Brenton Thwaites Breaks Down the ‘Titans’ Finale & Offers His Idea for Season 4’s Villain
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 3 finale of Titans, “Purple Rain.” So if you haven’t caught up, first, maybe examine your priorities. And then come back and check it out.]
After a wickedly inventive and emotionally packed season that saw the Titans heading to Gotham City to battle both DC Comics villains Jonathan Crane (Vincent Kartheiser) and the Red Hood—fallen Titan Jason Todd (Curran Walters), who was drugged into killing Hank Hall (Alan Ritchson) with an explosive device—the often-fractious superteam got it together and brought these two monsters to justice. Or at least the Gotham version of justice, with a repentant Todd run out of town and Crane locked back up at Arkham Asylum with just a headful of horrifying memories to drive him mad.
Along the way, Dick reunited with former Batgirl-turned-Gotham PD Commissioner Barbara Gordon (Savannah Welch), the late Donna Troy (Conor Leslie) returned from the great beyond and we learned about the Lazarus Pit, which factored into not just resurrecting Jason following the Joker’s fatal attack, but also saving a mortally wounded Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) and the entire population of Gotham after Crane tried to fear-toxin them all to death.
And let’s not forget the rescue of Blackfire (Damaris Lewis), who finally sorted her stuff out with sister Starfire (Anna Diop), regained her royal seat on Tamaran and had bed-breaking sex with Connor (Joshua Orpin). Fingers crossed she changes her mind about going home, because Blackfire made an awesome addition to the team, as did young Tim Drake (Jay Lycurgo), the young Gothamite who practically died while trying to become the next Robin.
Here, we chat with Thwaites (whose Nightwing was the original Robin) about this season of risks, what Dick’s near-death experience means for his role as a leader going forward and which DC Comics character he’d love to see cause trouble for the team next now that the show has been picked up for a fourth season.
Hello and congratulations. Great season. Great renewal news!
Brenton Thwaites: Thanks man! Yeah, we’re super excited. It was a tough season to make. We really pushed the boundaries this year. And I think that it paid off. People seem to love the show and really want more, and we really want to give more. So it’s kind of a perfect storm.
So many people found it this year, which was real cool. I feel like this was clearly the strongest season, because you took a ton of risks. I love that Dick didn’t just take Jason back at the end of the season.
Yeah. I mean, I think that in Season 2, less risks were taken, in terms of boldly killing a character off or having a certain character do an atrocious thing like we did this year. But what we learned from that and what we wanted to do this season was, as [showrunner] Greg Walker says, take risks and be bold, make the storytelling decisions that will really impact the Titans forever. And a few of those things were Hank Hall getting killed off. That was a big thing for us. And Jason Todd switching into that villainous role was just an interesting thing for our characters to process and deal with.
Now, the finale was almost like a happy ending. I’m assuming this was all filmed well before you guys knew if you were coming back?
It was, yeah. We only found out a couple weeks ago.
So it tied-up the story, they finish their mission in Gotham, they get in an RV, and it’s kind of like the band is back together. But there was some bittersweet stuff. The Dick-Barbara stuff, they didn’t get a happy ending.
Yeah. I think the point in that is to represent how we were both together because we needed to achieve a common goal. We needed to work together to defeat Crane. And that’s kind of how we got together in the first place…we developed our personal relationship because of the roles we were in. She was young and working with her dad, or kind of working against the Gotham police, but essentially under her dad. And I was working with Bruce Wayne. We kind of developed this relationship that was based on the world that we were in. And it happened again. So it was kind of nice to see at the end of it, just a mutual respect between them without having that cliched Hollywood ending or without having a bitter break-up. It was just a nice, respectful, like, “It was nice to see you again. All the best,” kind of thing. [Laughs]
Has there been any talk about next season from Greg or the writers? Because I’m assuming his resurrection in the Lazarus Pit is going to have some kind of impact on Dick.
