DC Entertainment’s Hollywood-centric news has been hitting at a Barry Allen-like clip of late, with one of the latest stories to break being TNT working with Warner Bros. to potentially bring a live-action form of one of DC Comics’ most enduring teams to television in “Titans.”
The noticeable absence of the word “Teen” in the title indicates that we’re going to be dealing with a cast that, while young, is not comprised of a bunch of teenaged sidekicks. The initial industry buzz — and a tweet from DC’s chief creative officer Geoff Johns — indicates that the team will be led by Nightwing, who will be joined by Starfire and Raven. Of course, more characters will be announced as details come to light and casting is underway, and the Titans offer a deep bench for the show’s producers to pick from. But who should they choose? We’re only too happy to offer an opinion on which heroes should raise their voices in declaring “Titans together!”
As two of the most well known and iconic members of the team, Wally West and Roy Harper are particularly conspicuous by their absence, but Roy is front and center in “Arrow,” while Wally might find his way into The CW’s new DC offering, “The Flash.” For the purposes of this list, we’ve limited our focus to characters not currently involved — or potentially involved — in other live-action television projects.
It’s hard to imagine any Titans team, teen or otherwise, that doesn’t include Beast Boy. Every team needs comic relief, and Gar Logan is made for laughs. Yes, TNT would need to have an ample effects budget (or clever camera tricks) to pull off Beast Boy’s non-stop animal transformations, but it would be worth it as the enthusiastic hero has one of the most visually impressive powers in DC’s pantheon. Thanks to Cartoon Network’s successful “Teen Titans” cartoons, many members of this new show’s potential audience grew up with the antics of Beast Boy, and as the youngest member, he could be an amazing point of view character for viewers. In many ways, Beast Boy has been the heart of the Titans for decades, and he deserves to make the jump to live-action.
She may still be absent from the New 52 (although, that mystery girl just introduced in “Futures End” looks kind of familiar), but the inclusion of Wonder Girl on “Titans” would connect the team to many aspects of the DC Universe. The spotlight on Wonder Woman may shine brighter than ever once “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice” hits theaters, and while the potential “Titans” show will be separate from DC’s cinematic universe, an Amazonian representative on the team could do wonders for the series. Donna Troy has been a Titan since their inception, and no team of Titans would seem quite right without her wisdom, strength and leadership. Audiences will be familiar with her power set thanks to her connection to Wonder Woman, and DC and TNT would have a ready-made legacy hero with something to prove. If the “Wonder Girl” name proves too much of a hurdle to get over, TNT can easily resurrect her one time moniker of Troia.
In 2010, reports surfaced of a “Raven” television series being developed for The CW, but the pitch ultimately faded away. With “Titans” in the works, Raven’s time could be now. Though a hero herself, she would provide the show with a master villain in the form of her father, the demonic Trigon, while serving as a “straight man” comedic foil to characters like Cyborg and Beast Boy. Her somber, gothic demeanor makes Raven stand out from the superhero pack, while giving TV’s Titans some connective tissue to the world of magic. Teen supernatural drama is one of the hottest sub-genres in fiction, and Raven could be the Buffy/Sookie type character to bend the world of superheroes into the world of monsters and magic.
While Jackson Hyde was introduced as the new Aqualad in 2010 — just in time to be erased by the arrival of the New 52 a year later — the character has not been seen in the comics since the relaunch despite being one of the most storied Titans. Whether under his original Aqualad name or as Tempest, Garth was a key member of the teenaged crew for decades, and with constant rumors of DC including Aquaman in their cinematic universe, now could be the perfect time to stretch the legend of Atlantis into the televised DCU. Warner Bros. has been itching to dive underwater with its DC characters for years — an “Aquaman” pilot was shot in 2006, and a young version of the character was featured several times on “Smallville” — and “Titans offers the perfect opportunity to make it happen. Whether it’s Garth, newcomer Jackson or “Young Justice’s” Kaldur’ahm, there should be a place for Aqualad on “Titans.”
