The fact that drastic changes were made to the season 1 finale of Titans has been confirmed by its showrunner, but what was supposed to happen in DC's original version of the episode? Titans season 1 received a decidedly mixed response from fans and critics. On one hand, the mature tone and uncompromising violence was a breath of fresh air for often cartoonish characters, but slow pacing and a lack of time dedicated to developing the Titans as a 4-piece were highlighted as key issues. One element of Titans' debut season that was roundly panned, however, was the finale, largely because the last episode aired was not initially intended or filmed to act as the conclusion of season 1.
Many viewers came out of Titans' first season feeling that the story was not so much left on a cliffhanger, but was genuinely incomplete, with virtually no plot resolution offered and no major climactic battle to send fans away satisfied. It quickly emerged that DC had ditched their original Titans finale, replaced it with the penultimate episode, and then planned to rework some of the axed footage into the upcoming season 2 premiere.
When Titans' sophomore run did finally begin, however, the stitchmarks were, once again, very much on show. The season 1 finale and season 2 premiere failed to match-up in a variety of ways and the alterations left considerable narrative gaps and character inconsistencies. Meanwhile, major new characters were dealt with in alarmingly quick fashion and previously important mysteries were dropped without explanation. It's clear that the end of Titans season 1 and the start of season 2 were Frankenstein jobs, but what exactly was intended to happen in the cancelled episode?
What Happens In The Aired Titans' Season 1 Finale
After Rachel's mother is revealed to have been on Trigon's side all along, the Titans' resident emo kid is trapped in the house with Gar and her inter-dimensional demon of a father. On the outside, Dick and Donna team up with Kory to uncover both her alien heritage and Rachel's true nature, rushing to the scene as soon as they find out the truth. Meanwhile Rachel mentally reaches out to Hank and Dawn, instructing them to find Jason Todd. When Dick's team finally reach the possessed farmhouse, Robin heroically rushes in and is entrapped by Trigon's dark influence, and the majority of the final episode subsequently takes place inside Dick's head, as he dreams about breaking the Bat.
When season 2's premiere picks up the story, virtually all of the Titans fall into the same Trigon-shaped trap, but Gar inspires Rachel to break free of her father's control, the Raven is unleashed, Trigon is defeated and everyone is saved. The story then moves swiftly onto Dick forming the new Titans in San Francisco and the introduction of Deathstroke.
What Happened To The Titans In The Original Season 1 Finale
Instead of ending at 11 episodes with "Dick Grayson," Titans season 1 would've added an additional twelfth episode called "Raven" and, as first reported by GWW, this addition would've drastically altered how the Titans fared. The build up to meeting Trigon would've been near identical and all of the main cast would've congregated around the same isolated rural building as they do in the final version of the story. Unfortunately for Robin fans, the Boy Wonder was always set to spend the season 1 closer in a Gotham City illusion, although the contents of this were somewhat altered as plans for the episode changed. Various reports back in August 2018 claimed that Brenton Thwaites would appear as Nightwing at some point during Titans' first season, donning a costume (probably during the dream sequence) that would never be fully revealed to the audience. This is corroborated by more recent information about the cancelled episode and, naturally, would've planted the seed for Dick's true superhero evolution in season 2.
Gar's bad day would've gotten a whole lot worse in the earlier version of the episode. The trippy scenes from the premiere in which Dark Dick pursues Gar through a maze of corridors and rooms would've remained, but the sequence was meant to end with Dick actually killing Gar off, only for the Beast Boy to be revived thanks to Rachel. This follows on from when Trigon heals a near-death Gar in the penultimate episode, and would've given viewers an early clue that Raven might actually be more powerful than her old man when given the right emotional trigger. References to Dick killing Gar remain present in Titans season 2, strongly hinting this was a feature of the original finale. Fortunately, Gar's nightmare would've been softened by the arrival of the Doom Patrol, albeit the version with their own DC Universe show, not Gar's friends seen previously in Titans. According to reports, the oddball team would've arrived by portal, establishing the concept of multiple Earths that is a staple of DC canon in the comics and on TV. In an interview posted to the DC Comics website earlier this year, Doom Patrol showrunner Jeremy Carver hinted at a connection between his show and Titans that he wasn't sure he could discuss openly, potentially nodding towards the axed crossover.
What Happens To Trigon In Titans' Original Season 1 Finale
Instead of Trigon's true form emerging during Titans' season 2 premiere, the transformation would've occurred in the finale, and also been more faithful to the comics in terms of the villain's size. After declaring his intentions for world domination, the final battle of season 1 would've been Raven vs. her father, similar to what transpired in the first episode of season 2.
Images have previously surfaced showing Rachel in her comic-accurate Raven outfit in the first version of Titans' season 1 finale. This is because Rachel's power wouldn't have derived directly from Trigon as it did in the finished episode, but from training to control her powers in another dimension, allowing the character to emerge from her otherworldly cocoon as a bona fide superhero with all of her comic abilities. It was via this method she would ultimately defeat her Dad, rather than by using the power gained from having her heart ripped out.
Surprisingly, it appears that Trigon was always meant to be dealt with in the space of a single episode, rather than moving on to become a more prominent antagonist in season 2. The fact that Trigon was completely absent from the marketing campaign of Titans' season 2 proves that his demise in the first season's finale was long-planned, and behind-the-scenes images prove that a new villain was set to be established as a last sting to see out the episode. These shots highlight the Titans taking down a squad of goons who were employed by H.I.V.E., thus leading gradually towards the reveal of Deathstroke.
How The Original Titans Season 1 Finale Would've Changed Season 2
Had the first version of Titans' season 1 finale remained in place, many elements of the second season would've played out differently. Rachel, for instance has experienced a strange arc thus far, at first struggling to control her powers and then seemingly able to use them at will to help heal Conner Kent and restrain Donna in a cab, all with little in the way of on-screen explanation. This could certainly be the product of the changes made to Raven's role in the finale. Had the original "alternate dimension training" idea stuck, Rachel would have entered Titans' second season as a completely new character, rather than resetting back to the fragile teen who can't control her overwhelming abilities.
Dick taking on the Nightwing mantle would've been foreshadowed well in advance, also changing the complexion of his season 2 arc. The steps Dick has taken towards becoming Nightwing so far in season 2 haven't been universally well-liked by fans, with many questioning his motivations. Once again, this might be because the original idea was to have the impetus for Nightwing begin in season 1's finale, perhaps leading Dick into slowly figuring out what that vision meant throughout season 2.
Most importantly, however, the confirmation of the DC multiverse would've cracked open a range of possible storylines and characters that could've been taken advantage of. Once that door has been opened, it's very difficult to close and Titans would've been obliged to begin exploring other Earths and dimensions beyond the prime world featured in the show. This would've had the added benefit of giving Titans a solid excuse to make further story and character deviations - the Titans universe is just one of many.
Titans season 2 continues with "Faux-Hawk" November 22nd on DC Universe.