Akiva Goldsman’s been trying to make a “Titans,” or “Teen Titans,” as they were originally called, movie for forever. In 2007, it was even announced that Goldsman, Academy-Award winning writer of “A Beautiful Mind” and director of 2014’s “Winter’s Tale,” would be producing a live-action “Titans” movie. That obviously never happened, but Goldsman hasn’t given up on the project, and now TNT is about to greenlight a pilot that could turn into a show.
“The Teen Titans” began in 1964. They were essentially a super-team of sidekicks in a group that was like the Justice League Junior. The group were comprised of Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Wonder Girl and Speedy, respective sidekicks to heroes Batman, Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Green Arrow. That novelty changed and gained respectability in the 1980s with the Marv Wolfman/George Perez comics team that cast them as misfit teens/20-somethings living bitterly in the shadows of their wards. The team would eventually grow up to become simply “Titans,” and Robin — in a move to win back his own personal independence from Batman, a father figure he had grown to hate — would become Nightwing. All and all, some of the issues the heroes were dealing with were relatively mature for their time.
One would think with Warner Bros. developing a “Justice League” movie, with a rumored Nightwing to appear in “Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” the company would not want to dilute these brands with TV characters. But WB’s plan has been the opposite. Expand the brand and sow the seeds of awareness with TV shows like “Arrow” and freshmen shows coming up like “The Flash,” “Gotham,” “Constantine” and even a “Supergirl” show. Even though these shows are pretty chintzy, WB clearly believes they’re only going to help and not hurt the movies’ success (plus it’s an extra chunk of change).
So Goldsman of all people — who wrote the reviled superhero movies “Batman & Robin” and “Batman Forever” — is penning the pilot for TNT along with executive-turned-scribe Marc Haimes, according to Deadline. Will the show make it past pilot and get picked up? I’d be fascinated to see, if only because I read Titans as a kid and was always intrigued by the idea of these moody adolescent heroes trying to forge their own identities (in a sense, the 1980s revamp of the comic was DC’s way of competing with the adolescent Marvel mutants of “X-Men” grappling with the onset of their powers). “Teen Titans” has also enjoyed a successful animated run on Cartoon Network, so if you didn’t read the comics, you at least may know the more modern version of the characters from that show.
And there is the “Justice League” crossover, there’s Nightwing, the aforementioned ex-protégé of Batman, with tons of ill-will between the two of them and Cyborg, an African-American character whose body was replaced with advanced prosthetics after a tragic accident almost cost him his life. Cyborg was created for the Titans of the ‘80s, but in the rebooted DC Universe he’s been recast as a founding member of the “Justice League,” hence an appearance in Zack Snyder’s ‘Dawn of Justice’ in 2016. Other characters in the comics who will presumably be on the show if it gets picked up include Starfire, Raven, and possibly Changeling. Note, Deadline calls it a Titans show, but EW describes it as a bit more of a Nightwing show.