Terra’s betrayal of the Titans, and of Beast Boy in particular, goes down as one of the most iconic and shocking moments in the history of the team. She was like the Kitty Pryde of the group — if Kitty suddenly decided to break very, very bad. The revelation of her villainy is perfect for a season-long arc, and should the world of “Titans” somehow find itself able to connect with The CW’s “Arrow,” Terra would be the perfect path through which to introduce Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke the Terminator, to the show. Plus, Terra’s ability to mentally manipulate rocks and earth would look great on television.
The one major Justice League member not present and accounted for in some current form of media is Martian Manhunter. Despite being introduced to millions of fans via the animated series and several episodes of “Smallville,” J’onn J’onzz remains the overlooked hero of DC’s mighty pantheon. What better way to introduce the enigmatic Martian than through his lovable and brave protege, Miss Martian. M’gann M’orzz could give TV’s Titans an entry point to the cosmic side of the DCU, and her secret of being a reviled White Martian could cause some drama for the young crew of heroes. Her alien nature may be a bit redundant with Starfire presumably on the team, but Miss Martian’s personality and power set is different enough to set the two apart. Her time as a member of “Young Justice” showed just how powerful she is, and a shape-shifting, telepathic hero could give the effects team a fun power-set to bring to life.
Warner Bros. has been looking for a place for Jaime Reyes’ Blue Beetle for years. He appeared on “Smallville” and was a major part of the later seasons of “Young Justice,” and a short, live-action transformation reel wowed the Comic-Con circuit a few years back. Reyes is another legacy hero, of sorts, and would bring some much needed ethnic diversity to the cast. As Blue Beetle, Reyes could be the “new” hero of TV’s Titans, a neophyte superhero learning the ropes side by side with the more experienced members of the squad. The Blue Beetle suit is one of the galaxy’s greatest weapons, providing the perfect plot device if things ever get cosmic.
Initial “Titans” reports indicate that Starfire will be part of TNT’s “Titans,” as well she should be, having been a core member of the team since the Wolfman and Perez years. Her status as a space princess exiled by her evil sister Blackfire could provide seasons worth of plot fodder. The character’s dichotomy of being a seasoned and powerful warrior while remaining and a wide eyed innocent makes Starfire a complex and compelling character that fans have been dying to see a live-action version of for years. And most importantly, the Kory/Dick Grayson relationship was one of the most beloved Titans romances ever, creating another story-rich vein for the writers to mine.
While the character’s comics debut sparked dozens, possibly hundreds of articles due to his sexuality, Bunker has proven to be more than the Teen Titans’ token gay member — he’s perhaps the richest addition to the DCU to come out of the New 52 reboot. Frankly, we can’t imagine TNT not including him on the “Titans” casting sheet, especially when you take into account his power — the ability to create anything out of purple, solid blocks of light may sound a little odd, but it would look fantastic on television.
Rumored to play a part in “Superman V. Batman: Dawn of Justice,” Victor Stone, aka Cyborg, has been previously introduced to television audiences through his time on “Smallville” in addition to being a core part of the Cartoon Network “Titans” team. Though his inclusion on the show may be a bit of a long shot — in the comics, he’s been retconned into being a Justice Leaguer rather than a Titan — for many fans, Cyborg is an iconic member of the young team. His friendship with Beast Boy has been a central part of Titans lore for decades, and his tumultuous relationship with his father, his connection to STAR Labs and his hi-tech appearance all make Cyborg a strong candidate for TNT’s team. Simply put, the Titans just wouldn’t feel like the Titans without the presence of their strongest and most adaptable member.
With Superman headlining major motion pictures and Supergirl flying toward the world of television in her own solo series, it seems to us that “Titans” is the perfect landing place for Superboy. Thanks to the ever-increasing popularity of sci-fi stories, the concept of a teenaged clone of the Man of Steel would be a simple one to explain to audiences. The character’s presence would offer the perfect extra hook to pique the interest of the less DC-knowledgable viewer, while giving the writers plenty of teen angst fodder as Kon-El broods over the pressure of living up to his “father’s” legacy. If you thought “Smallville” mixed teen angst and superheroics, imagine everyone constantly reminding you, “Superman wouldn’t have done it like that.” And with one of the descriptions of the series mentioning Nightwing’s desire to step out from the shadows of his mentor, we have the perfect crux of an epic friendship — or fierce rivalry.
Stay tuned to CBR News for more on TNT’s “Titans” series.
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