewing his character as a "reluctant leader", Thwaites said that Dick is "trying to figure out who he is at the same time he's trying to keep the crew protected and safe".[6] Tomaso Sanelli plays the young Dick Grayson.
  • Anna Diop as Koriand'r / Kory Anders: An extraterrestrial royal from the planet Tamaran who has the ability to absorb and redirect solar energy.[7] Sent to Earth to assassinate Rachel, a bout of amnesia causes Kory to forget her mission and sends her on a journey to discover who she really is. Diop commented that the character has a "really innocent, naïve, pure, fun, curious thing about her", which she sought to bring to her portrayal, and enjoyed playing an alien because of her immigration from Senegal to the United States at an early age.[8]
  • Teagan Croft as Rachel Roth: An empath born to a demon father and human mother.[9][2] At first understanding little of her lineage and abilities, Rachel's powers lead her to Dick and subsequently becoming a member of the new Titans. Croft noted Rachel's relationship with Dick is "more of a father-daughter relationship" since they both "share the same feeling of abandonment".[10]
  • Ryan Potter as Garfield "Gar" Logan: A shapeshifter who can transform into animals, mainly a tiger, after receiving a drug that cured him of a lethal disease.[11] Gar previously lived with the Doom Patrol before joining Dick's new Titans team. A fan of the character since he watched the animated Teen Titans series, Potter described Gar as bringing "a warmth to the show" through "humor and lighthearted moments".[12]
  • Curran Walters as Jason Todd / Robin (season 2–; recurring season 1): Dick's successor as Batman's vigilante sidekick who is brought into the new Titans team at the request of Bruce Wayne.[13] According to Walters, Jason has both a "fun" and a "dark side" and transitioning between the two was the most challenging aspect of portraying the character.[14]
  • Conor Leslie as Donna Troy / Wonder Girl (season 2–; guest season 1): An adopted member of the Amazons sharing their enhanced physical abilities. Formerly Wonder Woman's sidekick, she befriended Dick at an early age and was in the original Titans team.[15] Leslie noted that Donna has "a brother-sister friendship" with Dick and the two "understand each other in a way no one else ever will".[16] Andi Hubick portrays Donna Troy as a teenager and Afrodite Drossos portrays Donna as a child.
  • Minka Kelly as Dawn Granger / Dove (season 2–; recurring season 1): A vigilante who serves as a tactical counterpart to her partner and boyfriend Hank.[17] She was also a member of the original Titans team and previously in a relationship with Dick. Kelly described Dawn's fighting style as "more that of a dance" due to the character's background in ballet, jiu-jitsu, and gymnastics, whereas Hank "is a brute and just blows stuff up".[18]
  • Alan Ritchson as Hank Hall / Hawk (season 2–; recurring season 1): The aggressive half in a vigilante duo composed of himself and his girlfriend Dawn.[19] In addition to forming the Hawk and Dove team with his half-brother Don, he was part of the original Titans. Initially reluctant to take the role because he previously portrayed Aquaman on the series Smallville, Ritchson said that he accepted the part after hearing a pitch from series co-creator Geoff Johns.[20] Tait Blum portrays the young Hank.
  • Esai Morales as Slade Wilson / Deathstroke (season 2): A biologically-enhanced assassin and former Delta Force operator who has a history with the original Titans.[21] Morales stated that Deathstroke's conflict against the Titans is "personal" for him "because you don't mess with a man's family".[22]
  • Chelsea Zhang as Rose Wilson (season 2–): Deathstroke's daughter, who shares his enhanced reflexes and regenerative healing.[23][24]
  • Joshua Orpin as Subject 13 / Conner (season 2–): A genetic clone of Superman and Lex Luthor, possessing the abilities and personality traits of both. Created at Cadmus Laboratories, he comes into contact with the Titans after escaping from the facility with Krypto.[25][26] Acknowledging that he was fascinated by Conner's internal conflict, Orpin noted that "he has an extraordinary capacity for good, and for evil" where "nothing is black and white to him, and yet everything is".[27] The character was previously portrayed by body double Brooker Muir in the first season.

