Article by Adam Poncharoensub
It’s no secret that historically I haven’t been the biggest fan of Titans, despite that, season 2 is turning out to be more captivating than the first. The show is focusing much more on character than before and the fight choreography has impressed me recently.
Since the show’s inception, it’s pretty obvious that they’ve been putting a heavy emphasis on Dick Grayson. The character is fairly tortured and tries his best to lead a team of teenagers in the hope of giving them a family and a home, while also seemingly righting wrongs he’s committed in the past. After allowing the Robin suit to be destroyed last season, I know I’ve been clamoring to see his Nightwing transformation. It’s been slightly hinted at in various moments, but so far no blue and black to speak of!
What does he say about Batman?
Brenton Thwaites, the man chosen to sport the domino mask, recently sat down for an interview with Collider. Reading through the interview, you’ll find some fascinating tidbits, like a brief overview of the evolution of the Robin costume or Thwaites’ commitment to the Dick’s agile fighting style. What caught my attention however, was learning the origin behind the infamous “F— Batman” line. When asked about the line, Thwaites answered:
For starters, I don’t think that was on the page. Or, if it was, it was on a version I never read. It was more of an in-the-moment thing from Geoff Johns, who realized this is a very bold character decision. It’s a choice that comes from a lot of pain. It’s a moment where the character needs to say something bold in order to move on. Saying “F— Batman” in the scene, it’s in retaliation to the drug dealers being afraid of Batman and not Robin. They see Robin and they relax a little bit. So, Robin decides to beat the s–t out of them. It’s a way of saying, “Don’t worry about Batman. I’ll take care of it.” But what it’s saying to me, what I saw in that was years of pain and perhaps a childhood that was thrust into fighting crime a little too bit early, and some of that anger and resentment coming out.
It’s pretty interesting that it was Johns himself who suggested it, with no expectation that it would end up becoming a meme later on.
Story takes precedence
However, I think the most interesting bit of behind the scenes news comes from the anticipated Nightwing transformation. The aim was to have Dick become Nightwing, but it seems the story took precedence, delaying the new identity. Was Thwaites aware of the anticipation?:
Well, if it’s anything like myself, very aware. When I signed onto this, in an early meeting, they were telling me in the first season, it would be about the transition of Dick becoming Nightwing. That’s where all that training came from, in the preparation that I would become Nightwing. But, the way the story had it, we had other elements to deal with, so we went down a different path. The whole time I was very anxious to read the pages of what the story and the journey of Dick growing into Nightwing would be.
For a number of reasons, it provides an opportunity a character to realize his potential as superhero. When that happens, we feel a sense of confidence watching it. We know we have a leader who is going to win every single time on the screen. But what it also does is gives us an amazing opportunity to build up the power of Deathstroke. We spent a lot of energy and time explaining to the audience how dangerous and serious this villain is. I feel it was worth putting that time on the screen and teasing to the audience that this bad guy can only be put down by another intense superhero, which we all know is Nightwing.
Story over fan-service
There you have it, folks. The writers delayed the Nightwing transformation to prioritize the exploration of different story elements. Worst part is that, in my opinion, most of these story elements are so weak that they just aren’t worth exploring. To be fair though, there’s a certain level of integrity to keep oneself from falling into fan-service and that’s admirable.
Check out the rest of the fascinating interview here.
Titans currently airs Fridays, exclusively on DC Universe. Check out Adam Ray’s review of the most recent episode of Titans here.