The Teen Titans are the comic book industries premier teen sidekick superhero team. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Teen Titans first appearance way back in 1965! They were the first, and for a long while they were the best! Now, with all of the awesome comic book titles being made into live action movies and television series, it shouldn’t come as a shock to find out that the Teen Titans are coming to life! It was announced a few weeks back that TNT had committed to put an all new live action ‘Teen Titans’ television series to pilot! If all goes well we’re looking at a full run of real live ‘Teen Titans’ action on the small screen, which is almost a surreal feeling for long time fans of the comic series. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, for one, the script of the supposed pilot episode leaked online earlier this week, which revealed what Teen Titans characters would be on the team for this live action adventure series, at least for the pilot. The Teen Titans have had over a hundred heroes amongst their ranks over the last five decades, but this series looks to be featuring only five of them (although there are six members of the team in this live action version, but more on that later). So who are these freshly revealed Teen Titans? Let’s take a look at the rundown:
Dick Grayson was THE first sidekick ever introduced in comics, originally the young protege of Batman. Grayson started his superhero career as Robin ‘The Boy Wonder’, but as time went on he realized you can’t be a ‘boy wonder’ forever. As he got older Grayson retired from the ‘Robin’ persona and took up the new mantle of ‘Nightwing’; becoming a full fledged hero in his own right without playing second fiddle to anyone else. Supposedly, this ‘Titans’ series is set to introduce us to Grayson during this time period, right as his time as Robin is coming to a close. It’s not confirmed whether we’ll see Grayson sporting his Robin gear at all in this series before leaving it behind, or if he’ll just be starting out already geared up to lead the Titans in his Nighwing gear.
Besides being one of the founders of the team, Dick Grayson is one of the most iconic members of the Teen Titans. He has been in in most incarnations of the Teen Titans in some capacity, so his role in this series as the team leader makes total perfect sense! You can’t really do the Titans proper without Dick Grayson, so he’s a no brainer for the show’s lead! Definitely a ‘yay’!
Yes, you read that right. Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, aka ‘The Oracle’ is on the team! She’s set to be wheelchair bound in this series, which means it’s set post ‘The Killing Joke’ where the Joker permanently crippled her. This means her days as Batgirl are behind her, and she’s set to be the computer savy tech genius ‘The Oracle’; although it’s been said that she will not be utilizing the ‘Oracle’ name in this series, which seems like an odd choice. Still, she’s set to be sitting back at the base talking the Teen Titans through their missions (or whatever it is they’ll be doing, which is still unclear at this time).
The question that comes to mind first is, why is Barbara here? Yes, she was a former sidekick of Batman, but Barbara has NEVER been a Teen Titan. She has never once served on the team, with the closest instance of anything similar being her appearance on the ‘Young Justice’ team in the animated series of the same name, as it strongly resembled the Titans. It just seems that with all of the characters that didn’t make the cut for this series, why is someone that has never been affiliated with this series suddenly one of the lead characters on a live action adaptation of it? The only thing that logically explains her being here, is that she probably followed Dick when he left Batman, and she’s there to serve as a plot device for a love triangle between Grayson, Starfire, and herself (don’t even get me started on that whole thing). While Barbara is a great character, and it’s great to see her in her ’Oracle’ role again, she doesn’t really fit here, and it’s disappointing to see a character slot that could have been for an iconic Titan go to a complete outsider.
Back in 1980, the ‘Teen Titans’ comic series had been cancelled, and it seemed like the series was pretty dead in the water at that point. The glory days of the Teen Titans were behind them, or so we all thought, until the writer and artist combo team of Marv Wolfman and George Perez came along and revitalized the series with a few classic members and a bunch of new team members. The book was an instant hit and blasted the Teen Titans to the top of the comics sales charts for the bulk of the 80s! One of the most iconic new team members launched in this revamped version of the Teen Titans was Starfire, an alien princess from the planet Tamaran! Starfire has abilities like flight, superhuman strength and endurance, energy projection and more, so she was a great addition to the Titans lineup! Starfire continued to be a Teen Titans mainstay for many of the ongoing ‘Titans’ related series of comics, although in the DC Universe currently she is a member of ‘The Outlaws’ alongside former Titan, Arsenal, and former Robin, Jason Todd.