I’m sure they know exactly what they’re telling for season four, and they’re cooking it up right now. But what I got from it was the Lazarus Pit was designed to kind of break away all of the insecurity and the fears and the PTSD that had been plaguing Dick for three seasons and have him emerge as this confident leader. Someone who’s found himself as a superhero and is brave enough to tackle—both mentally and physically—the problems that these supervillains are going to be causing.
You know, Jonathan Crane is a Batman-worthy super villain. So for us to defeat him, it wasn’t just about the physicality that we had to defeat Deathstroke. We needed to incorporate a bunch of different mental techniques and be a little bit smarter and work as a team. So that was a nice ending to come to at the end of Season 3.
What Dick and Raven (Teagan Croft) do to Crane at Arkham at the end, the Dick of Season 1 would never have done.
Yeah, that’s true. He would’ve just beaten the shit out of him. [Laughs] Totally, man. And a part of that also is his relationship with Rachel has developed, as well. So back in Season 1, she wasn’t at the point where she could do that and control her powers. That other side of her character was something that we were learning to deal with and learning to trust. So that’s also a nice development in the last three seasons, how Rachel’s now at a point where she’s grown, can control this very powerful side of herself and can be a pretty strong team member in the Titans.
There is a name drop in the finale that I was stunned to see, when Gar (Ryan Potter) is entering the security codes. Is that just an Easter egg, or are they hinting at something?
You know what? I wish I knew, man. I wish I knew. There’s a bunch of name drops. They bring up Roy Harper, which I love the potential of that storyline. Jumping into that clandestine secret-agent world would be amazing in the setting of Titans. But the Selina Kyle mention, I mean, that’s a legit storyline. I’d love to see that. So whether they just dropped in a bunch of Easter eggs or maybe some of them play, we’ll see. Maybe it’s designed to kind of see who responds to what.
So Dick has learned how to live by dying. He is this assured hero now. But how do you feel about playing the character? Are you in that head space now, too?
Yeah. I feel like as we work together, the whole cast, we develop a stronger relationship. you know? And so we’re only getting better at working with each other and collaborating. And I feel like that parallels in the show. The team is only getting stronger.
We’re an ensemble show. It’s not really about any single characters. It’s about us as a team, defeating a super villain or whoever the villain is in the season. And the different ways we do that is interesting to me. I definitely think that Dick’s on a path where he’s the best leader he has been so far. He’s on a path of being confident as Nightwing. And the rest of the Titans are on a path of being confident of having him as their leader.
I was so glad he apologized to Connor for dosing him with Kryptonite to keep him from getting in his way.
Yeah. And I think that’s why he gets the respect of the team. He does he doesn’t leave anyone out. He lives by his morals and he has strong values. That differentiates him from Bruce Wayne and they can see that. They can see how treating Jason Todd, the way he did in the finale was kind of fighting against that instinct that he’s been taught since childhood. But it was for the better. That collaboration helped us at the end of the day save Gotham. So they’re learning by watching this character grow into this person that they can essentially trust and follow.
Any character or villain that you would love to see come in for Season 4?
One of the best villains so far in our show have been The Nuclear Family. You would never think that. It was a bold choice from Geoff Johns and Akiva Goldsman and Greg Walker. But the way they told that story and the kind of tone that they created, the danger that was instilled around that family just really worked for us. Because they couldn’t be killed, they were injecting themselves with serum. And Deathstroke is a wonderful villain. He had all the aspects of all the right things, but I tend to gravitate towards villains like The Nuclear Family that have this kind of weird psychological twist on why they’re destined to fight us or beat the Titans. So we’ll see.
And that’s the beauty of Titans. It could be like an intergalactic Tamaran villain like Starfire and Blackfire, or it could be people that are related to ARGUS and Roy Harper. It’s just endless amount of options. You know? It could be Conner going bad.
That would be epic.
I’d like to see Superboy switch. I think that would be amazing. But he’s my boy. So he can’t be a villain. [Laughs]
Titans, Season 4, TBA, HBO Max