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|Profession||Showbiz and TV|
Titans is a web television show that began airing in 2018. It features DC Comic book characters – Dick Grayson/Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy, and Raven. The show airs on DC Universe, an online streaming platform which provides content exclusively from DC Comics.
When it comes to comic books and any portrayal especially live-action adaptations, comic book fans are fiercely protective of the lore of the genre, to the point they can be described as mobs who would go to any length to protect their beloved mythology and they did that exactly when Anna Diop was announced as the actress set to play Starfire in the TV live-action adaptation of the Teen Titans story.
Through two cartoon shows, an animated movie, and comic books, Starfire is a female alien who has orange-colored skin and scarlet hair. Obviously, because human beings do not possess orange skin, Anna Diop, a dark-skinned actress was cast to play the supernatural being. This did not go down well with fanboys. She was attacked on social media until she was forced to disable her Instagram comments.
The entire debacle is an interesting overview of the relationship people have with comic book fans. On the positive side, plenty of people are fans of this form of art, with their childhood and even early adulthood strongly intertwined with comic stories. The stories represent a simpler time or happy memory for each fan and thus feel protective of these stories as they consider them an extension of their childhood.
While one might be sympathetic to that, it is not a justification for the racist attacks Anna Diop suffered from some fans who felt she wasn’t the best option to portray Starfire and they should not be encouraged, which the show’s producers definitely didn’t do.
Anna Diop, along with the rest of the cast faced huge skepticism towards the show, especially after the first trailer of the show was released at Comic-Con in July 2018, but together with the production team which includes Akiva Goldsman, Geoff Johns, and Greg Berlanti, the show aired its first episode on October 12, 2018, and a second season has already been approved.
A deeper look at the show outside of its controversies shows a much more interesting show.
At the announcement and marketing of the show before the first episode aired, the live adaptation of the Teen Titans story has been said to be a darker and grittier version – one that is supposed to leave the audience wondering how the broken characters continue to stick together – and right into the beginning of the show, the producers’ words start to show its meaning.
The series, Titans tells the story of Dick Grayson, the focus character of the show. He is a former sidekick of Batman, having fought along the caped crusader for many years. Now an adult, Dick Grayson is giving a life outside the shadow of Batman a try, by becoming a detective at Detroit Police Department. Dick and Rachel Roth, who is the daughter of a demon, learn of a conspiracy that would literally bring hell on earth and they team up with other heroes like Starfire and Beast Boy to fight the evil.
Cast & Characters
In a roundabout way, debuting a new show with little expectations such as the one the Titans cast started with can be good for a film or television project. It relieves the cast and production the stress of living up to the often impossible expectations of the fans and allows the fans to enjoy the show for what it is rather than putting a neurotic focus on what they expect or want it to be.
The Titans cast has benefited from this shift in perspective, making the show one of the better-reviewed show in the DC array of shows currently on the air.
Some of the cast members include main cast members – , Anna Diop, Ryan Potter, and Teagan Croft. The show’s supporting cast members include , , Conor Leslie, , amongst a few others. The Titans main cast play the various characters.
Brenton Thwaites – Dick Grayson
Brenton Thwaites has been a professional actor since 2010, playing some of the lighter romantic roles on offer in major films like Gods of Egypt and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. While Titans is not his first dark project – he had a part as Tim Russell in Oculus – Titans is his first noteworthy project with him in a darker role, and his performance has received mixed reviews from critics.
On the show, he plays Dick Grayson, a Detroit Police Detective who used to fight crime alongside Batman but has abandoned the vigilante. He forms a relationship with Rachel Roth and together, they form a group of heroes with Dick Grayson as the team’s leader.
Before Titans, the Australian born actor starred in over 20 film and television projects.
Anna Diop – Kory Anders/Starfire
Anna Diop began her career in television as a recurring character in the comedy, Everybody Hates Chris but she is now an otherworldly superhero who can absorb radiation and shake a city with her energy releases.
Diop plays one of the most popular characters in Titans, Starfire, a powerful woman from a planet called Tamaran who has no recollection of her past memories. Anna’s casting for the role caused a sizeable negative backlash but the actress was never removed from the role and she is expected to reprise her role in the second season of the show.
The Senegal born actress has appeared in other shows like 24: Legacy and Quantico.
Teagan Croft – Rachel Roth/Raven
Teagan Croft plays Raven, daughter of a demon father and human mother. She forms a connection with Dick Grayson, forming a father-daughter relationship, as a result of both characters’ shared sense of abandonment.
She started her acting career on stage in the theatrical adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. Her performance on the stage gave her the all-important exposure and attention to secure other projects.
Before she landed the role of Raven, she appeared in The Osiris Child as the lead character, and in Home and Away as Bella Loneragan. Teagan is also a passionate music fan who writes her own songs.
Ryan Potter – Beast Boy/Garfield Logan
Ryan Potter plays Beast Boy, who used to be a member of Doom Patrol – another superhero team in the DC universe. His character, Beast Boy possesses the ability to shapeshift into animals. His ability is a side effect of a drug that cured him of a disease named Sakutia.
As an actor, he began his professional career at the age of 15 and has appeared in films like Underdog Kids, Throne of Elves and his debut film, Senior Project. He appeared in the Disney blockbuster, Big Hero 6, voicing the main character – Hiro Hamada. He currently reprises the character in the television version of the film.
Ryan Potter has a great affinity for the superhero genre, known to have publicly offered a plea to to cast him as Tim Drake, one of Batman’s sidekicks in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) Batman solo movie. While he never got the role, he’s had to settle for the role of Beast Boy in Titans.
Other notable cast members include Minka Kelly who plays Dawn Granger, Alan Ritchson who plays Hank Hall, Conor Leslie as Donna Troy and Rachel Nichols as Angela Azarath.
Brendan Fraser, , , Riley Shanahan, Bruno Bichir all feature as members of the Doom Patrol. They, with the exception of Bruno Bichir, are all expected to star in the spin-off show about the team in which will be released in 2019.
What is the Schedule & Air Date?
So far, there are two seasons officially announced for the show. The first season began airing on Friday, October 12, 2018. The first season is scheduled to have 11 episodes, airing every Friday on the DC Universe streaming service. Each episode has an average running time of 50 minutes.
The first episode, which was titled ‘Titans’, was shown to attendees at the New York Comic-Con on the 3rd of October, 2018. It was later officially released on October 12, 2018, to US audience on the DC Universe streaming app. Internationally, the show is being distributed by Netflix and is set to begin streaming on the service in January 2019.
Titans TV Show News
A second season of the show was announced shortly before the show’s premiere and is expected to be released in 2019.
Batman, who is a key figure in the lead character – Dick Grayson’s story, is expected to show up in the finale of the first season.
A spin-off show, Doom Patrol based on some recurring characters in the show’s first season is scheduled for release in 2019.
Despite the initial skepticism towards the show, due to the pedigree of the main cast and the tonal shift from the Titans previous iterations, the show has recorded a mixed but mostly good reception from critics and fans alike.
On popular review aggregator site, Rotten Tomatoes, the show is rated 84% which means it is certified ‘fresh’ while another review site rates it 55 out of 100.
Other film and television critic platforms like Nerdist has praised the cast and tone of the show for delivering a fresh and new take on the Teen Titans lore.