Jason Todd's Robin is the key to understanding where Titans fits in the DC timeline - and particularly in events involving Batman. The upcoming DC TV series, which will be released on the DC Universe streaming service and via Netflix for international audiences, promises to feature not one but two different iterations of the Boy Wonder.
Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) is a central character in Titans. He's the first Robin, and the one best known to audiences. But he'll be joined by the lesser-known Jason Todd (Curran Walters), who has taken Dick's place as the Dark Knight's sidekick. The dynamic promises to be a fascinating one, not least because Dick Grayson is clearly very angry indeed with his mentor. "F*** Batman," he snarled in an already (in)famous trailer.
Titans will inevitably be an adaptation of the comics, and we can safely assume the series will blaze its own trail in terms of continuity. At the same time, though, you don't introduce characters like the two Robins unless you're willing to deal with the baggage that comes with them. In the case of Jason Todd, that baggage includes one of the famous Batman arcs of all.
- This Page: The Origin of Jason Todd
- Page 2: How Jason Todd's Fate Impacts Titans
The Origin of Jason Todd
First of all, let's set the scenes. Although Dick Grayson traditionally fought by Batman's side as the Boy Wonder, in the early '80s DC Comics decided to take the character in a slightly different direction. Dick had something of a falling out with his mentor, and the two became a lot more distanced. In 1984, Dick even decided to ditch the Robin identity altogether, donning an entirely new costume and calling himself "Nightwing." This change in direction was tremendously effective, and New Teen Titans became a bestseller - with Dick as a central figure.
DC found that the loss of Robin changed the dynamic of the Batman comics for the worse. While Batman is traditionally seen as something of a solitary figure, readers had become used to seeing the Dark Knight interact with a sidekick, with Robin serving as something of a "sounding board" and helping pull Batman from the brink of his darker moods. It fell to Jim Starlin, the comic book writer who created Thanos, to design the new Robin. He carefully put together an origin story that was evocative of Grayson's, making it clear that Jason Todd was intended as a sort of substitute. Jason and Dick teamed up a number of times, and became brothers-in-arms.
Unfortunately, DC decided to revamp their entire continuity in the Crisis on Infinite Earths event. As part of that, the publisher decided to give Jason a very different background, envisioning him as an orphan who first crossed Batman's path when he stole the tires from the Batmobile. The reaction from comic book readers took DC by surprise; they were absolutely incensed.
Titans is obviously set in the brief window where there were two Robins, where both Dick Grayson and Jason Todd wore the same costume and operated under the same identity. It seems reasonable to assume that Dick will become Nightwing over the course of the series, and if so that could well be building up to a major arc involving Jason Todd.