The doctor will see you now.

EW is unveiling an exclusive first look at Vincent Kartheiser as Dr. Jonathan Crane, a.k.a. Scarecrow in Titans season 3. When the HBO Max superteam drama returns on Aug. 12, the Mad Men alum checks in the fear-toxin-loving Batman rogue who now moonlights for the Gotham City Police Department while incarcerated in Arkham Asylum.

Vincent Kartheiser as Dr. Jonathan Crane, a.k.a. Scarecrow, in Titans season 3.
| Credit: Ben Mark Holzberg/HBO Max

"Think Hannibal Lecter," says showrunner Greg Walker. "He's been given the opportunity to opine on ways to stop villains, and a villain breaks out in Gotham and it draws [Dick Grayson] to work with him."

Given Crane's particular obsessions, he challenges the Titans in a very different way than season 2 big bad Deathstroke. "So much of our show is about becoming a family and the fears that people have as they grow older and get older. Crane seems to be, in many ways, a perfect villain in that he exploits fear. The human mind and heart becomes the battlefield. This is someone who's working off your feelings, and your emotions, and that's where we want to live."

Walker believes the audience will be very impressed with Kartheiser's turn as Crane. "This is a learned psychologist who understands the human mind but also has a deep, dark vendetta to destroy people in a way that you need to be able to manifest as an actor — to find the broken and the mania. And [Kartheiser] handles both very well," he says.

Crane's introduction into the world of Titans arrives as the titular squad of young capes, led by Dick, a.k.a. Nightwing (Brenton Thwaites), relocates from San Francisco to Gotham City. When Dick returns to his bedeviled hometown, he rekindles his romance — and strikes up a new partnership — with Barbara Gordon (Savannah Welch), Batgirl-turned-GCPD Commissioner. Teaming up forces the couple to reckon with Batman and Jim Gordon's messy crime-fighting legacy and hopefully find a better way of protecting the city. Check out a first look at Barbara below.

Brenton Thwaites as Dick Grayson and Savannah Welch as Barbara Gordon in Titans season 3.
| Credit: HBO Max

"In our story with Dick returning to Gotham — and Gotham is a huge character this season — it's about sons and daughters, [and] stepping into the shadow of your parents," says Walker. "Barbara is going to be conflicted by Dick's arrival. Barbara's feeling is that the legacy of Bruce and Jim has been this idea that she thinks is antiquated and inefficient: the God syndrome, meaning that superheroes create the situation where they're the heroes. They drop in on a situation, solve it, and then they leave. And she feels that basically disempowers people from solving their own problems and that the people of Gotham need to figure out how to solve their own problems and not be passive victims waiting for a superhero to save the day."

Reckoning with Batman's legacy also forces Dick to examine how he leads the Titans. "Gotham brings out leadership qualities that [Dick] has to assess to see whether they're his own — true Nightwing — or are they patterns [inherited from] a father who he needs to differentiate himself from?"

In the end, discovering a better way to save the day will be a team effort. Says Walker: "The diversity of our cast and the diversity of our characters really comes into play in the end, about how we're able to conquer what seems to be the unconquerable."

Titans season 3 kicks off with three episodes on Aug. 12, with subsequent episodes launching weekly every Thursday on HBO Max.

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