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Robin’s ‘Fuck Batman’ Titans trailer line, explained by DC’s Geoff Johns

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The writer and producer tells Polygon the show’s more complicated than it might seem

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Bundled in the nearly two-minute trailer for DC’s new live-action series, Titans, was a quote that caught everyone off guard: “Fuck Batman.”

Robin, one of Batman’s most trusted allies, drops the f-bomb as he takes on a group of criminals who are asking about his caped crusader pal. There’s not much context for it, other than Titans being a reimagined, gritty version of DC Comics’ Teen Titans, but speaking to Polygon at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Geoff Johns, former DC Entertainment president and chief creative officer, who is acting as a writer and executive producer on the show, told Polygon there’s a good reason for the line.

“The trailer shows a piece of the tone of the show — the show’s not all that,” Johns told Polygon. “But it does make you go, ‘Why is he saying [“Fuck Batman”]?’ If you look at when Robin first left Batman in the comics, there was a lot of uneasiness and him being lost. Titans is really a series about these different characters that are all lost in their lives; just like the greatest comic book Titans run ever, by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, it’s about all these lost characters find one another. And they’re all struggling with something, and Robin is clearly struggling with his past with Batman.

“And we’ll learn a lot more about it and what that is and why he is the way he is.”

Johns wouldn’t reveal the complete nature of Robin’s issues with Batman, but that’s an element of his character the show will explore. Johns did add, however, that Titans takes much of its cues from the original Titans series, which ran in the mid-1960’s.

“Really, the DNA of it is in the echo of the original series, cause it had so much drama in that and it was so revolutionary for its time,” Johns said. “We really wanted to lean into the idea that every Titan of these Titans is a doorway into another genre. With Rachel [a.k.a. Raven], it’s the supernatural and the horror, and the first season’s really focuses on who Raven is and how the Titans galvanize around her. You can see that tone in the trailer clearly.”

Just because it looks campy, doesn’t mean this is going to be DC’s answer to The CW’s Riverdale. Johns said Titans is “a little more adult” than Riverdale, and when Polygon pressed him to explain, Johns offered this tidbit.

“Well, in a different way. Because it’s not necessarily a teen drama, more of an adventure piece.”

Titans is expected to premiere on DC Universe, DC’s new streaming service, this fall.