Warning: This interview contains spoilers from last week’s Titans episode, “Souls”
With the events of last week’s Titans, Jay Lycurgo had a lot to say about Tim Drake’s time in purgatory and return to the real world.
We last left Tim onboard a train heading towards his final destination toward death until he meets Donna Troy (Conor Leslie), who has been patiently waiting on the train for a long time while her body is at Themyscira.
“I think [this] is, personally, my favorite episode,” Lycurgo tells The Nerds of Color. “I just love everything [about it]. And, the whole idea of black and white. [It was] just awesome.”
Awesome, it is. Both Tim and Donna escape the train to only find Hank (Alan Ritchson) who is also on the run from Death’s minions. The three are determined to return to the world of the living, but only Tim and Donna succeed, leaving Hank to protect others in the afterlife. Now, with a second chance at life, Tim decides what he’s going to do next.
Lycurgo says Tim will continue wanting to become the hero he was destined to be. Death won’t deter the young future Robin.
“People that have gone through the exact same thing,” Lycurgo explains. “Even with Donna and Hank, [they said], ‘listen, it’s not that simple. You can die. Seriously, this is dangerous.’ Tim, [at] that moment, is stubborn and [says] I’ve got to give it a chance, because if I don’t leave this and pursue this burning desire I have, then what is the point?”
We got to chat a bit about Tim’s return from the dead, the potential rivalry between Tim and Jason, what it would be like for Tim working with “Old” Batman, and the importance of Tim’s biracial background for the storyline.
The Nerds of Color: Tim’s mentality — before he went, he didn’t want to die a coward, and he wants to go back to change his story. What does it mean to Tim to be a hero?
Jay Lycurgo: I think it’s someone that just keeps going when it gets rough. It is a person that is willing to do anything for someone’s livelihood and someone that needs help. It’s someone that just keeps going.
There seems to be a little rivalry between Jason and Tim when Tim tells Jason that he wants to be Robin. There’s something in Jason’s eyes of realization of being replaced. Can you tell us about that relationship, if there is any for the future?
There is a [bit of] competitiveness. Because we’re so similar in age, I think the hormonal, teenage boy comes in where it turns into that. I think it’s even sadder than because they’re going through some stuff. We’ll see [what happens with] Jason and Tim, but I think, at the end of day, at that moment, [Tim] worked so hard to get here and there’s no way that [he’s] about to die now. I knew that scene [would be] really great because you really just do see this kind of regret with Jason [and it is] so awesome.
In Titans, we’re dealing with an older Bruce Wayne — way older than the Bruce that we typically see Tim work with as Batman, how do you feel like this dynamic would play out between this young 16-year-old Tim Drake and Old Man Batman?
You know what… I love that. Old Man Batman, there should be a new theme song. But, I can imagine there’s a version between the old and the young. The older generation are used to their generation and the younger are used to their. I can imagine there would be this stubbornness that would come from Tim. Bruce [would tell Tim] listen, you need to learn.’ I think because of how old he is — Old Man Batman — there is a wiseness to him. I think Tim would learn a lot because he is curious. That’s how I would connect with Tim. I’m also curious, so I’m aware that Bruce Wayne has been through a whole life. I think rather than retracting or pushing away [from Bruce] — like [what] Jason Todd is doing — I think Tim would actually sit down and listen and be like, ‘I want to be the best, so what [do I do]?’”
Before you go, I just wanted to touch on some serious issues that Titans bring up like race and drugs. Tim was confronted in his first scene by police — because they see a Black man and that’s the first thing they really see. I’m glad the series is touching on that. How important was it for you when you got to see that scene play out?
I think it’s amazing. I think it’s going back to that point [of us] seeing [ourselves]. They don’t see it enough. For me to be put in a situation, it finally gives them a voice that finally gives them a perspective. I mean, there’s still a bit to go but but that’s why it’s amazing that we can see the bigger picture. It’s happening all the time, even with Starfire. We just need to keep pushing boundaries.
DC’s Titans airs on Thursdays on HBO Max.