EpisodesEdit

SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
First releasedLast releasedNetwork
111October 12, 2018 (2018-10-12)December 21, 2018 (2018-12-21)DC Universe
213September 6, 2019 (2019-09-06)November 29, 2019 (2019-11-29)

Season 1 (2018)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release dateProd.
code
11"Titans"Brad AndersonStory by : Akiva Goldsman, Geoff Johns & Greg Berlanti
Teleplay by : Akiva Goldsman & Geoff Johns
October 12, 2018 (2018-10-12)T15.10146
22"Hawk and Dove"Brad AndersonAkiva GoldsmanOctober 19, 2018 (2018-10-19)T13.20902
33"Origins"Kevin Rodney SullivanRichard Hatem, Geoff Johns, Marisha Mukerjee & Greg WalkerOctober 26, 2018 (2018-10-26)T13.20904
44"Doom Patrol"John FawcettGeoff JohnsNovember 2, 2018 (2018-11-02)T13.20905
55"Together"Meera MenonBryan Edward Hill & Gabrielle StantonNovember 9, 2018 (2018-11-09)T13.20906
66"Jason Todd"Carol BankerRichard Hatem & Jeffrey David ThomasNovember 16, 2018 (2018-11-16)T13.20907
77"Asylum"Alex KalymniosBryan Edward Hill & Greg WalkerNovember 23, 2018 (2018-11-23)T13.20908
88"Donna Troy"David FrazeeRichard Hatem & Marisha MukerjeeNovember 30, 2018 (2018-11-30)T13.20909
99"Hank and Dawn"Akiva GoldsmanGeoff JohnsDecember 7, 2018 (2018-12-07)T13.20910
1010"Koriand'r"Maja VrviloGabrielle StantonDecember 14, 2018 (2018-12-14)T13.20911
1111"Dick Grayson"Glen WinterRichard HatemDecember 21, 2018 (2018-12-21)T13.20912

Season 2 (2019)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release dateProd.
code
121"Trigon"Carol BankerAkiva Goldsman & Geoff Johns & Greg WalkerSeptember 6, 2019 (2019-09-06)T13.21651
132"Rose"Nathan HopeRichard HatemSeptember 13, 2019 (2019-09-13)T13.21652
143"Ghosts"Kevin TancharoenTom PabstSeptember 20, 2019 (2019-09-20)T13.21653
154"Aqualad"Glen WinterJamie GorenbergSeptember 27, 2019 (2019-09-27)T13.21654
165"Deathstroke"Nick GomezBianca SamsOctober 4, 2019 (2019-10-04)T13.21655
176"Conner"Alex KalymniosRichard HatemOctober 11, 2019 (2019-10-11)T13.21656
187"Bruce Wayne"Akiva GoldsmanBryan Edward HillOctober 18, 2019 (2019-10-18)T13.21657
198"Jericho"Toa FraserKate McCarthyOctober 25, 2019 (2019-10-25)T13.21658
209"Atonement"Boris MojsovskiJeffrey David ThomasNovember 1, 2019 (2019-11-01)T13.21659
2110"Fallen"Kevin SullivanJamie GorenbergNovember 8, 2019 (2019-11-08)T13.21660
2211"E.L._.O."Millicent SheltonBianca SamsNovember 15, 2019 (2019-11-15)T13.21661
2312"Faux Hawk"Larnell StovallTom PabstNovember 22, 2019 (2019-11-22)T13.21662
2413"Nightwing"Carol BankerRichard Hatem & Greg WalkerNovember 29, 2019 (2019-11-29)T13.21663

