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Teen Titans: Season One Episode Guide

 Episode 1 : Divide And Conquer

Robin: “Do you have a problem, Tin Man?”
Cyborg: “Yeah, it’s about four feet tall and smells like cheap hair gel.”

Originally aired: August 2, 2003
Written by David Slack
Directed by Ciro Nieli

Cinderblock busts into prison — and the Teen Titans show up to stop a jailbreak. But when Robin and Cyborg’s big “Sonic Boom” maneuver goes awry, the bad guy gets away — and the boys blame each other. An argument erupts; and when the shouting stops, Cyborg quits! Meanwhile, Cinderblock returns to his mysterious boss Slade with his prize: a sleeping inmate who becomes the monstrous Plasmus whenever he is awakened. With oozing Plasmus running amok at a Chemical Factory and Cinderblock toting a laser cannon downtown, can the four remaining Titans handle it all without Cyborg at their side?

Ron Perlman as Slade
Dee Bradley Baker as Plasmus

  • This was actually the first episode produced, although it was the third aired.
  • First appearance of Slade’s right hand man, Wintergreen
  • First appearance of Cinderblock
  • First appearance of Plasmus
  • “The Hungry Murakamis” are a reference to series producer, Glen Murakami
  • Plasmus’ human form is based on series Story Editor, David Slack

Producer Glen Murakami on Developing TEEN TITANS: “We picked the characters that we thought were the most iconic and the most symbolic,” explains Murakami. “I wanted it to be very, very clear to understand them. Robin’s the leader. Starfire’s the alien, but she’s also the metaphor for the foreign exchange student or outsider. Cyborg’s the strong man. Beast Boy’s the funny one, but he’s insecure. He can be all of these animals, but at the same time he’s still really insecure. Early on, my whole thing was I wanted to understand their flaws because I thought that’s what will make them human. I think sometimes with the Justice League, all the characters are in some ways so perfect it makes it hard to relate to them!’

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on Developing TEEN TITANS:“I think that’s something that Marv Wolfman wrote it the comic book series that definitely carried over for us. Marv writes from character more than any writer I’ve worked with. It’s really incredible. And I remember talking with him when I first started working on the show. I remember I was a little nervous because of how we were changing his characters. And he said, “No, if I was doing it today I’d do it completely different. I don’t know if I would do it like you’re doing it… but it needs to change”

Writer/Story Editor Rob Hoegee on Developing TEEN TITANS: “The comics become a great source material to get a general sense of the stories and who the characters are. But again, I think we sorta created our own spin on things. And while the comics are great, I think they sort of exist on their own. I would never want to compare what we’ve done to the great work that has been done before.”

Writer/Story Editor Amy Wolfram on Developing TEEN TITANS: “I think we were given a gift. We had five characters that were very different from each other. And that has given us a lot to play with and a lot of places to grow. The two girls aren’t the same. The three boys aren’t the same. Each of them has their own thing and their own issues. We draw a lot from that. ”

Producer Sam Register on Developing TEEN TITANS: ” I was a huge fan of the Wolfman/Pérez Titans and when my job was moved to development the first project I wanted to do – before I did anything in my new development role – was to see if the Teen Titans were available. I was still living in New York at the time so I called Paul Levitz and I went over to DC Comics. I asked him about Teen Titans and he said it was available and that was it. It was the first thing I always wanted to do and the first thing I did.” […]

“Also, I thought that Robin – one of the A characters in the DC Universe – was both an A character and a sidekick at the same time. I thought that he – in animation – was never anything more than a sidekick. It was also a good way of introducing new characters like Cyborg, Robin, Beast Boy and Starfire – who I knew through the DC Universe but many kids seeing the show for the first time would have no idea who they were. Robin was sort of an entry-character. Kids know who Robin is.. so through Robin we are able to meet these new characters.”

Producer Sam Register on the anime look of the series: “That was Glen [Murakami]. I told Glen that I was a huge fan of the Bruce Timm look and feel but I really felt they had done that so well and for so long that it was time for something new. And I was ready to switch things up. My big rule was that I wanted it to look completely different from a ‘house [style] action show’ from Warner Brothers.”

