For plenty of DC fans, an early trailer for Titans featuring a gritty, cursing Robin was enough to write off the entire new series before it ever aired. At New York Comic Con, Inverse caught up with series star Brenton Thwaites and showrunner Greg Walker, who explain (and defend) why Dick Grayson is being such a Dick Grayson.
“Because fuck Batman, dude,” Thwaites jokes in the Titans press room at New York Comic Con.
He further explains:
“He’s pissed off. He’s trying to break out and do his own thing. He’s fighting crime on his own. He doesn’t need Batman. And these particular bad guys are looking out for Batman, they’re not scared of Robin. So he’s trying to teach them a lesson and tell the town you don’t need to be scared of Batman, you need to be scared of Robin. That’s the tone, the underlying meaning of that word.”
Thwaites adds that the series Titans, an adaptation of the adolescent superhero team the Teen Titans that’s set in its own cinematic continuity, is partially about the iconic Robin/Dick Grayson character “going out on his own and becoming someone else” in an attempt to “break away from that Batman/Robin connection.”
“It’s a little hint to where the show is going to take us,” he adds.
Titans producer Greg Walker further reveals that the line was also written by famed DC comics scribe and TV producer, Geoff Johns, and that was implemented during reshoots.
“In terms of the sausage making of it, it was in a reshoot,” says Walker. “We were reshooting the alley fight scene and we were looking at what we can do to enhance that story. I think the only person who could write that and get away with it would be Geoff Johns, and he came up with that idea.”
“Once he did, it seemed — we’ve been talking about that story: Dick, Robin, struggle with identity, darkness, light, for so long, and once that moment happened, I was like, ‘Yes! That’s exactly what it is!’”
Walker also argues that saying “Fuck Batman” doesn’t “emancipate” Dick from anyone, especially not Batman. “It’s language,” he says, “but it’s an expression of where he is at that time. It’s not a final statement. It’s an ongoing struggle.”
On the subject of the line being quite the jarring thing to hear in the trailer, Walker gets it. He says:
“I don’t blame people for misinterpreting it or not understanding it when the trailer first dropped, because they don’t have the context! So it’s not their fault. but I think the feedback I’m getting is what we intended, which is when people saw it in context in the episode, it made more sense to where his character was.”
Titans premieres on October 12 on DC Universe.