Adapting a comic book to the screen is a trickier challenge than some may let on. Titans producers work hard to make that transition from the page to the live-action screen for DC Universe. As work on the show got underway, the minds behind the series were faced with certain challenges. At the red carpet premiere for the series, producer Akiva Goldsman opened up to CinemaBlend about one of those challenges. Goldsman said:
What’s interesting in live action is the blending of tones. At the heart of Titans is a human being that has no powers. Dick Grayson isn’t a metahuman, he’s just a really proficient weaponized acrobat/soldier, and he coexists with an alien that can shoot fire and a possessed girl. These are typically things that you can understand coexisting in a comic book more easily than on screen, because comic book audiences are more flexible that way. You watch a movie differently, the shocks signal to you what tone or genre you’re in slightly different than comics. There’s more foreplay in the storytelling, the way you withhold the meat of a thing in movies or television. So it’s tricky to keep managing the tones and feathering them together without being disorienting. I think we pulled it off, but it’s not the simplest job.
Talk about a fascinating insight! These are the kind of subtle challenges producers have to face when bringing the Titans to live-action. The producers have previously opened up about balancing Titans‘ tone and violence. In this case, Akiva Goldsman is pulling back the layers on many aspects, including what viewers expect from movies and television compared to comics, especially considering what comic book fans are used to handling. There a lot of moving parts to any adaptation.
The challenges did not end with the ones mentioned by Akiva Goldsman above. Co-executive producer of Titans Greg Walker revealed his pick for the most significant challenge. While Akiva Goldsman addressed the visual angle and only touched on Titans‘ storytelling, Walker expanded on the latter. Finding the right storyline is trickier than you may think. Walker said:
In terms of the biggest challenge, I think, was to figure out what storyline to tell this season that addressed each one of the characters individually, but told a holistic story about Titans. It is a team, and so it’s the question of how they get together that most interested me.
It makes sense that finding the right story to tell would provide its set of challenges. Add to that the pressure of bringing many of these characters to life for the first time in live-action, and the stakes are even higher. While the producers have discussed the process of making certain decisions, there were many factors to consider. Accordingly, the task of bringing them together also provided its share of trials.
Co-executive producer John Fawcett revealed the challenges he faced, saying:
I was based in Toronto, and for me it was working with the showrunners and trying to work with the other directors, trying to bring their visions altogether into one, cohesive whole.
The logistics of getting all of that into one finished product sound quite staggering in nature. Somehow, it has all come together, including the visualization and storytelling. That is a degree of teamwork the Titans themselves would likely appreciate. Thanks to The CW, viewers have been able to enjoy seeing many of their favorite DC comic book characters in a TV format. Where Titans will fall in tone and format between them and Marvel’s Netflix slate will be intriguing to see.
As for the stories the Titans crew ended up settling on, we have info. Dick Grayson, a.k.a. Batman’s first Robin, has his share of troubles when the series starts. One of the issues is his strained relationship with Bruce Wayne/Batman. That is something many probably saw coming after Dick’s now-infamous “Fuck Batman” line. Those strong feelings came from somewhere.
Brenton Thwaites recently revealed how integral uttering that F-bomb is in conveying Titans‘ tone to the audience. He also shared that Titans will deal with a time when Batman is starting to do questionable things. Thus, leaving the audience to ponder where they stand as former partners. All of which sounds exciting! Viewers have a pre-conceived notion about Batman; Titans sounds as if it will challenge that with its interpretation of the character.
While Dick will be struggling to reconcile his feelings over his mentor, he will have others by his side. Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy, among others, will be entering his orbit. Actress Anna Diop has teased her Starfire as being “badass” and “unapologetic.” With so many characters coming together to create the Titans, it is sort of reminiscent of the collaboration that went on behind-the-scenes. Different voices with various visions came together to create a united entity.
Fans will have a lot to sift through as episodes of Season 1 begin rolling out. The wait to get here has been considerable, and now it is about to pay off. The trailer for Titans has hinted at a gritty series that, as producer Akiva Goldsman previously teased, will be different than DC’s CW shows, a.k.a. the Arrow-verse. He also cautioned that episodes will not be as “nihilistic” as the darker films.
Demonstrating a great deal of faith in Titans, DC Universe has already renewed the series for a second season. That decision was made before the first season even premiered. Meaning, DC Universe did not even take a chance on letting a few episodes of the first season roll out.
It is incredible that after all of Titans‘ producers’ hard work, the time has come for the final product to be enjoyed. As of October 12, Titans Season 1 has premiered on DC Universe. New episodes of the season will debut on a weekly basis on the new streaming platform. The superhero drama is among an immense amount of new content offerings available to stream this fall. The rest of DC Universe’s original series won’t be available for a while now, but the Arrow-verse has plenty to offer for superhero and DC Comics fans alike.