“Glen came to me and showed me some anime and said “Hey, we’re thinking of doing something like this” and he kind of looked at me like I was going to hate it. And I said “If that’s something you feel passionate about and you think this is a cool way to do it, you should do it.” You want guys to come into work and enjoy what they’re doing. And it was something that Glen and his team of artists really wanted to try.”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on DIVIDE & CONQUER: “DIVIDE AND CONQUER was about introducing the characters and introducing Slade — and also the style of the show. The story where Cyborg quits and the comes back in the end… that was a story that Glen [Murakami] had in mind. It’s a classic anime plot. Early on in one of our first meetings, Glen had said, “Howcum nobody just does simple stories anymore?” So DIVIDE AND CONQUER became an exercise in me telling the simplest story possible. I originally had more in there; I was going to do something with Cinderblock using that cannon against Titans Tower. But Glen suggested pulling that out. In hindsight, I think we’ve all agreed that maybe that episode was a little TOO simple [laughs]. But it was really about constructing something to show the members of the team, give a sense for the show and give a taste of who Slade was.”

“[…] In the end, it’s a show about family. About friendship… and not being isolated and alone. So in a way, that episode set that theme for the whole show. So right off the bat, we played the “What if the Titan break up?” card. We knew we didn’t want to do an origin episode, because that felt very explanatory. We were trying to avoid explaining things. But we still needed to establish the importantance of the group and what they all meant to each other. So we focused on Robin and Cyborg… and the very relatable issue of what it’s like to get in a fight with your friend.”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on inside jokes: “Yeah — there are names all over the place. There were the hungry Murakamis [a reference to producer Glen Murakami] in DIVIDE AND CONQUER, which Glen didn’t like. So he made me the guy in the Plasmus tank. The guy who turns into Plasmus is supposed to be me. I don’t know how much it looks like me and I’m certainly not letting these guys see me in my underwear.”

The Teen Titans themselves have been in print since the mid-sixties and originally consisted of Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Wonder Girl and Speedy. Conceived as a “Junior Justice League”, the teen sidekicks struck out on their own to battle crime. The Teen Titans animated series borrows heavily from the 1980s New Teen Titans era by writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez, notably in the cast, which consists of Robin, the Boy Wonder, Cyborg, Starfire, Raven and Beast Boy (a.k.a. Changeling).

ROBIN, THE BOY WONDER: Batman’s trusted partner and ward, Robin acts as the Teen Titans leader. Utilizing his superb technical training, computer skills and high-flying acrobatics to reach the heights of human potential. Dick Grayson became Robin in DETECTIVE COMICS #38 [1940]. He later became Nightwing in TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #44 [1984] while Jason Todd asumed the Robin mantle. Jason was later killed by the Joker in 1987. It wasn’t long before a new Robin replacement was found in Tim Drake in 1989.

BEAST BOY: After undergoing an experimental medical treatment to save his life, Gar Logan (also known as the Changeling in the comic series) gained the ablity to transform his physical structure into any animal he could imagine. Beast Boy first appeared in THE DOOM PATROL #99 [1965], where he became a junior member. Beast Boy changed his name to Changeling and joined the New Teen Titans in NEW TEEN TITANS #1 [1980].

CYBORG: A promising star athlete, Vic Stone was injured in an explosion at STAR Labs. His father replaced the ruined parts at his body with cybernetic implants, which gave him super-strength, enhanced speed and a wide variety of special weapons, including lasers, sonic disruptors and advanced computer hardware. Cyborg first appeared and joined the New Teen Titans in NEW TEEN TITANS #1 [1980].

RAVEN: The daughter at an Earth woman and an other-dimensional demon, Raven possesses vast empathic and healing powers, can travel in-between dimensions and has the ability to unleash her “soul-self” which can force an enemy to be overwhelmed by his or her worst fears. Often an outsider and thought of as a witch, Raven had to control her emotions, lest the evil side of her nature would burst free. Raven first appeared and joined the New Teen Titans in NEW TEEN TITANS #1 [1980].

