The problem with big-time superheroes is that they usually eclipse other promising characters. Such was the dilemma with DC Universe's upcoming live-action series, 'Titans', which, in more than one ways, is drafted in the shadows of one of the world's greatest crime fighters, Batman.
From the first teaser to the latest trailer, in fact, references to the caped crusader abound. Whether it is Brenton Thwaites-played Dick Grayson aka Robin explaining his reasons for parting ways with the DC superhero or the ultimate showdown where the boy wonder goes to the extent of exclaiming "F**k Batman", it is pretty evident that DCU's 'Titans' is also going to suffer from the same syndrome that plagued CW series 'Supergirl' - the question in that case being "Where's Superman?" and not "where's Batman?"
But thanks to the 'Titans' creators - Akiva Goldsman, Geoff Johns, and Greg Berlanti - the DCU inaugural series seems to have found a clever way to skirt around the Dark Knight without actually having to introduce him as part of the active narrative.
1. Robin's dilemma - One good thing about the 'Titans' plot is that, since the very beginning, they have established that Grayson is not on speaking terms with a certain Bruce Wayne.
The exact reason behind the split is yet to be clarified but it looks like it has something to do with Batman's dark ways. Regardless of the reason, it seems pretty certain that Robin is no longer associated with his former ally. "He was a hero to me, I admired him at first but I had to walk away. I was becoming too much like him," Thwaites' character explains in the Robin teaser.
2. The circle of Raven - Instead of making it all about Robin coming out of the shadows to lead Team Titans (which he would also be doing), the DC Universe series is focussing the narrative on Raven's struggles. Her inner demons and the resulting difficulties are what brings her to Detective Grayson, who in turn acts as a protector to Raven, thus keeping the topic of the Dark Knight at bay.
3. It's not Gotham - This is perhaps the best part of DC's 'Titans'. We have had enough shows centered in and around Gotham, dealing with the same old host of villains. With Robin and Batman's differences causing a shift in the scene - Grayson has moved from Gotham and taken up sleuthing in Detroit - the premise not only opens up newer directions for the narrative but also gives a fresh start to the 'Titans', as they begin their heroic chapter anew.
4. Light-hearted plot and occasional romance - Romance and relationships in the world of Batman is nearly impossible. Mostly because the Dark Knight leads a pretty isolated and reserved life. Now, with Robin having severed his ties with the bat-cave, it's more likely that these young heroes would enjoy a moment of jest and casual fun as well - as apparent from the latest trailer where Robin locks lips with Starfire and Beast Boy gets all flirty with Raven.
5. Jason Todd - The only direct connection that Grayson seems to have with his old Batsy life is his encounter with Jason Todd aka the new Robin aka his replacement at the Wayne Manor. From the looks of the trailer, it is pretty clear that Grayson is not fond of this Todd guy but at the same time, this new Robin could be an effective tool for dialogue between old Robin and Batman without actually having to introduce the Dark Knight in the 'Titans'.
"Warner Bros. Television’s highly anticipated, live-action dramatic adventure series, Titans will be the first original series to launch on the upcoming DC Universe," according to an official press release.
'Titans' premieres on the digital subscription service on October 12.