The Controversy Surrounding Titans
Written by: CallMehAmino
San Diego Comic Con has taken over the world and social media once again for another year and we could not be any more stoked! If you’re a DC fan or just a Warner Brothers fan in general, this is probably the best Comic Con yet for you! One thing that was revealed this year’s Comic Con and that ignited arguments all throughout social media was the live action Titans trailer that DC’s own streaming service, DC Universe, has been campaigning and promoting before the streaming service even had a name! For people who are unfamiliar with the show and its concept, Titans is a show that, “follows young heroes from across the DC Universe as they come of age and find belonging in a gritty take on the classic Teen Titans franchise. Dick Grayson and Rachel Roth, a special young girl possessed by a strange darkness, get embroiled in a conspiracy that could bring Hell on Earth. Joining them along the way are the hot-headed Starfire and loveable Beast Boy. Together they become a surrogate family and team of heroes.” As you have may noticed, the long awaited live action show has dipped itself into controversy recently making it the third time the show has received the negative spotlight (The other two controversies involve leaked set photos of the main cast and the character of Starfire being African-American)! Since the trailer has been released many people have been bashing it with the main conflicts being: Titans being too dark and gritty, Dick Grayson supposedly shooting and killing a group of thugs, The costumes of some characters, and Starfire’s casting.
Many people were disappointed by the fact that the series is a dark and gritty take on the Teen Titans comics as opposed to the lighthearted animated shows, Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go! As it is understandable why many fans were shocked with the trailer they had received, it had been rumored then confirmed that the live action show was going to be more dark than the animated predecessors since its filming and production back in summer 2017. It also explains why the 13 episode series left out the “Teen” part in its title. However it hasn’t been until a couple of weeks ago that rumors spread about Titans going to receiving a TV-MA rating in the US, so it had definitely exceeded most people’s expectations when it came to how heavy-hearted the show was going to be. With that TV-MA take they were going with the show, there was one scene in the trailer in particular that caused an uproar and a meme on the internet.
In one of the scenes of the trailer, it portrayed Robin engaging in a brawl with a group of thugs and it seemed like to many people, that Robin grabbed one of the thug’s gun and started to shoot the rest of them, stabbing one of them in the neck, and stepping on another goon’s neck. The way the trailer was edited, the way the bodies dropped, and the way the fog engulfed most of that scene, it was unclear whether Robin really did kill all of those people. Later that day, there was a tweet that went viral justifying the actions portrayed in the trailer. One twitter user who goes by the name of @KwingReviews tweeted this, “Finally got my WB Rep to respond, about the #Titans trailer. Like the Arkham games, Robin is shooting above their heads, to scare them. The thug he stabbed was in the collarbone. Also he steps on someone’s jaw.” As it was previously mentioned, the editing and the fog in that scene, prevented the majority of the audience to see that not to forget, that the scene was happening so quick due to it being a trailer. As this proves that Robin didn’t kill anyone, people are also pointing out the fact that Robin would never stab and step on someone’s jaw, it’s too brutal for a character like Dick Grayson and is out of character. Later in that scene, Dick gives out a classic line from the trailer that has been turned into a meme ever since the release of the trailer, “F*** Batman.” As the show is TV-MA, it seemed like the trailer is trying to show off how edgy the show can be and wants to be though some could argue that line, along with the stab on the collarbone, and the step on the jaw, is a bit too brutal and out of reach for Dick Grayson as a character. The trailer also showed off Grayson’s amazing suit but to the majority of people’s eyes, not every suit was treated equally when it came to quality.
The trailer and San Diego Comic Con depicted the main cast’s costumes. While Robin’s was being praised and adored by many fans, others such as Raven’s, Beast Boy’s, and Starfire’s not so much. Compared to the comic book look, there is not much to do with Raven costume wise since what she has been known to wear is a long, hooded, purple cloak. She also was wearing teenager-esque clothes as she is supposed to be in her early teens. Beast Boy’s was one of the two being hated on the most simply because it looked like it was just a simple white tee with a jacket matching the design he wears in the comics. We don’t know if he’ll ever get an upgrade or if this will be permanent but so far, it is not looking well for his costume on the show. Now, the one costume being hated on the most is Starfire’s because it seems like she’s wearing a simple, silk dress and a curly red wig. Many people caused an uproar because the costume looks so simple, it seemed so cheap and so far out the comics besides the color. A PR statement before Comic-Con was released stating that Starfire was coming out of a disco party. But many seem to believe that it was lie and it was for damage control because at Comic Con, while they were showing off all the main Titans’ costumes, Starfire’s supposed “disco clothes” were being showcased. The audience does not know if that previous statement was true about her coming out of a disco party and those clothes are only temporary but it does not make up for the wig that many people pointed out of being too curly while Starfire is known for having wavy, long hair. When it comes to costumes, special effects, and the casting, it seems like to many audience members, Starfire seems to be getting the short end of the stick.
Since it was announced who was playing Starfire, the show had reached its first ever controversy, casting an African-American woman to play Starfire. Many crazed and angry fans did not want Starfire to be portrayed by Anna Diop as she is “not hot” or is “black.” The controversy seemed to have dialed down since then until it was brought back up again when the trailer was dropped. It has gotten so bad that Anna Diop, the woman playing Starfire, had to disable her Instagram comments because of racist attacks for “comic accuracy.” Eleven months ago, Starfire co-creator, Marv Wolfman had a few words to say about the casting of Starfire and the backlash on it, basically saying that he finds the backlash outrageous and they were never gonna cast a character accurate to Starfire anyway because you never see a tall, golden colored, woman with emerald green eyes to begin with so why would it matter if the character was black?
The main problem with this controversy is that these fans, or so they call themselves, seem to be very quick to judge. It has been said since the beginning that Titans was going to be dark, Robin didn’t kill anyone, some of the costumes are really not the greatest quality it can be but it could change in future episodes and/or seasons, and it shouldn’t be a big deal that Starfire is black. The show definitely has potential to shine but with all this controversy happening before the show has even premiered, it could definitely signal as a warning sign to be cautious about this series. The best option here is to watch all 13 episodes, process what you think about it, then judge if the show is right for you or not.