If some comic book fans have felt that in this world of blockbuster heroes marching to the big screen and TV networks everywhere, the sidekicks and successors are being left out in the cold, we've got some good news. It looks like a few supporting characters are next in the spotlight, with Titans, a live-action adaptation of the decades-old "Teen Titans" DC Comics series is currently in development from Warner Bros. television for TNT.
As THR reports, Titans will tell essentially the same story as that of the original comic book, beginning with Dick Grayson a.k.a. 'Robin the Boy Wonder' taking on a solo mission: recruiting younger crimefighters to form a new generation of superheroes - and friends. The show is moving toward a pilot order from the network, with Akiva Goldsman (Fringe, I, Robot) and Marc Haimes sharing the role of writer and executive producer.
It seems DC and WB aren't all that strict when it comes to keeping mention of Batman off of TV, as the reported synopsis makes no attempt to remove Batman from the equation:
Based on characters from DC Comics, Titans revolves around a group of young superheroes-to-be who are recruited from every corner of the DC universe. The action-themed drama centers on Dick Grayson, who emerges from the shadow of Batman to become Nightwing, the leader of a fearless band of new superheroes including Starfire, Raven and more. The show is described as a dramatic adventure series that will explore and celebrate one of the most popular comic book titles ever.
It's possible that the official details (and the show itself) will minimize the emphasis on the caped crusader, since even Fox's Gotham has to make due with the hero's villains, and a young Bruce Wayne. But it won't be easy to tell the tale of Robin's ascent into Nightwing without alluding to his mentor, and with Starfire and Raven mentioned by name, the mere existence of the series raises more questions than other in-development DC properties.
Exactly which characters beyond those mentioned will appear in the cast is hard to discern, made even harder by those members currently rumored to be in development for other projects (and other networks). Traditional members like Kid Flash a.k.a. Wally West (potentially set to appear in the future of The CW's Flash), Roy Harper (current cast member of Arrow), Cyborg (rumored to appear in Batman V Superman), and even Wonder Girl (sidekick to Wonder Woman) pose obvious problems.
While the comic and animated adaptations have rotated members in and out, the core premise and attitude has remained the same. When rumors arose of a plan to bring a live-action Young Justice to The CW, the rumored blend of superhero action and teen drama seemed to make it a perfect fit for the network. It would seem that for one reason or another, the show has been deemed a better fit for TNT (assuming another network wasn't always the plan).
The removal of "Teen" from the title could show that TNT is looking for a show to counter Gotham's more 'grown up' style, but with Starfire (an alien princess) and Raven (a half-demonic empath) mentioned, it may not take itself too seriously.
Without further details, it's only safe to say that the decision to center a series around Dick Grayson's rise to a standalone hero - not Batman's plucky sidekick - is a no-brainer. There had long been rumors of Nightwing appearing in Arrow, but the history of "Teen Titans" is testament to Grayson's staying power as a protagonist. If anything, it's surprising to see that WB wouldn't decide to adapt a 'Nightwing' series themselves. The decision to keep any mention of Batman - or his famous Boy Wonder - out of the Arrow/Flash universe could prove telling.
We'll keep you up to date as more information arrives, but what do you think of a live-action adaptation of the Teen Titans? The super-team has found fans in animation, but could a more 'grown-up' approach find success with an older audience? Sound off in the comments.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce for updates on Titans as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.