Season 3Edit

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

A potential live-action Titans project for cable channel TNT was announced in September 2014.[28] By December 2014, a pilot written by Akiva Goldsman and Marc Haimes had been ordered that would feature Dick Grayson emerging from Batman's shadow to become Nightwing, the leader of a band of heroes including Starfire, Raven, Hawk and Dove, and Oracle. The pilot was set with filming to occur in Toronto in mid-2015.[29][30] In May 2015, TNT president Kevin Reilly said that they hoped to have the casting locked down by the start of filming and that the show would be "very true" to the comics and "groundbreaking".[31] The series, called Titans and then Blackbirds, was first set to begin shooting in Toronto in mid-2015.[32] Production was then postponed to October.[33] In January 2016, it was announced that TNT would no longer be moving forward with the project.[34][35] In February 2016, Geoff Johns stated "We [at DC] have known about [TNT nixing Titans] for months and months and months. That's not new news to us. We have plans for Titans. It's a huge piece of DC and we have plans."[36] Johns, who had spent seven years developing the material with Goldsman, said in October 2018 that the project depended on securing the rights to Dick Grayson.[37] He said, "You couldn't do Titans without Robin ... So there was a lot of behind-the-scenes work that went into that."[37] Previous Titans projects had been hampered by the rights to Batman being locked up.[37]

In April 2017, Warner Bros. announced that Titans would debut in 2018 on DC Comics' own direct-to-consumer digital service. The series is developed by Goldsman, Johns, Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter, with Goldsman, Johns and Berlanti writing the pilot episode. Showrunner duties were given to Greg Walker.[38] All are also executive producers of the series for Weed Road Pictures and Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros Television.[39] Though twelve episodes were initially announced,[40] the eleventh episode was billed as the first-season finale in December 2018.[41][42]

Ahead of the series' premiere at New York Comic Con in October 2018, Titans was renewed for a second season[43] and the elements of the twelfth episode of the first season were moved to the second season's premiere.[44] The second season premiered on September 6, 2019,[45] and consisted of 13 episodes.[46] Production of season 2 was temporarily put on hold in July 2019 due to the accidental death of special effects coordinator Warren Appleby; the season 2 premiere is dedicated in his memory.[47][48]

DC confirmed a third season in November 2019, which was scheduled to premiere in the fourth quarter of 2020,[49][50] but was delayed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.[51] For the third season, DC Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee announced that the series would be moving to HBO Max.[52][53] At the DC FanDome in August 2020, Walker revealed that the third season will take place in Gotham City and feature appearances from Red Hood, Jonathan Crane, and Barbara Gordon.[54][55]

WritingEdit

Johns noted the series was inspired mostly by the Teen Titans comics of the 1980s, since that comic's run "had so much drama" and "was so revolutionary for its time". He added, "We really wanted to lean into the idea that every Titan of these Titans is a doorway into another genre. With Rachel [a.k.a. Raven], it's the supernatural and the horror, and the first season really focuses on who Raven is and how the Titans galvanize around her." Johns also felt the series would be "a little more adult" than the television series Riverdale, calling it "not necessarily a teen drama, [but] more of an adventure piece".[56] He said that tonally, "We wanted to do something different from everything else out there. We wanted to arrive at a tone that wasn't as welcoming as some of the DC shows have been, nor as nihilistic as some of the films have been."[37] Goldsman said that as the series continues, it will ask "How are these broken people going to cohere? Or will they?"[37] Johns noted that Robin's infamous line in the pilot—"Fuck Batman"—was a late addition to the script.[37] Thwaites said of the line, "I thought it was perfect ... This is not a show about Batman. It's a show about Dick."[37]

