From Page to Screen: The Titans by Jerry Whitworth
Recently, the pilot script for TNT’s upcoming television series The Titans based on DC Comics’ Teen Titans has reportedly been leaked. Likely the biggest reveal from this leak is the roster for the group which features a blend of the classic team with some more obscure characters and a familiar face from the Batman family. It should be noted, however, the cast may yet change for the series (especially considering actors are still yet being cast) but that seems unlikely considering TNT has rushed production of the series. Also, yet known is if the series will tie into the greater DC Television Universe (teased by CW president Mark Pedowitz) which already includes Arrow, Flash, and the upcoming animated Vixen series and rumor has it will include CBS’ upcoming Supergirl series. So, characters like Arsenal, Speedy, Kid Flash, and Supergirl could very well find their way to the series (not to mention villains like Deathstroke, Brother Blood, and Clock King). Until speculation becomes proved or disproved, however, lets look at what the series will start with.
Abandoning his Robin identity following a dissolution of his partnership with Batman, Dick Grayson has moved to Boston and become a detective (at some point, adopting the Nightwing costume and name). As the original costumed child sidekick which virtually all others have derived, Grayson has largely been forgotten by the live action adaptations of the Batman universe due to the suspension of disbelief that an adult would expose a child to such danger (or the perceived silliness of the solitary Dark Knight adopting a colorful, jovial companion to join his adventures). In this manner, the character may best be served in the capacity Titans will place him in as the lead character largely cutoff from the greater Batman universe. Regarding Robin’s connection to the Titans in the comics, he was a founding member alongside Kid Flash, Aqualad, and Wonder Girl (aka ‘the Cool Quartet’ or ‘the Fab Foursome’) where Green Arrow’s sidekick Speedy made various guest appearances before finally joining (retroactively, he was made a founding member). Considering Robin’s historic significance and larger fame, the character was viewed as the group’s leader by readers which seemingly grew into his being their leader in the comics (and various media) at some point. It wouldn’t be until the group’s reinvention as the New Teen Titans Robin abandoned his persona as Batman’s colorful companion and, in part, adopted a character Superman portrayed in the Bottle City of Kandor called Nightwing. Since this change, Grayson has largely remained as Nightwing eventually adopting the use of fighting sticks from Eskrima/Arnis/Kali called yantok as his weapon of choice.
Formerly costumed adventurer Batgirl, Barbara Gordon was injured and made wheelchair bound where she found new life as a hacker assisting Dick Grayson in his trials and tribulations. In the comics, Gordon is the daughter of police commissioner James Gordon and who fought alongside Batman and Robin for years as Batgirl before the Joker shot her, damaging her spine and taking away from her the use of her legs. Later, Gordon would adopt the hacker handle of Oracle assisting the Suicide Squad before opening up her services to others like the Birds of Prey and Justice League of America. What’s interesting about the inclusion of Gordon is that she was never a member of the Titans in the comics and thus far she will not use the identity of Oracle in the series (though surely this could change and likely will). However, most interesting is the possibilities available should Titans join the DCTVU in that Arrow has already introduced the Suicide Squad, Huntress, and Black Canary (meaning the evergrowing presence of DC Comics on television has a backdoor for expanding even further with the groundwork for a Birds of Prey series all but laid).
Little is yet known about The Titans‘ version of Raven save she will have the alter ego of Rachel Roth (an element created in recent years by Geoff Johns who today acts as Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment). Historically in the comics, Raven was responsible for the reformation of the Teen Titans resulting in the New Teen Titans when she warned Earth’s heroes about the coming of her father Trigon, an inter-dimensional demon of immense, godlike power. When the Justice League refused to pay her heed, she instead brought together the Titans to combat him where they succeeded in sealing his power for a while. Since then, Raven has been a fixture of the team’s journey and has enjoyed a bit of fame as one of the more beloved characters of the animated Teen Titans, New Teen Titans, and Teen Titans Go! series (as well as the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us).
Less is known about the character of Starfire who in the comics is Koriand’r, a princess of Tamaran betrayed by her sister Komand’r and made her slave. The sisters would later be kidnapped and experimented upon, given remarkable new solar-based powers which Koriand’r used to escape to Earth where she met Robin and joined the Titans. Over the years, a romance bloomed between Grayson and Koriand’r (now going by the codename Starfire) that almost resulted in their marriage. Afterward, the pair remained good friends and on-again/off-again lovers (which in Titans could result in a love triangle between Grayson, Gordon, and Starfire). Starfire became a mainstay of the Titans, later becoming a mentor to the next generation of teenaged Titans (she would later leave to join the Outsiders alongside Nightwing). Today, Starfire is likely best known by the public by her animated version in Teen Titans, New Teen Titans, and Teen Titans Go!
Something of an oddball entry, Hawk and Dove were brothers Hank and Don Hall who were complete polar opposites. When placed in danger, they finally agreed for the first time in their young lives leading to a pair of mysterious voices offering them power. These voices, belonging to a Lord of Chaos and a Lord of Order (godlike beings who maintain balance in the universe), empowered the young men making the conservative, macho Hank the super-strong Hawk and liberal, soft spoken Don the supremely-agile Dove. Later, the duo became infrequent allies of the Teen Titans eventually joining the team’s west coast expansion. Some years later, Don would die in the line of duty as his abilities passed on to a woman named Dawn Granger who adopted his mantle. Dawn would later be killed by a future version of Hank leading to the present day Hank suffering a psychotic break, setting the stage for the emergence of the future Hank. Dawn would later be revealed to be alive and her sister Holly inherited Hank’s powers and mantle. Hank, who had died and was resurrected in a mind-controlled fashion, went on to kill Holly and he would be truly resurrected, again assuming the role of Hawk. For Titans, the duo of Hank Hall and Dawn Granger will be employed.