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Together At Last: Titans Promises a Tighter Team and Darker Foes

Together At Last: Titans Promises a Tighter Team and Darker...

By Joshua Lapin-Bertone Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

The Titans have faced interdimensional demons, assassins and a famously fearsome psychiatrist, but are they prepared for what’s coming next? HBO Max’s Titans returns tonight for its fourth season and with its Metropolis setting and the debut of some iconic DC villains, it promises to test the team like never before—particularly its developing Boy of Steel.

“It’s the most fun I’ve had doing a Titans season,” Superboy actor Joshua Orpin declares. “I think that the various experiences of season two and three all kind of form who Conner is now, and you see the influence of those things. You see the influence of Hawk’s death and Conner’s inability to save him. There is guilt associated with that. You see the influence of Blackfire and what he learned from his relationship with her.”

Having ended his dalliance with Kori’s sister, Conner is exploring new relationships. He also finally comes in contact with his two famously antagonistic “fathers,” Superman and Lex Luthor.

“We have an interaction,” Orpin says regarding Conner’s encounter with Superman. “We have a relationship. One of the very exciting things about this season of Titans is that Conner is in a very real sense introduced to his parents for the first time, because up until this point it’s kind of been just all hearsay. It’s been what other people have told him about Superman, and what other people have told him about Lex. He’s had to kind of coalesce those ideas into an interpretation of who those fathers are.”

However, Orpin points out that Superboy already has a strong father figure in Nightwing.

“It’s interesting that we’re dealing with Conner’s fathers, and how he interacts with them,” he explains. “Where in reality, I think it’s really important to point out that Dick Grayson is the father that he has. That’s the father figure in his life. When he faces these dilemmas and difficult decisions, that’s who he turns to for advice.”

Superboy isn’t the only one who Nightwing will mentor this season. Last season, Jay Lycurgo joined the cast as Tim Drake. As Jay establishes himself further this season, Dick will continue Tim’s training, opening the door to the brotherly kind of relationship the two characters possess in the comics. Don’t expect things to go too easily, though. The breakdown of his relationship with Jason Todd has Dick feeling rightfully cautious.

“That’s definitely on his mind, trying not to let him be misled or taken advantage of, or be directed down a path that he can’t come back from,” says Nightwing actor Brenton Thwaites. “The way to remedy that is Dick Grayson doesn’t let him into the field of action too soon. He’s trying to hold him back until he’s ready, and that frustrates Tim. He feels ready, he wants to be involved with the Titans, and we end up needing Tim before Dick feels like he’s ready. So, he sends him on his last assignment and Tim returns as a Titan. He’s ready for combat. Dick can trust him and they form a trust and a relationship from there.”

Throughout season four we’ll see Tim find his place on the team and develop strong friendships with the other Titans.

“We get to see a new budding friendship with Conner and Tim, which I know a lot of the fans will appreciate,” Orpin teases. “One of the things I like about this season are the different dynamics between the different team members, and whenever we’re paired off in various combinations to do scenes, it always feels different.”

According to showrunner Greg Walker, Tim will be exploring relationships outside of the team as well.

“You get to watch a real human side of him as he falls in love,” he reveals.

The rise of Brother Blood will also give the Titans some new challenges, putting the team in unfamiliar territory.

“This season, the Titans are facing a more supernatural villain,” shares Thwaites. “It delves into elements of horror, the occult, dark magic, elves and all kinds of weird shit that Dick Grayson hasn’t ever encountered before. So, he has to rely upon another set of skills and reach out to friends of his that he has met in the past that he normally wouldn’t do.”

“The destination of Brother Blood was less interesting to me than the path of how we get there,” Walker acknowledges. “Nobody loves a cult leader, although I suppose if you’re in a cult, you’re pretty thumbs up on a cult leader. Generally, though, they don’t fare well in history, so I was less interested in that destination than I was in the story of Sebastian, played by Joseph Morgan. When he finds out he has a mission to be potentially all-powerful and all-great, how does that affect him?”

According to Walker, there will be a lot of symmetry between season one and season four, with themes and concepts returning.

“It opens a door to horror, which I really felt like we needed to go into this season,” he says. “We did a little bit in season one and we went back to it in season four. Season four is in a conversation with season one all the time.”

This includes Gar Logan finally facing the trauma he’s been holding onto since the first season.

“It’s been three seasons of trauma for Gar, and this season is diving into mental health,” shares actor Ryan Potter. “It’s diving into using the pain as fuel for self-growth and self-discovery. Gar’s powers evolve in ways we haven’t seen on the show, quite drastically and quickly. There is a force that kind of pervades through DC that Gar will be communing with, which helps to bring him back into his primal self and form his ability to be greater than he ever has been with his limiting self-belief.”

If you’re wondering about Rachel and Kory, however, don’t worry. They’re central to this season’s storyline. “

“Kory gets a new mission statement this season and has to figure out what she’s supposed to do,” Walker reveals. “That will affect everything—her identity, her relationship with Dick which plays a big part of this season, and ultimately the path she chooses as a hero. Rachel comes off of a season last year where she was partially in exile and comes back to the Titans a full-fledged member, but with kind of a new sense of who she is. She is less troubled, and she’s someone who has kind of become the glue of the family.”

The cast promises that this season will deliver on some things viewers have been wanting since the series began in 2018.

“Gar takes a step back to kind of reevaluate what he needs, and when he does that, the level of growth that comes out of this character this season offers a big payoff,” shares Potter. “Fans have been wanting something of this for a while and I think this is the season where people will be pleasantly surprised.”

According to Orpin, Conner will have a similar journey.

“By the end of season four, as a person, he is so wildly different from who he was at the season’s beginning,” he promises. “Frankly, Conner absolutely goes through it this season. So much happens to him this season that you couldn’t expect a person to be unaffected by that.”


New episodes of Titans drop Thursdays on HBO Max. For the latest news out of Titans Tower, visit our official Titans series page.

Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DC.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.