When Curran Walters’ Jason Todd made his surprising debut on DC Universe’s Titans last week, it forced Dick Grayson to consider the idea that while he’s been off in Detroit trying to let go of his former life in Gotham as Robin, Batman (and apparently the rest of the city) were already well on their way to leaving him in the past.
Though Jason’s arrival is an understandable shock for Dick, it’s learning about what his life with Batman is like that really throws the former Boy Wonder for a loop. But when I recently spoke with Walters about his take on the character and how his presence ultimately impacts the other Titans, he explained that while Jason has an undeniable dark edge to him, he also introduces a particular kind of light into the mix.
io9: For you, personally, who is Jason Todd? What is it that drives him?
Curran Walters: I knew that Jason was always a big deal in the comics, especially as we saw him become the Red Hood, which was awesome. I think that in Titans, you’re going to see an exploration of different parts of Jason’s identity. There are fun, lighthearted comics moments, but you also see the chip he’s got on his shoulder, especially towards authority. The Jason we meet is still developing—becoming himself.
io9: Would you say that Jason’s embraced the Robin identity and made it his own when we first meet him?
Walters: In the comics, I think it was issue #409 when Batman first calls Jason “Robin” and from there, they really begin to develop a father/son relationship. Bruce takes Jason under his wing because he sees potential in the kid and I love that aspect of their dynamic. Dick tries to warn Jason about what becoming part of Batman’s family can do to a person’s life, but Jason isn’t open to hearing him because to Jason, being Robin is the best thing ever.
io9: There’s a moment in this week’s episode that really stuck with me—when Jason challenges Dick and tells him that there are things about Bruce that Dick was never able to understand. It’s bold given how much younger Jason is and how he’s still so new to working with Bruce.
Walters: They both have different outlooks on Bruce. Jason doesn’t really understand what Dick has been through with Bruce. After Dick leaves, Bruce immediately replaces him with Jason.
io9: And Dick’s trying to deal with that pain.
Walters: Right, exactly. Jason’s never experienced that kind of betrayal from Batman, because Bruce only recently took him in and they’ve just started working together. Jason’s lost both of his parents, but that’s not the same thing as having your father figure break your trust.
io9: Different as they are, it’s interesting that they’ve both got these streaks of violence and brutality in them. Is that the overall kind of energy your take on him brings to the team when he eventually meets the rest of the Titans?
Walters: Jason brings a sense of light to the team, but there’s also a darkness and brutality to him that fits with the overall tone of the show. Jason can be fun and caring, but he’s also this deadly fighter who kicks ass and [has] fun while he does it. Even if Titans never quite gets around to [Jason being killed by the Joker], the darkness that event brings out in him in the comics is something that Titans really beginning to explore.