CastingEdit

In early August 2017, Teagan Croft was cast as Rachel Roth,[9] followed at the end of the month with the casting of Anna Diop as Kory Anders,[7] and Brenton Thwaites as Dick Grayson.[3][4] Ahead of the series premiere, Diop reduced her presence on social media because of racist attacks towards her casting.[57][58][59] The main cast for the first season would be rounded out by Ryan Potter as Gar Logan, who was announced in October 2017.[11] In early September 2017, Alan Ritchson and Minka Kelly were cast in the recurring roles of Hank Hall and Dawn Granger, respectively.[19][17] By the end of the month, Lindsey Gort had been cast as Amy Rohrbach.[60] In January 2018, Seamus Dever was cast in an undisclosed role that would later be revealed as Trigon,[61] and a month later, members of the Doom Patrol were announced with Bruno Bichir as the Chief,[62] April Bowlby as Rita Farr,[63] Jake Michaels as Cliff Steele,[64] and Matt Bomer as the voice of Larry Trainor.[65] Curran Walters and Conor Leslie appear as Jason Todd and Donna Troy, respectively.[13][15] In August 2018, Elliot Knight was cast as Don Hall.[66]

In February 2019, it was announced that Joshua Orpin had been cast as Conner for season two.[25] After the character was teased by Johns,[67] Esai Morales was cast as Deathstroke in March 2019,[21] with Chella Man and Chelsea Zhang announced as his children Jericho and Rose.[68][23] Iain Glen was cast as Bruce Wayne / Batman on April 11, 2019, marking the character's first physical appearance after being portrayed by stunt doubles in the first-season finale.[69] In June 2019, Natalie Gumede and Drew Van Acker were cast as Mercy Graves and Garth, respectively.[70][71] In July 2019, Genevieve Angelson was announced as Cadmus Laboratories scientist Dr. Eve Watson.[72] In August 2019, Michael Mosley was revealed to be portraying Dr. Light.[73] The same month, Olunike Adeliyi announced on her Instagram she had joined the cast in an undisclosed role that was later revealed as burlesque dancer Mati Matisse[74] and Hanneke Talbot was revealed to be Shimmer.[75][76] In September 2019, Demore Barnes was revealed to be portraying Wintergreen.[77] Following the character's appearance in an October 2019 trailer, Anna Diop confirmed on her Instagram that Damaris Lewis would be portraying Kory's sister Blackfire,[78] which was also confirmed by Lewis.[79]

In December 2019, it was announced that Damaris Lewis had been promoted to series regular for season three.[80]

FilmingEdit

Filming for the first season began on November 15, 2017, in Toronto, and Hamilton, Ontario,[81][82] concluding on June 28, 2018.[83] Filming for the second season began on April 2, 2019,[84] and concluded on October 8, 2019.[85] Production was put on hold due to the July 18 accidental death of special effects coordinator Warren Appleby,[47][48] but resumed on July 24, 2019.[citation needed] Filming for the third season was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2020.[86] Filming on the third season began on October 13, 2020 and is scheduled to conclude on June 10, 2021.[87]

ReleaseEdit

BroadcastEdit

After the first episode was screened on October 3, 2018, at New York Comic Con, Titans officially premiered on October 12, 2018.[40] The first season comprised eleven episodes[41] and each episode was released weekly on DC Universe until the season finale aired on December 21, 2018.[88] Outside the United States, the first season became available for streaming via Netflix on January 11, 2019.[89][90]

The second season premiered on September 6, 2019, and concluded on November 29, 2019, comprising 13 episodes.[91] Outside the United States, the second season became available for streaming via Netflix on January 10, 2020.[92]

Home mediaEdit

The first season of Titans was released digitally on March 21, 2019,[93] and on DVD and Blu-Ray on July 16, 2019.[94] The second season was released digitally and on DVD and Blu-Ray on March 3, 2020.[95]

ReceptionEdit

Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season of Titans holds a "Certified Fresh" approval rating of 80%, with an average rating of 6.66 out of 10 based on 45 reviews. The site's critical consensus states, "Despite a few tonal growing pains, Titans does justice to its source material and truly shines when its titular ensemble finally assembles."[96] Metacritic gave the series' first season a score of 55 out of 100 based on eight critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[97]

