Titans will be the flagship live-action TV show of DC’s new streaming and subscription platform, DC Universe, and will be led by Brenton Thwaites (Gods of Egypt) as Dick Grayson a.k.a. Robin. Though Dick Grayson was the first to take up the mantle of Batman’s sidekick, he wasn’t the last, and intriguingly Titans will also feature the second Robin, Jason Todd (Curran Walters). This, along with the moody tone of the official promo photos so far and the fact that Titans‘ synopsis describes it as “a gritty take on the classic Teen Titans franchise,” has us wondering if we’ll see Dick Grayson graduate to his other well-known superhero identity: Nightwing.
Dick wasn’t actually the first to take up the mantle of Nightwing. It was originally an alter-ego used by Superman, but after briefly leaving the Teen Titans, Dick returned and decided that he needed a new superhero name and costume. He took up the name Nightwing and the blue-and-black outfit as a tribute to his two mentors, Superman and Batman, in Teen Titans #44.
The Teen Titans are currently appearing in a distinctly less gritty and more animated form in Teen Titans Go! on Cartoon Network, where Nightwing has made several appearances, but only via various characters visiting the future and meeting Robin’s future self. Nightwing appeared via similar machinations in the earlier Teen Titans cartoon series, when Starfire falls through a time portal and ends up in the future. However, Titans has an opportunity to actually show Dick Grayson’s graduation from Robin to Nightwing, and there have already been a few indications that this could be on the cards.
The official promo photos for Titans so far have all shown Thwaites in his Robin costume, but the colors are very muted and the costume has heavy padding, making it a far cry from the popular image of Robin in tights and bright primary colors. Thwaites himself will be turning 29 this year, so he may not be able to convincingly play a “Boy Wonder” for much longer. Moreover, one of the show’s creators is Greg Berlanti, whose superhero shows on The CW haven’t shied away from shuffling superhero identities between characters (there have now been four different versions of Black Canary on Arrow).
Episode seven of Titans is titled, “Jason Todd,” and the introduction of the second incarnation of Robin (even if Jason Todd doesn’t adopt that mantle just yet) certainly seems like it’s laying the groundwork for Thwaites’ Robin to take up a new identity. Alternatively, Jason Todd could appear in the series as his other superhero alter ego, Red Hood, which he took up after being murdered by the Joker and then brought back to life.
The biggest potential roadblock to Thwaites appearing as Nightwing in Titans is the fact that Warner Bros. has a Nightwing movie in early development, and may not want to dilute hype for the big-screen version of the character by introducing a live-action Nightwing in the TV show first. That said, we have both a TV and a movie version of The Flash at the moment, and Supergirl has its own version of Superman, so this may not actually be an issue after all.
Titans will premiere on DC Universe in 2019.
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