Titans season 2 is already looking like a very different series. Debuting on the DC Universe streaming service, Titans kicked the metaphorical door down with its eye-catching, mature take on the Teen Titans superhero group. However, season 1 attracted a mixed response, with some elements faring better than others according to fans and critics. Nevertheless, Titans season 2 was announced, and judging from the list of new cast members alone, the sophomore year is going to be wildly different.
The official trailer for Titans season 2 has now arrived and, in many ways, feels like a completely fresh show. Fans would be forgiven for watching the season 2 trailer and thinking they'd missed a couple of episodes, given all the developments and shifts that are teased. This can partly be attributed to the decision to use Titans' original season 1 finale as the season 2 premiere, giving the debut run an unfinished feel.
Even without taking this into consideration, Titans has evidently been busy tinkering during the off season and the official trailer sends a clear message to fans that the series has learned from season 1's criticism. Here are all the major changes Titans season 2 has made, judging from the first trailer.
No More "F*ck Batman"
Mid-twenties angst was a big thing for Dick Grayson in Titans season 1, and he harbored some serious issues towards former mentor, Bruce Wayne. Dick had grown wary of Bruce's increasingly violent tendencies and saw him as a genuine threat, with the season 1 finale providing a visual representation of these fears, in which Bruce killed the Joker and brutally took down a unit of police officers. When Game of Thrones' Iain Glen was confirmed as Titans' version of the Caped Crusader, it looked like the unspoken tension between master and apprentice was set to reach boiling point.
Immediately, however, the trailer for Titans season 2 shows Bruce and Dick speaking in a reasonably civil manner. Certainly, there remains an iciness between the pair, but as they stroll through the halls of Wayne Manor, Dick's unbridled rage towards Batman seems to have eased considerably and it appears the former Robin has a favor to ask of his old guardian. This would imply that the Robin vs. Batman angle pitched in Titans season 1 is being curtailed in lieu of a more comic-traditional dynamic, where Dick harbors some animosity towards Bruce, but still ultimately respects and admires him.
Titans Isn't Afraid To Be A Titans Show Anymore
Perhaps the most lingering, overriding criticism of Titans' first season was that the central quartet never truly came together to form a superhero team. There were flashes of the Titans working as a unit, but each character was beholden to their respective personal arcs, and there was very little indication that Dick, Rachel, Gar and Kori would go on to form a cohesive team further down the line. The Titans season 2 trailer makes a complete 180-degree turn in this regard.
Firstly, Dick's old partnership with Hawk, Dove and Wonder Girl (with Aqualad now added for good measure) is being touted as the original Titans group - something that wasn't mentioned in season 1. In the present, Dick is now building a new Titans team (branded Titans 2.0 by Rachel) that brings together a mixture of old and new members. This shift from not mentioning the "Titans" name at all, to revealing two different eras of the crime-fighting outfit is dramatic, and demonstrates a willingness to address the season 1 criticism that Titans didn't necessarily deliver on the promise of its title.
A Lighter Tone
Titans season 1 went into some dark places, both in terms of its gritty visual style and hyper-violent action sequences. This approach undoubtedly drew eyes to the project, but the trailer for Titans season 2 introduces a noticeably lighter look and feel to proceedings. Visually, the blue filter that dominated much of Titans' initial run feels less prominent, allowing for more natural exterior shots and less harsh, cold urban lighting. While it may just be for the benefit of the trailer, Titans season 2 also seems to revel more freely in its comic book roots, featuring character designs and fight scenes that aren't aiming for relentless realism like before.
The overall tone of Titans season 2 appears to follow a similar pattern. Obviously, Titans remains at the more mature end of the superhero TV show spectrum, ably demonstrated by Jason Todd's "Titans are back, bitches!" line, but the trailer hints towards a more balanced cocktail of ingredients this time around. Comic book superhero action seems to be the order of the day, rather than pent up rage, internal squabbles and endless brooding, bringing Titans slightly closer in tone to other current DC television efforts.
Deathstroke Is A Proper Villain
Titans season 1 suffered greatly from its lack of a proper villain. For most of the first year, Dick Grayson and his pals were fighting an endless stream of suit-wearing goons, and although this eventually led to the reveal of Rachel's father, Trigon, as the show's big bad, the demon didn't show up until very late in the day. This lack of a traditional antagonist meant that the stakes never felt particularly high in Titans season 1 - a problem highlighted by the finale episode taking place mostly inside Dick's mind.
In contrast, Titans season 2 has set its stall out very clearly from the beginning, introducing Deathstroke at such an early stage. The infamous assassin (along with Jericho and Ravager, who also appear in the trailer) are villains in a far more traditional sense and should provide Titans with a tighter story focus, instead of relying on the mystery of Rachel's powers to drive the plot forward. Unlike Trigon, Esai Morales' Deathstroke is set for a major role in Titans' second season, which should open the way for more superhero team-up exploits.
More Titans Flashbacks
Titans has already delved into Dick Grayson's backstory, showing key moments like the death of the Flying Graysons, his childhood friendship with Donna Troy and those early battles on the street with Hawk and Dove. However, season 2 will look to divide its time more evenly between the original Titans of yore and the new incarnation of the group Dick is trying to build. Titans' season 2 trailer highlights the Robin, Aqualad, Wonder Girl, Hawk and Dove team as much as it does newer faces such as Raven and Starfire, suggesting a more 50/50 split between past and present.
This will be a new approach for Titans, and has the benefit of being able to revisit Dick's glory days as Robin, even though he appeared to move on from that role in season 1, burning the Robin suit in fiery symbolism. It's possible Titans is building towards Brenton Thwaites taking on the Nightwing mantle, and this would make sense given Jason Todd's increased role. However, simultaneously telling stories in the past and present allows the best of both worlds, and allows for another season of Grayson's Robin in action.
It's clear from the Titans season 2 trailer that the original version of the team operate out of some kind of headquarters. In the comics, of course, the Titans work (and sometimes live) within Titans Tower, a giant, not-at-all conspicuous T-shaped skyscraper. In season 2's past timeline, it's possible that viewers will see a live-action version of this famous building, although its design may not be quite as audacious on-screen. Once again, this signals a general move towards a more comics-faithful approach.
If the old Titans had a secret base, it's natural to assume that Dick's new Titans will be getting a similar deal. It's not currently clear whether the modern group will take over Titans Tower, or remain camped within one of Bruce's many safe houses, and one scene in the trailer even suggests that the Titans could make their home in a corner of the Bat cave. Perhaps that's why Dick is being so friendly with Bruce Wayne all of a sudden.
Rachel Roth, otherwise known as Raven, appears to have far more in common with the traditional version of the character in Titans season 2. Visually, Raven now sports her familiar red forehead gem - presumably a leftover gift from meeting her father for the first time. Following the general pattern of Titans season 2, this brings Raven more in line with her comic counterpart.
In terms of personality, Rachel also seems far more self-assured and in control of her powers. Dick obviously trusts Raven enough to make her part of his team, but also feels confident brandishing a sword inches from her face. The audience is yet to see the trigger for Ravens's transformation, but this is certainly a far cry from season 1, where the other heroes were walking on eggshells in fear of releasing Raven's inner power.
Titans season 2 premieres September 6th on DC Universe.