Few DC comic book heroes or antiheroes have undergone as much trauma as Jason Todd, Batman's second Robin, who suffered a tragic fate at the Joker's hands only to return years later as the ruthless vigilante Red Hood. Now, Jason is making his live-action debut on DC Universe's Titans, in the show's fifth episode (titled, fittingly enough, "Jason Todd"). He's played by actor Curran Walters, who's appeared in such diverse fare as TV's Girl Meets World, the 2016 film 20th Century Women, and the upcoming horror thriller Do Not Reply. We caught up with Walters this week and asked him about playing the fan-favorite character...
There's been a great deal of anticipation for Jason Todd's arrival on Titans.
Oh, that's awesome. I'm glad. Fans have been waiting so long for this, and we are finally bringing him to life.
How did you prepare to play Jason?
I read tons of Jason Todd comics. I must have read a hundred comic books.
Were you a comic book fan growing up? Were Batman and Robin big characters for you?
Of course I knew who Batman and Robin were, but I wasn't a huge fan of either of them. Until of course I booked the role. But who doesn't know Batman and Robin, right? [laughs]
When was the first time you encountered them?
I have to say that the first time I really dove into Jason Todd was after I booked the role, when I got every comic that had Jason Todd—literally everything that I could possibly get. And I just sat down and studied. That was before I started filming. So I really feel like I got a good sense of Jason Todd, and really did him justice in bringing him to life.
Were there any particular stories with Jason that stood out and really helped inform your interpretation of the character?
I would have to say that my favorite story of Jason Todd is the first one [post-CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS], when he got caught stealing the tires off the Batmobile [June 1987's BATMAN #408]. I think that was so cool and very brave, and I think that's kind of the character we get to see. The cocky Jason Todd, who's also brutal, and we kind of just explore him. He's such a fun character to play.
Is it especially satisfying as an actor to play a character that we haven't seen in live action before? No one will be comparing you to another actor that's played the role.
Oh yeah. There's definitely a lot of freedom that comes with that too, you know? It's nice, because I get to bring my own version of Jason to life. There's always a sense of pressure, because of what the comics portray and what the fans are expecting. But I think the fans are gonna be really happy and pleased with this version of Jason.
It seems that there's no killing Jason, both literally and figuratively. Despite the fact that he died back in 1988, he's come back in one form or another time and again. Why do you think he's endured and remained so popular with fans?
Jason is easy for people to relate to. He's had a hard life. His mom died, and he's from the streets. Things haven't been easy for him. But he loves being Robin. He thinks it's awesome.
Jason and Dick are somewhat unique in that, unlike most of the Titans, they don't have any super powers. If you could have a power in real life, what would it be?
From among the Titans or in general? As far as the Titans go, I'd have to say Gar. Of course it would be great to be able to change into any animal. In general, it would be flight. Because who doesn't want to fly? [laughs]
Are there any differences between Dick's Robin costume and Jason's Robin costume that we should look for when we watch the episode?
Jason's costume is a little darker. Dick's costume is a little more weathered. It reflects what he's been through.
How would you describe Jason's relationship with Dick?
In some ways, they're kind of like brothers. But there's some tension there. Because Dick sees what Jason's become from working with Batman, which is the reason why he stopped working with Batman.
What's next for you?
Hopefully more Jason Todd!
If at some point in the undetermined future, Jason should return to Titans and become Red Hood, would you be up for playing the character?
I would love to play Red Hood some day. But I have no idea what the show's producers' plans are for Jason yet.
A version of this article originally ran on DC Universe. Be sure to subscribe to DC Universe for additional DC news and announcements, plus exclusive original TV shows like Titans, classic DC TV, movies, comics and more!