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SDCC 2005: Teen Titans Live!

San Diego ComiCon 2005
WB Animation: Teen Titans Live!

Comic-Con International once again offered the very best programming in everything comics related. No other convention in the United States boasts the amount of hours dedicated to the worlds of comic books (mainstream, alternative and web), comic strips, comic art, international comics and more! The Convention took place from July 13-18th. This year, Cartoon Network held a special panel on Teen Titans!

“WB Animation: Teen Titans Live!–Teen Titans talent take the stage and bring to life an action-packed script in an exclusive performance, featuring Greg Cipes (Beast Boy), Khary Payton (Cyborg), Tara Strong (Raven), Hynden Walch (Starfire), Ron Perlman (Slade), and Kevin Michael Richardson (Trigon), led by multiple Emmy Award-winning voice director Andrea Romano. Discover what it’s like to be a Titan on the hit series and get an inside look into an actual recording session. Teen Titans innovative producers Glen Murakami, David Slack, and Linda M. Steiner come front and center to answer questions you’ve always wanted to ask and unveil never-before-seen clips from next season. This exciting stage presentation and exclusive sneak peek is a must-see session for Titans fans!”

A Promo Card given out at the Cartoon Network San Diego Event.
[click here to enlarge] 

The Teen Titans panel had a packed audience in a very large auditorium. First up, Cartoon Network Producer Sam Register introduced the producers and writers of the show: Producer Glen Murakami, Producer/Story Editor David Slack, Story Editor/Writer Rob Hoegee and Story Editor/Writer Amy Wolfram.

Sam posed some questions to the crew and spoke about how the show was developed. Sam had pushed for the team to “make the show weirder” than even Glen had intended at first! DC Comics was even initially a little skeptical when they saw the super-deformed poses of the characters. David Slack mentioned that even before the show aired, he sensed there was something special about it. Sam mentioned that David is now writing for LAW & ORDER, the television series. And one of the executives of LAW & ORDER was a TEEN TITANS viewer and knew David from his TITANS work!

But even with the sometimes-silly approach, David Slack talked about the pivotal second episode, SISTERS. He mentioned the scene where we see Starfire’s angry face charging toward Blackfire. At that moment, they realized they could do comedy – but also character and drama. And that really opened the series up to new possibilities.

Sam Register asked Story Editor Amy Wolfram about the possible return of Terra. Amy hinted, “She may be coming back in an interesting way.”

Another question Sam asked: Will Starfire and Robin ever kiss? I believe it was Story Editor Rob Hoegee who provided the answer: “Pretty safe bet. But we’re not saying for sure.”

Glen Murakami, David Slack and Rob Hoegee

Some more tibdits about season five: Expect Gordanians, Titans East, a Caveman Titan [Gnarrk] and his friend Kole. And Rob Hoegee added, “There’s also someone who goes really fast and is a kid…” But Amy Wolfram had a unique way to describe season five: “Anything happening everywhere.”

Sam asked each of the crew what their favorite relationships were on the show between two characters.

Glen answered, “Robin and Starfire.”

David said, “Robin and Slade.” and cited some of the great moments between those characters. He liked the fact there was a sort of demented mentor type of thing going on. And he also mentioned Rob Hoegee’s scenes with Robin/Slade in THE END [part 2] as being particularly interesting.

Rob gave a fan-favorite answer: “Beast Boy and Raven.” And he added, “Not that there’s anything going on there. [pause]. Seriously. There’s not. They’re like an old married couple. They get on each other’s nerves. Well… Beast Boy gets on Raven’s nerves. A lot. “[laughter]

Amy said she liked the interplay between Starfire and Blackfire “because everyone knows what that feels like.”

Then it was Q&A time from the audience. One kid asked “How old is Robin?” and David Slack answered, “Older than Beast Boy but younger than Cyborg.” Another fan asked “What’s Robin’s real name?” and David answered, “Watch FRACTURED.”

Rob Hoegee [with The Source!] and Amy Wolfram

The panel then showed a teaser reel for season five. The Doom Patrol were shown during the teaser reel. They are based on the classic, Silver Age team. Each member – Mento, Elasti-Girl, and Negative Man – have costumes that look similar to Beast Boy’s costume… sort of like the Fantastic Four. Mento has his original funky helmet and lightning bolt symbol. Elasti-Girl has a very Marlo Thomas type look with a headband and skirt. Negative Man had the Doom Patrol costume but was bandaged from head to toe. And Robotman looked just like his comic book conterpart except his was a bulkier version.

Also shown on the teaser reel were the Brotherhood of Evil – a who’s who of Titans rogues with some new faces as well. Look for some new faces: Phobia, Ding Dong Daddy, LeBlanc and Cheshire. But be warned, not all new characters will get major screen time. As all the rogues are gathered, The Brain provides a clue to this season’s story arc when he announces his plans for all teen heroes: “One by one, we will destroy them all.” The Brotherhood of Evil’s core will be the classic line-up: The Brain, Monsieur Mallah, Madame Rouge and General Immortus.

Following the teaser reel, fans were treated to a table read of the first act of THE END [part 3]. In attendance were Greg Cipes (Beast Boy), Khary Payton (Cyborg), Tara Strong (Raven), Hynden Walch (Starfire), and Kevin Michael Richardson (Trigon), led by multiple Emmy Award-winning voice director Andrea Romano. Ron Perlman (Slade) was unable to attend and was voiced by Rob Paulsen. Rob has done a tremendous amount of voice-over work in animation. He is perhaps best known for his work on “Animaniacs” as the voices of Yakko, Pinky, and others. He also played Arthur on “The Tick” animated series. Also unavailable was Scott Menville [Robin] who was voiced by David Slack.

THE TABLE READ [from left to right]:
Rob Paulsen, Kevin Michael Richardson, Greg Cipes, Tara Strong, 
Hynden Walch, Khary Payton and David Slack. [click to enlarge]

Following the table read, the cast had tremendous things to say about multiple-Emmy winner Andrea Romano. Rob Paulsen joked that she has so many Emmys they are dressed as Barbies. And Khary Payton said that when he came on board, everyone said she was the best. And he REALLY realized how good she was when he worked on some other jobs and then came back into the studio with Andrea. Greg Cipes echoed that, saying Andrea keeps everyone on point and really sets up exactly what you need to be doing. The whole cast was very complimentary and the audience gave Andrea a big hand. She seemed very touched.

Fand were then able to see the first act of THE END [part 3] in animated form, to compare with the table read. The panel then concluded and was followed by a signing at the Bandai Booth.

At the Bandai Booth:

Producer Glen Murakami and Hynden Walch (the voice of  Starfire)

Hynden Walch (the voice of  Starfire)

Khary Payton (the voice of Cyborg) 

Tara Strong (the voice of Raven) 

David Slack (Story Editor)

Visit the Teen Titans Animated Series Guide for more information. Titans Go!

End of transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author