One of Titans’ greatest strengths is the HBO Max cast’s capacity to move effortlessly between the highest of drama to more comic or thoughtful moments. As good as these actors are at conveying pain, trauma and tragedy in an authentic way, they each have a tremendous capacity to shine in the smaller and more offbeats moments that the writers give them.
But those moments can be hard to come by once a Titans season really gets cranking, particularly for leading man Brenton Thwaites (Nightwing). While Nightwing has more than his fair share of hard moments in the comics, there’s an essential easiness to him that the TV series has had a hard time recapturing. Thwaites agrees.
“It’s something we definitely need more of,” he said to Popverse at a New York Comic Con press session. “We talk about it a lot. The light-hearted comedic nature of Nightwing is so ever-present in the comics, and it’s something that fans are really craving.”
“It’s something that we don’t deliver as much as we should...I love doing it when the circumstances are there for me to do it.”
But as Thwaites also points out, Nightwing’s role as team leader often keeps him from those kind of moments. “A lot of the time, it’s up to me to deliver the information that creates conflict and drama and sets us an obstacle... In order to make these moments believable, I have to add weight to them. When someone’s died, they’ve died.”
One place that Thwaites and the creative team have found more space for lightness, unexpectedly, is in the fight sequences which have become such a signature of his character. The rhythm of a fight sequence “works really well” to create comedic opportunities that feel earned, Thwaites finds. “Because you’ve spent a lot of energy fighting people at the beginning, at the end you’re permitted to be kind of funny,” he says. He points to the new sneak peek of him and Tim Drake fighting ninjas as a case in point. “We were shooting this scene and I wanted to try this idea that Nightwing hates ninjas, he’s done this before, and it’s like doing his taxes. And it worked really well, it’s really funny and kind of the character we all love.”
Thwaites promises a few more moments like that in the season. Some of the other storylines of the season also seem like they have the potential to switch some of the series’ standard dynamics. “This season delves into elements of horror and the occult, dark magic, Elves and all kinds of weird shit which Dick Grayson hasn’t ever encountered before,” reveals Thwaites. Likewise, season four sees him as a mentor to some of the other characters on a very intimate level. “We’re dealing with Conner’s fathers and how he interacts with them,” actor Joshua Orpin revealed about his arc in season four. And until now, he points out, Dick Grayson has really been his dad. “I think it’s really poignant that Dick Grayson is the father figure in his life. When he’s faced with dilemmas and difficult decisions, that’s who he turns to for advice.”
TV is a very different storytelling medium than comics, and it’s unreasonable to expect the one to perfectly mirror the other (although the recent Sandman does a pretty great job). And no one is clamoring for a Titans musical episode (although…). But almost any time two of the Titans are alone in a scene together, the series gets a whole new set of colors and emotions to play with. Hopefully Brother Blood and Lex Luthor won’t keep us from a little more of this.
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