ROBIN without BATMAN
The BOY WONDER branches out on his own in a new superhero show
‘We start to see Dick’s frustration at living in Batman’s shadow for so long’
Netflix, available from Fri 11 Jan
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN if Boy Wonder Robin split from crime-fighting mentor Batman? That’s the premise of Netflix’s dark new Titans, which centres on Robin’s alter ego, Dick Grayson, and his battle to save the planet with a new superhero team.
As the series begins, Grayson, who’s played by Australian actor Brenton Thwaites, has parted ways with billionaire Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, and has left Gotham City. Now living in Detroit, he works as a detective by day – but at night he’s a masked vigilante, doing his best to rid the streets of crime.
‘It takes the characters we all know from the comic books and tells the stories in a more mature way,’ explains Thwaites. ‘We start to see Dick’s frustration at living in Batman’s shadow for so long and his willingness to break out and do his own thing.’
Matters become more complex, however, when teenager Rachel Roth (Teagan Croft) – soon to become superhero Raven – comes to Grayson’s attention after her mother is murdered and Rachel’s terrifying telekinetic powers are unleashed on the world.
As Rachel finds herself in terrible danger, the pair eventually team up with other troubled but extraordinary superheroes, including Koriand’r aka Starfire (Anna Diop), Gar Logan aka Beast Boy (Ryan Potter), and Grayson’s former allies Hank Hall aka Hawk (Alan Ritchson) and Dawn
Granger aka Dove (Minka Kelly).
‘Dick has a responsibility to hold it together as leader of the group. But he makes mistakes,’ explains 29-year-old Thwaites. ‘We see him learning how to become that leader. He’s trying to figure out who he is, while trying to keep the crew safe.’
The drama also delves into each of the Titans’ difficult pasts. For Grayson, that includes the unsolved murders of his circus acrobat parents and also his difficult relationship with Bruce Wayne, who took him in after their deaths.
‘Key moments from his past still haunt him and there is the grief from losing his parents,’ says Thwaites, whose previous credits include Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge and Gods of Egypt
as well as a stint in Home and Away.
‘The writers wanted to explore who the guy behind the mask was and the pain he was going through. It’s going to take a long time to iron out these deep emotional issues that we see in flashbacks.’
FEELING THE PART
While the characters’ personal traumas give the show extra bite, the intense action scenes also bring a steeliness to proceedings.
‘I trained in boxing and kick boxing, and it turned out simple and brutal,’ says Thwaites. ‘The costumes look fantastic, too. Once I put the chest plate on, that’s when I started to get excited – it has that military feel. But it was very actor-friendly, too, because I could do all my own stunts in it.’
TEAGAN CROFT AND RYAN POTTER AS RAVENAND BEAST BOY
BRENTON THWAITES AND ANNA DIOP AS THE BOY WONDER AND STARFIRE