While the world is slowly getting closer back to normal, we still have a long way to go, including TV shows and events. This years ATX Television Festival, as most events in 2021, is being hosted virtually and DC TV was present with Titans, which will be back for a third season in August, but this time on HBO Max. Titans season 3 has recently wrapped production so while we wait for the first glimpses of the new season, the creative and production team joined this year’s ATX for a special panel, as it explored what goes into making a superhero drama.
The panel consisted of showrunner/executive producer Greg Walker, cinematographer/director Boris Mojsovski, production designer Ian Brock, and superhero costume designer Laura Jean Shannon, who all play crucial roles in writing, styling, directing, and designing the DC drama. As the panel focused on their respective roles on Titans, we’re breaking down each of the panelist’s highlights:
Greg Walker – Showrunner
One of the big changes coming to Titans season 3 is the relocation from San Francisco to Gotham City, which is something a lot of fans have been curious about. Walker opened up about how he felt the team had accomplished everything there was to do with San Francisco in terms of challenging the young heroes. For Walker, Gotham City felt like the organic next destination for the crew, with it being DC Comics’ darkest city in existence. The EP stressed that due to how psychologically grounded the show is, going to Gotham will be a new setting for them. For someone like Dick Grayson, “a lot of his trouble started in Gotham, so to go back to where your trouble started, we’re kind of playing with the ‘You can’t go home again’ idea,” which felt like the proper direction for the next season.
This season will see Jason Todd evolve from the second Robin into Red Hood, shifting from being a Titan into an anti-hero. Red Hood will serve as an antagonist to the group, and apparently, he will be teaming up with an unexpected ally. Walker teased that Jason is still struggling to overcome his fear after what he went through in Titans season 2. To overcome it, Walker revealed that Red Hood will be turning to none other than Jonathan Crane, a.k.a. the Scarecrow, who he describes as “the world’s most renowned expert on fear.” But whether or not Vincent Kartheiser’s take on Crane will actually don the Scarecrow costume, he wouldn’t say.
Boris Mojsovski – Cinematographer/Director
Starting as a cinematographer on the show, Mojsovski directed his first episode in Titans season 2 and will be directing a few installments in the upcoming season. Helping create the look of the show, Mojsovski shared how he felt it was easy in the beginning, especially after talking to executive producer Greg Berlanti, who wanted a very realistic presentation. Despite playing around with enhanced characters, Mojsovski wanted to make sure the cinematography was right to make these comic book characters look like they could exist in our world.
Titans is known for their big action pieces, whether it is taking on Deathstroke, or the big showdown at the carnival last season. Mojsovski was adamant about wanting to honor each character in terms of looking and being heroic. But given the big work that goes into making those major ensemble moments, he clarified that they are very specific as a show when to moments like that. A sentiment that he shared with the entire panel is the satisfaction of seeing the finished episodes after completing all the hard work on each episode, as it is a separate experience in itself.
Laura Jean Shannon – Costume Designer
Not being a stranger to the superhero world, Shannon has helped adapt some of the Teen Titans’ iconic costumes from panel to screen, including Nightwing, Starfire, Wonder Girl, villains like Deathstroke and the Red Hood suit. That is not even half of the designs she has made. Shannon discussed how she loved being challenged, bringing up the Hawk and Dove costumes. Initially, they were planning on doing VFX work for them, but Shannon took the challenge head-on and made the wings work physically.
Two of the new super-suits debuting this season will be the Tamaran uniforms for Starfire and Blackfire. Shannon stressed that they really went to great lengths in making them have an out-of-this-world feel to them since the sisters are aliens after all. The gems that are big highlights of their costumes were something they designed themselves and apparently did multiple iterations until they felt they had found the right visual look. Shannon was also very positive about working with Curran Walters on his Red Hood costume, as he was excited and game for anything.
The Nightwing suit was also something that came up, which had one of the biggest reveals in media, as they had an actual event to unveil it for the first time. Shannon stressed that she wanted to honor the costume’s DNA from the comics and allow for some modifications to be done to translate it from panel to screen. It was made incredibly clear how passionate, and nerdy Shannon is to have this job as she gets to adapt some of comics’ greatest looks.
Ian Brock – Production Designer
Brock has joined Titans for its third season as the production designer, with his biggest task to design a Gotham City that hasn’t been seen before. Throughout the panel, Brock spoke about the fact that they applied some of the things going on in real life into his Gotham City. While Brock couldn’t reveal specific plot details, he alluded to curfews, masks, and vaccinations being part of the story, which sounds like this will be a very intense and fragile Gotham City.
A key description was that it parallels with the pandemic, adding another mystery to the third season. With the move to Gotham, other famous locations like Arkham Asylum will be popping up, which Brock confirmed will have its traditional Victorian architecture. As someone who grew up a big batman fan, Brock admitted it was a dream come true as a production designer to get to play with Gotham City. Brock also teased that they went in a brutalist direction when it came to creating their Gotham City Police Department and moving a bit away from the gothic look it has in some other incarnations.
With Blackfire vs. Starfire being one of the red threads of Titans season 3, Brock teased a bit about visiting their homeworld, crediting Shannon’s costume concept art as a way to get a better inspiration in how to give Tamaran its visual look. So there will be a lot to look forward to when Titans season 3 debuts exclusively on HBO Max this August.
Re-binge the first two seasons on HBO Max before Titans season 3 arrives!