Titans star on Dick's 'irrational' move against Deathstroke and future as Nightwing
Warning: This article contains spoilers from the latest episode of Titans, “Deathstroke.”
Dick Grayson may have just done something very stupid.
In the latest of episode of Titans, “Deathstroke,” Esai Morales’ titular assassin offered the Titans a trade: Jason Todd (Curran Walters) for his daughter, Rose (Chelsea Zhang). After much back-and-forth on whether or not they should trade Rose, Dick (Brenton Thwaites) called an audible, went to meet Slade alone, and offered himself up in exchange for Jason. Of course, Slade declined his offer — and sent Jason plummeting to his death after an intense fight with Dick and Starfire (Anna Diop). And that’s where the episode ended. (Read EW’s full recap here.)
Thwaites, who plays the former Boy Wonder, would be the first to tell you that Dick’s decision wasn’t the smartest thing he’s ever done. “It’s kind of an irrational decision for Dick to take on Deathstroke on his own, and he’s essentially saved by Kory,” the actor tells EW. “But, as per the cliffhanger at the end of the episode, they didn’t come out unscathed.” At the same time, Thwaites thought it was an interesting turn of events for the character. “I feel like it was a good moment in the season to see the character that’s going to beat Dick at his own game,” he says.
Below, EW chats with Thwaites about the fallout from the team’s confrontation with Slade, Superboy’s introduction, and Dick’s eventual evolution into Nightwing.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This was the first time the Titans have faced Deathstroke in the present day. What was it like filming that entire fight sequence?
BRENTON THWAITES: To shoot that was a huge challenge just because of the time. We had no time to shoot that fight scene. By “no time,” I mean we had a day or two in a warehouse in [Hamilton, Canada,] to shoot that. The challenges of shooting a fight scene with super-suits, weapons, and you know Kory’s got a big sci-fi element to the way she fights and it’s a huge visual effects element to that — it proves to be really challenging. But at the same time, a lot of fun. They’re the most fun things to do on Titans because they involve so much of the world we’ve created. There’s superheroes, there’s sci-fi, there’s comedy, there’s action, there’s character drama.
When we spoke last year about season 1, you said these group fight scenes were your favorite to do.
They feel really good. When the action is designed to where everyone feels like they’re needed, those scenes are my favorite because it kind of instills the idea that we need each other to win this fight, we need to collaborate and use each other’s skills to defeat all of the foes. Back to episode 5, I think it’s important to understand as an audience that this guy is going to demand the Titans to learn to collaborate together — all of them, young and old — to defeat him.
Is that the biggest challenge they’re facing this year, team unity?
That and learning how to trust each other. Honesty and truthfulness is a huge undertone of this season, and how do we deal with mistrust and how then do we recover and regenerate and basically form a family again.
How does the fallout from the cliffhanger affect the Titans going forward?
It’s a learning curve for the other Titans more so than for Dick. He knew Deathstroke. He knows his powers. So the question is posed: Why did you do this? Why did Dick go in there unarmed knowing that Deathstroke could easily overcome him? It becomes more of a moral education for the other Titans in how they deal with Dick. They realize that maybe he’s not the leader they thought he was, that this irrational, somewhat silly decision to take Deathstroke on his own leads into a potential catastrophe. Those undertones of selfishness and disrespect are not lost on the other Titans.
Do you think Dick has some kind of death wish?
There’s an argument [that maybe] Dick thought in some remote corner of his brain that Deathstroke would release Jason and exchange him for Dick, but he left to fight Deathstroke without consulting the other Titans, and that’s something that’s always frowned upon. There was no plan. There was no research. There was no methodical thinking that he usually does. He just went in willy-nilly, went against the Titans and lied to them, and as a result, a terrible thing can happen to them.
Superboy will be introduced this season. What is Dick’s dynamic with him?
There’s a part of Superboy that Dick sees in himself. Superboy is someone who is also struggling with identity and a search for friends and family. He seems lost, he seems confused, and I think Dick [recognizes] he was just like that when he was a boy. Naturally, he wants to help him and do things for him that weren’t done for himself.
Finally, can we expect Dick to suit up as Nightwing this season?
Yes, you can expect him to suit up as Nightwing. Dick reaches a point of rock bottom toward the end of the season. Without spoiling it for you, it becomes the kick of engine fuel he needs to jump into his new skin, not only as Nightwing — or an external suit and change of colors — but also a frame of mind.
New Titans episodes are available every Friday on DC Universe.