Susana Polo of Polygon praised Titans for "tempering brutal violence and dark subject matter with humor—and by giving its characters plenty of time to stretch, breathe and become attached to one another".[98] Charlie Ridgely of Comicbook.com wrote that Diop "conveys so much wonder and intrigue with her subtle and genuine expressions, but there is a consistent fierceness and tenacity that is always lurking just beneath the surface."[99] Rosie Knight of Nerdist wrote that the "cast is at the core of what makes Titans so enjoyable", while giving praise to the script as well.[100] Forbes contributor Merrill Barr compared the show to The CW's Riverdale, describing it as "a dark and gritty series very far removed from the image the Teen Titans have garnered through a variety of animated outings over the last decade". Barr found that viewers "that take the tone in stride are going to find themselves in the middle of a series dialed directly into their interests".[101] Rob Salkowitz of Forbes wrote that Titans "somehow managed to deliver on the dark-and-foreboding tone that the early DC movies so conspicuously got wrong".[102]

Kevin Yeoman of Screen Rant was critical of the show's excessive violence, writing that Titans "doesn't put forward any new or particularly compelling thoughts about its characters or about superheroes in general".[103] Similarly, Vinne Mancuso of Collider said that "if you're just a fan of some good old-fashioned ultra-violence and moody storytelling, this simply isn't a well-done example of that".[104]

The second season holds an 81% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 21 reviews. Its critical consensus reads, "Though Titans's sophomore season suffers from a slight slump at the start, it quickly resets itself, building on the momentum from its first season while laying fascinating framework for where the show could go."[105]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2019 Canadian Society of Cinematographers Awards TV Drama Cinematography Boris Mojsovski for ("Pilot") Won [106]
TV Series Cinematography Brendan Steacy for ("Dick Grayson") Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards Best Action TV Spot/Trailer/Teaser for a Series Titans “So Dark (Deadpool)”, Warner Bros., WB Worldwide Television Marketing In House Nominated [107]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Action TV Actor Brenton Thwaites Nominated [108]
American Society of Cinematographers Awards Episode of a Series for Non-Commercial Television Brendan Steacy for ("Dick Grayson") Nominated [109]

Further mediaEdit

Spin-offEdit

In May 2018, DC Universe announced the live-action series Doom Patrol had received a direct-to-series order as an intended spin-off to Titans. Despite the initial order and sharing characters and actors, however, Doom Patrol occupies a separate continuity.[110][111][112] Developed by Jeremy Carver (who wrote the pilot) for Warner Bros. Television and Berlanti Productions, the series features the Chief, Cliff Steele, Larry Trainor, Vic Stone, Rita Farr, and Jane as the members of eponymous Doom Patrol. April Bowlby, Matt Bomer, and Brendan Fraser reprise their roles as Rita, the voice of Larry, and the voice of Cliff, while Matthew Zuk and Riley Shanahan replace Dwain Murphy and Jake Michaels for the physical portrayals of Larry and Cliff[113] and Timothy Dalton replaces Bruno Bichir as the Chief.[114] The cast was also joined by Diane Guerrero as Jane, Joivan Wade as Vic, and Alan Tudyk as Mr. Nobody. Production began August 2018[115][116] and the series premiered on February 15, 2019.[117]

The incarnations of Rita, Larry, and Cliff from Doom Patrol were intended to appear in Titans' original season 1 finale. After the original finale was pulled from the season, the appearances were removed.[118][119]

ArrowverseEdit

The Titans incarnations of Hank Hall, Jason Todd, Rachel Roth, Kory Anders, and Dawn Granger make cameo appearances in the Arrowverse crossover event "Crisis on Infinite Earths", with Alan Ritchson, Curran Walters, Teagan Croft, Anna Diop, and Minka Kelly appearing in their respective roles through archival footage. The event depicts Titans as being set on the world of Earth-9.[120]

ReferencesEdit

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