So is Starfire a good fit? Well, her appearance and powerset alone make her a really expensive character to put into the series, so she’s probably going to end up eating up a lot of the budget. Then there’s her costume, which leaves very little to the imagination. The only thing to really be concerned with here, is whether the version of Starfire we actually get in this live action series is going to be very much like the Starfire we know from the comics or not. It isn’t hard to imagine a live action television series changing up her powerset or look to cut production costs. As a team member, Starfire is a great addition to this lineup, but I really hope she’s still recognizable as Starfire!
Another one of the ‘New Teen Titans’ team members to come out of the Wolfman and Perez era of Titans, Raven is the daughter of the demon Trigon, who is one of the Titans most longstanding enemies. Raven is absurdly over powered, in the best conceivable way. Imagine if the devil was actually a good guy that was constantly fighting off the darkness inside them, and that sums up Raven in a nutshell. Raven’s abilities include telekinesis, teleportation, astral projection, dimension traveling, telepathy, empathy, and the manipulation of energy, emotions, and even time! She’s pretty much as badass as it gets.
Raven is a the perfect fit for this kind of live action series. Her power set is huge, but leaves a lot to the imagination as far as how it all actually looks when she’s using them. She’s set to be the goth teen sensation of the series, taking the alias given to her by Geoff Johns in 2003 ’Rachel Roth’ for her name. Not to mention she’s going to be extremely easy to market to the ‘Hot Topic’ generation that voraciously gobbles up anything you slap a Harley Quinn pattern on. Raven is likely to be the breakout character of this series if it takes off, so whoever they cast in the part has huge shoes to fill! She’s a great fit for the series.
Hawk & Dove
What to say about Hawk and Dove… where do we begin? These two are heroes who have been portrayed by several different characters with varying power sets in the comics; sometimes as siblings, sometimes as lovers, sometimes as simply super heroic partners! The incarnation of these two we will be seeing in this live action Titans series are portrayed as the Hank Hall and Dawn Granger versions of Hawk and Dove, so that’s the version we’re going to talk about. Hank Hall was the original ‘Hawk’ of Hawk and Dove, while Dawn Granger showed up much much later. These two are the version most recently seen working together in the DC Universe, so they make total sense as the candidates for a live action hawk and Dove pairing! Hawk and Dove receive their powers from the ‘Lords of Chaos’ (good luck figuring that one out) and their powers are based on their personalities, with Hawk being really aggressive and forceful, and Dove being must more passive and non-violent. They both have enhanced speed, strength and agility, and in some incarnations, can actually turn into a Hawk and a Dove (again, good luck figuring out the logic there).
While these two have been in a few incarnations of the Teen Titans, why they are being featured in this series is beyond me. Apparently the two of them will be paired off as romantic interests for each other, and their costumes are set to undergo a MAJOR redesign, so the Hawk and Dove was get are likely to be vastly different from the versions we already know. These two are sort of the ‘odd man out’ in that they aren’t particularly iconic and don’t bring a whole lot to the table beyond the expected agnsty teen drama that will come from their relationship and personality clashing. While the two of them have generally always been enjoyable characters, they’re probably not the best choices they could have gone with, and neither of them have spent much time on the Titans roster. If it came down to it, there are at least a dozen other characters that would have been better choices for live action adaptation than Hawk and Dove.
So who would you have picked for the Titans? There are plenty of other major Titans characters that would have been easily adapted for the small screen, or that were more iconic, wouldn’t you think? Speaking as a guy who is only a few issues shy of a complete run of EVERY Titans Series, it’s awesome just to see this series actually happening, but at the same time it already leaves me with a feeling of want, like there is so much more to be done with it if they took the chance on it. At the end of the day, this is the lineup of Titans we’re getting, at least for the pilot episode. Who is to say what other beloved characters might still show up during the course of the series? Only time will tell. We’ll just have to wait and see when ‘Titans’ hit’s the small screen sometime next year!