DC's Titans Theory: That’s Not Really Batman

Titans Batman Bruce Wayne Iain Glen

Titans season 2 finally saw the official introduction of Bruce Wayne to the titular group's world, but there are actually signs that things might not be what they seem and that Bruce Wayne might not be Bruce Wayne at all. The character of Batman loomed over Titans season 1 as little more than a specter, driving a lot of Dick Grayson's motivations and informing the majority of his decisions. As Dick sought to forge his own identity out from beneath his former mentor's considerable shadow, things came to a head in season 1's makeshift finale. Trapped within a hypnotic trance, Dick ultimately killed Batman and succumbed to his inner darkness.

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That particular cliffhanger was promptly dealt with in the Titans season 2 premiere when Rachel Roth (a.k.a. Raven) ventured into Dick's subconscious and brought him back to his senses. She then went on to rapidly defeat her villainous and demonic father, Trigon. As a result, she similarly restored the rest of the Titans and afforded them a fresh (and infinitely more lighthearted) start ahead of the coming episodes. As the group ultimately split into smaller groups and subsequently went their separate ways, Dick Grayson opted to return briefly to Wayne Manor. Although it was ostensibly to drop off Jason Todd (a.k.a. Robin), it also served as a way for Dick to bury the hatchet with Bruce and officially lay the past between them to rest.

Related: Titans Theory: Why Season 2 Is Completely Ignoring The Original Villain

There, fans were finally introduced to Bruce in the flesh. Played by Game of Thrones' Iain Glen, Titans' version of Bruce Wayne was more of a veteran than the majority of past on-screen incarnations. Emerging to greet him, Bruce and Dick had a lengthy conversation about their shared history. The discussion culminated with Bruce asking his former protege to take his current one, Jason Todd, under his wing - in order to help "smooth out his rough edges". Although the scene worked well enough on its own, there was undeniably something off about the whole thing, most notably in the characterization of Bruce Wayne. As such, could Titans be seeding a huge twist or could it symptomatic of something even more egregious - inconsistent writing and gaping plot holes?

Iain Glen Isn't Acting Like Bruce Wayne Or Batman

Batman Casting Titans Iain Glen

Over the years, Glen has proven himself an actor of considerable talents. In regards to this show, however, then Titans' Bruce Wayne has been a disappointment. A main focal point of the criticism has revolved around his accent, which has proven less than convincing. Rather than consistently American, Glen has veered wildly between the kind of British delivery he was known for as the beloved Jorah Mormont and Glen's own native Scottish twang. While that may have worked for the extensively traveled protector of Daenerys Targaryen, it has worked less so for this version of Bruce Wayne - who, decades after his training and officially into his tenure as Batman, has remained largely based in Gotham. Equally, he has a tendency to go up at the end of his sentences, which, scientifically speaking, traditionally denote a lack of confidence and a sense of inferiority. Both of which are traits nobody could ever associate with the Caped Crusader, in or out of his infamous suit.

Even more than that, Titans season 2's version of Bruce Wayne has seemed in stark contrast to everything that was conveyed in season 1. Dick Grayson spent the entirety of the first eleven episodes batting the supposed darkness and violent, rage-fuelled impulses that he declared were instilled within him by Bruce Wayne. Dick presented a version of Bruce that was cold, distant, and perpetually on the verge of a lethal frenzy. That came to a head in Dick's aforementioned hallucinations, when Batman finally snapped and crossed the line into a more murderous version of justice. Although it was merely an illusion, it correlated fully with how Dick described Bruce. Similarly, it was a destiny Dick believed his mentor - and, by extension, himself - was headed toward.

Since his official introduction in the season 2 premiere, Titans has presented a version of Bruce Wayne that is none of the above. He has more than a hint of warmth and, at some points, has felt infinitely softer than season 1 would have had audiences believe. Rather than the growly, stern kind of father figure that seemingly demanded that Dick stay away from Hawk & Dove, the Bruce of season 2 has seemed more supportive of not just them but Dick's whole titular group - even going as far as to be seemingly funding them and gifting them Titans Tower.

