Researching the Role
Dever freely admits that, although he did read some comic books when he was growing up, he wasn’t very familiar with Trigon or the Titans. Instead of DC Comics, Dever grew up with a healthy dose of Dell Comics and early Transformers comics. “Oh my God, (my mom) has hundreds of Dell Comics that were all Walt Disney stuff, so I read all of those. And I was really into all of the early Transformers stuff,” Dever said. “I think it was sort of a graduation from watching the cartoon and realizing there’s kind of a cool, dark world of the Transformers that they’re not even going to touch in the cartoon series.
“That was my only experience. I grew up in the middle of nowhere and we didn’t have a comic book shop … so it was whatever my parents had laying around.”
While doing research for the role, Dever became engrossed in the different storylines of the Teen Titans and finding his place, as Trigon, in the stories. However, since he was doing his research before anyone knew what part he would be playing in the show, Dever said making trips to the comic book shop became rather interesting.
“There’s been a lot of trips to the comic book store without letting anyone know what I was interested in,” Dever said. “I would go ‘Oh, Teen Titans, yeah, let’s go with that.’ ‘OK, who are you into in the Teen Titans?’ ‘You know, how about Raven?’ They would just give me a look and say ‘Why would you want to follow a teenaged girl around?’ ‘Oh, no reason. She’s so mysterious, right guy? Like, who is she?’ So, I was getting these guys to order all of these back copies for me and then studying up on the new Raven series, which I really like – the one that’s currently running right now – and just knowing this is the direction to head.”
‘Sins of the Father’
The theme of betrayal is very prevalent in the ‘Titans’ series, and it’s one Dever thinks really makes the show shine. During his research, he learned that Raven’s power, when she gets upset at things, “that her dad takes on a little bit of it.”
“I guess it’s ‘sins of the father,’ isn’t it? That’s not even a comic book theme. That goes back to Shakespeare. That goes back to Sophocles,” Dever said. “It’s kind of cool to realize, ‘Yeah, I show up when she’s using her powers. She’s vulnerable at that point.’ I represent a side of her that’s always present. It’s been a lot of fun doing the research and catching up on all these themes that are very playable for an actor.
Along with his betrayal of Raven, Dever said the season finale (which turned out to be episode 11 instead of 12) was absolutely perfect in his eyes because fans get to see how Trigon manipulates Dick into betraying his own father figure, Bruce Wayne.
“What I love is that Trigon could have done a lot of things to turn these people. But what he settled on was betrayal. And they needed it to be a personal betrayal,” Dever said. “There are two points of betrayal where Robin betrays that it’s Bruce Wayne. The second betrayal, it’s very slight and I don’t know if the audience got it or not, when Trigon’s in the Wayne Mansion and he’s with the assault team coming in, there’s a point where it’s very possible Robin might not give the secret entrance to the Batcave. And he gives it up. There’s a little, slight moment when I do a little smile, then go to the clock. ‘Here we go, we’re going into the Batcave.’ So, he gives him up and, at that point, I know I got him.”
This, according to Dever, was much more satisfying than what the alternatives could have been.
“It was this as opposed to what? A big monster coming in there, putting someone in submission, putting someone into chains, throwing someone in a cage? Instead, he made them turn against something that they loved,” Dever said. “And he knows that he’s got them. That’s what I love. It was very well written and I’m glad that’s what they did with it because it adds a lot more for the actor, just getting someone to give away a secret.”
The Missing 12th Episode
When the series was first announced, fans were ready for the 12 episodes that were originally scheduled. While the 12th episode was filmed, the producers of the show decided to use it as the second season premiere, leaving a few fans scratching their heads.
Dever, who said he didn’t even know until recently that the 12th episode wouldn’t be shown until next season, hopes fans aren’t too upset about the decision, because he believes the ending of the 11th episode provided a much better cliffhanger.
“They don’t tell actors very much about these things,” Dever said. “But we shot (episode 12) and it’s awesome. I think they wanted to leave it with a cliffhanger and a good tease with these guys in peril so that we can see them emerge from it and how they struggle with it.”
The Fanboy Moment
Dever feels that it’s “kind of an honor” to officially be part of the DC Universe canon. That being said, there was a moment while filming the season finale that caught the veteran actor a little by surprise.
“There was this moment when I’m on my knees about to get slashed in the face by Batman with – I don’t think it was a Batarang, it was more like a knife, like a bat-shaped knife, ‘Batknife’ I don’t know – but there was this moment where I’m being slashed in the throat by him and I look up and the stunt guy steps in there and he’s wearing a full Batman costume and I’m like, ‘Holy shit, this is Batman! This is amazing!’ It’s just so surreal,” Dever said. “I’m in the Batcave and Batman’s about to kill me and I’m thinking this is amazing.
“You never think you’re going to be in that situation and here you are with an authorized version of Batman. This is a legal version of Batman. This isn’t some dude at Halloween, this is Batman! And he’s slashing you in the throat and it’s just amazing. I felt like a little kid there for a second.”