The upcoming Titans TV show from DC has found its Robin in actor Brenton Thwaites. The TV series headed for DC's own digital platform in 2018 has already found some of its key Teen Titans cast members, adapted from the Teen Titans comic books and animated series following the younger generation of DC heroes and former sidekicks. But the role of Dick Grayson - the former protege of Batman himself - was one of the final pieces of the puzzle for producer Greg Berlanti's team. Now, that search is finally over.
Brenton Thwaites has claimed the coveted mantle of Robin the Boy Wonder, best known to audiences for roles in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, Gods of Egypt, and The Giver. Now, speculation can shift from the actor playing the part... to the character's evolution from 'Batman's young sidekick.' A coming-of-age story that, fans hope, will one day lead Grayson to becoming Nightwing: an established, independent member of the larger Batman Family.
But before he gets to that point, Dick Grayson will need to become a leader - which is where Titans looks to generate its drama and adventure. The casting news comes courtesy of THR, with little new information on the specific characterization of Grayson that Thwaites will be bringing to life. So far, his Titans character details have been limited to a few broad descriptors, typically in keeping with his shift from sidekick to team leader. Raised in Batman's shadow, Grayson has reached a point in his vigilante career where he's striking out on his own, to create an identity, a team, and a family of his own.
DC Entertainment boss Geoff Johns offered an official welcome to Thwaites along with the announcement, praising the young actor and voicing his own excitement for what he will bring to the role of Batman's former sidekick:
Dick Grayson is one of the most important and iconic heroes in the DC Universe, and it wasn't easy to find him but we have. Brenton has the emotional depth, heart, danger and physical presence of Batman's former protege and the Titans' future leader. We're extremely lucky he's chosen to bring his talents to this project and this character.
Thwaites joins a growing cast including Australian newcomer Teagan Croft as Raven, a part-demonic magic user and Anna Diop as Starfire a.k.a. Koriand'r, a cosmic princess from a planet of alien warriors. The rumored frontrunners for Titans' Hawk and Dove have yet to be pinned down, but with Dick Grayson now in place, expect more announcements to come soon. And if the TV show will be following the modern comics, expect a romance to blossom between Thwaites and Diop's characters once the alien crosses paths with Earth's youngest heroes.
With Thwaites in place, fans will have even more reason to discuss the actual role this incarnation of Dick Grayson will occupy. With a Nightwing movie seeking its own leading actor to bring Grayson's solo career to life on the big screen, some may wonder if DC will, once again, be adapting two versions of the same hero to TV and film. But even if they adapt two versions of Dick Grayson, that doesn't necessarily mean it will be two versions of Nightwing.
Johns is careful to describe the Titans take on Grayson as "Batman's former protege," and the "Titans' future leader." To paraphrase the words of a great poet, audiences will therefore be meeting Grayson when he's 'not a Robin... not yet a Nightwing.' Some will demand a specific superhero name be revealed, but the idea of a Grayson in transition from boy to man, sidekick to hero, and therefore between identities makes sense. Not only is it true to the first incarnations of the Teen Titans story, but reinforces the previous reports of Titans introducing a Dick Grayson who feels betrayed by Batman.
In other words: if Geoff Johns and those associated with the show are hesitant about identifying Dick Grayson as 'Robin' or 'Nightwing' at this point in his story, then expect the TV version of Grayson to do the same.
What do you think of Thwaites's casting? Does he have the potential to do Dick Grayson, Robin, Nightwing, or whoever else he may be playing justice?
Titans is expected to premiere on DC’s digital service in 2018.