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Comic Riffs | Analysis

After 'Titans' reveals its Robin, fans wonder: Which Boy Wonder are we getting?

By David Betancourt

December 5, 2017 at 12:57 PM

Brenton Thwaites will star as Robin/Dick Grayson in “Titans,” a superhero show that will debut on a new streaming service from DC Entertainment in 2018. (Warner Bros./)

Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment recently revealed the first look at Brenton Thwaites suited up as Robin for the upcoming series “Titans,” which will debut in 2018 as part of a new digital streaming service from DC.

The image answers the question many fans had when Thwaites’s casting was announced back in August: Would he be Robin or Nightwing? And now that we know Thwaites (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tales”) is going to be the Boy Wonder, a mystery remains: For how long?

DC’s classic “The New Teen Titans” comic book run in the 1980s (written by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by George Perez) was famous for was exploring the transition of Dick Grayson leaving his Robin persona, feeling he had outgrown it, and taking on the new vigilante identity of Nightwing. We don’t yet know if that will be something “Titans” producers will explore.

DC Entertainment President Geoff Johns, who will help produce “Titans” with Akiva Goldsman, Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter, referred to Thwaites’ Robin as “Batman’s former protege,” signaling he’ll be out of the shadow of the Dark Knight while he’s leading the Titans’ other young heroes. Beast Boy (Ryan Potter), Starfire (Anna Diop) and Raven (Teagan Croft) are also scheduled to appear on the series.

Related: [Johns and Frank’s ‘Doomsday Clock’ marks first big gamble by DC Comics in the ‘rebirth’ era]

Despite the fact there’s a potential Nightwing movie in the works from WB/DC, fans shouldn’t worry that it could possibly prevent “Titans” from exploring Robin’s potential change to a new superhero identity. The companies have gone out of their way to let viewers know their multiple live-action universes are not connected to each other, which is why we have a television Flash (Grant Gustin) and a movie Flash (Ezra Miller).

However, “Titans” producers might look at the popularity of Cartoon Network’s “Teen Titans Go!,” a comical take on the Titans that has featured Robin as the leader for years, and decide they want the young fans who made that show a hit to have a live-action Robin to transition to as they get older.

The “Titans” Robin suit (designed by Laura Jean Shannon) has a Tim Drake feel with its armored look, stylized “R,” bo staff, and black and yellow cape. Drake is known as the third Robin — he debuted in Batman comics in the late 1980s — and his suit has always been the top choice when it comes to live-action adaptations, going as far back as Chris O’Donnell’s 1995 portrayal of Robin in “Batman Forever.” There also looks to be a “Batman: Arkham” video game influence in the design.

Related: [‘Teen Titans: The Judas Contract’ turns a classic DC Comics tale into an animated hit]

While there is still no word as to when “Titans” or the digital service it will debut on is scheduled to arrive, we know now that when the show begins, it will be Robin leading the way.

Read more:

How ‘Teen Titans Go!’ became a 200-episode Cartoon Network hit

Superhero and sci-fi fans are going to need a lot of streaming apps — and that’s not cheap


David Betancourt writes about all aspects of comic book culture for The Post's Comic Riffs blog.

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