Related: Robin’s Original Titans Team: Origin & Members Explained

Is Bruce's Mischaracterization Performance or Plot?

On the surface, this could just be further proof of Titans trying to smooth out its own rough edges and course-correct its own mistakes from season 1. After all, what ended up being the season finale was originally intended to be the show's penultimate installment. Instead, it was decided that the season would end on the cliffhanger that episode presented. As a result, the show underwent a number of reshoots and retconned its former season 1 finale into the season 2 premiere. Although that, in itself, comes with a whole host of questions and issues, it could just be (especially when it comes to Bruce Wayne) a matter of the show needing time to adjust and find its footing within the new tone and direction it's now headed.

But could it, potentially, be even more than that? In the world of comic books, it's not outside the realm of possibility that what audiences are seeing is not the real Bruce Wayne at all. When Hawk and Dove went to recruit Jason Todd (at Raven's behest), the young Robin informed them that both Batman and Alfred were off on the other side of the world assisting the Justice League. Bruce would later have made it home by the time Dick Grayson arrived, albeit with no sign whatsoever of Alfred. As well as greeting them personally in episode 1, he also answered the phone himself in episode 2. While those might seem (and could well be) nothing, they could also be everything.

Bruce Wayne and Batman are both forms that have been assumed by others over the years, either in combination or individually. While they are sometimes by Bruce's own decision, it is sometimes a result of villainous intent. While such as Bane has adorned the cape and cowl before, it's unlikely that Dick would be fooled by him trying to act as Bruce Wayne. There are plenty of others, however, that could pull off the ruse. Tommy Elliot (a.k.a. Hush), for example, once posed so convincingly as Bruce Wayne that he was able to pilfer funds from Wayne Enterprises. Equally, Hush's methods of deception are so proficient, he once even convinced Batman that he was a reincarnated Jason Todd. Also, a number of characters within the Batman canon possess the ability to change their shape. Titans has even, in recent episodes, leaned more than ever before into the existence of such villainous metahumans.

Even Trigon, despite being banished, has been revealed in recent episodes as still being able to exert influence on the world. Given his manipulation of Dick Grayson's subconscious, he would even have the requisite knowledge of Bruce Wayne to be both simultaneously convincing and a little inconsistent. If Titans are indeed adapting the popular "Judas Contract" storyline from the comics, Deathstroke will need a mole connected to the titular team as he did in the source material. As such, having Bruce Wayne himself serving that function would indeed be a way to majorly surprise fans. If indeed it isn't the real Bruce Wayne at all, it would also serve as a way to explain the character never suiting up to help out.

Related: Titans’ Deathstroke Is Already Retired In Season 2 - Here’s Why

This Is How Much Of A Problem Bruce Is In Titans

Iain Glen as Bruce Wayne Batman in Titans

The showrunners previously expressed their intent on keeping the focus strictly on the titular team. As such, Bruce Wayne will probably be little more than a piece of world-building fan service in Titans, and the potential of such a twist occurring is most likely slim-to-none. That in itself, however, poses some even bigger questions and brings to light even more problematic issues within the show. It goes some way towards revealing that the showrunners were never sure of the kind of story they were telling. As such, it meant that the show would veer wildly from Nolan-esque grit of The Dark Knight and occasional bursts of violence akin to The Punisher to infinitely more self-referential fare as the works of Joss Whedon and recent DCEU movies.

The introduction of Bruce Wayne has only exacerbated that fact, causing season 2 to feel more like a reboot than a direct continuation. Titans, of course, wouldn't be the first show to reinvent itself - or even just find its true footing - in their sophomore outing. Given Titans' enduring popularity, that will no doubt become less of a problem as the show continues and grows more confident. Still, for the time being, it remains no less jarring for audiences. As such, whatever the case ends up being in relation to his true nature - and although hardcore comics fans may have clamored for it - a safer bet might have been to eschew from directly introducing Bruce Wayne and Batman from Titans until the tone was more consistent, if not altogether.

More: Titans Suggests Robin Used The Bat Computer For Adult Videos (Seriously)

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