STARFIRE: Koriand’r hails from the proud warrior planet of Tamaran. where all of her race can convert solar energy into flight. But when she was kidnapped by the evil Psions, their experiments granted her the ability to store untold amounts of energy and unleash devastating blasts. Starfire was rescued by the Titans and settled on earth – where she was often confused by customs she did not understand. Starfire first appeared and joined the New Teen Titans in NEW TEEN TITANS #1 [1980].

SLADE: A hard-edged mercenary, Slade Wilson [known as Deathstroke the Terminator] would fulfill any contract he undertook. His son Grant   set out on the same path as his father. The evil H.I.V.E. organization gave him great powers as the Ravager and sent him to kill the Teen Titans. Ravager’s powers ended up killing him, and Slade accepted the contract to kill the Titans on his son’s behalf. It all happened in NEW TEEN TITANS #2 [1980]. Slade mellowed in later years after he abandoned his contract to kill the Titans. He even became their ally on occasion. Recently, Slade has returned to his violent ways – and has clashed with the newest version of the Teen Titans.

In the comic books, Otto Von Furth’s body changed into unstable protoplasm, and he was brought into the newly reformed Brotherhood of Evil, where he took the name Plasmus. Plasmus was not a shape shifter, but had the ability to bring fiery death to whoever he touches, and to reduce any living matter to its protoplasmic state. Plasmus first appeared in New Teen Titans [first series] #13-15 [1981-1982].

Cinderblock was a villain created for the animated series.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

Episode 2: Sisters

“I am happy to see her. But Blackfire rules the videogames and she is able to share very depressing poems and she knows the cool moves and she always knows when people are not talking about shovels”
– Starfire

Originally aired: July 26, 2003
Written by Amy Wolfram
Directed by Alex Soto

When a mysterious alien probe shows up to haul Starfire away, sweet-natured Star has no idea why it came. And when Starfire’s sister Blackfire shows up to visit, Starfire just wishes she would leave. Blackfire’s wild, cool, and hip — everything Starfire’s not. And the other Titans seem to like Blackfire so much, Starfire thinks they won’t need her around anymore. But just as Star’s thinking about leaving, a couple of alien thugs (Kai and Cron) show up to haul her away. Can Robin save Starfire? Will Starfire find out why these nasty aliens are after her anyway?

Hynden Walch, who does the voice of Starfire, also provides the voice of Blackfire
Rino Romano as Kai
David Sobolov as Cron

  • First appearance of Blackfire, Starfire’s sister
  • Rino Romano – the voice of Kai – provides the voice of Batman in “The Batman” animated series
  • The warehouse club has a neon sign that reads SOTO – which is a nod to series director Alex Soto

Producer Glen Murakami on SISTERS: “Besides action and humor, interaction will be an important part of the series. “Every story has a moral that I think kids can relate to,” said Mr. Murakami. “The third episode, ‘Final Exam,’ is kind of about being bullied. ‘Sisters’ is about sibling rivalry and Starfire learning about herself. And I think the Titans’ problems are something that kids have to deal with.”

Producer Glen Murakami on Blackfire: “I was glad that we did Blackfire. And I thought it was funny to do it in that kind of “I Dream Of Jeannie”/”Bewitched” way. I thought it was cool to do that with the characters. And again, it’s like, how do we take this big dramatic Blackfire story arc – how do we do that and distill it all down into one episode? And I think we did it. I think you get it; You instantly understand their relationship. I think we held true to the character – but we just crammed it all into 22 minutes [laughs].”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on SISTERS: “On the script side, we thought SISTERS really came together. I remember in the story break for that one. Glen [Murakami] and I were talking about plot points.. what Blackfire was up to and where the aliens were coming from… then Amy [Wolfram] said, “I think we just need a scene where they sit down and talk about how they feel.” And Glen and I were like “Aha.” So Amy wrote that scene in addition to doing a really great script. There’s just a nice fun, heartfelt simplicity to SISTERS. And we also got really nice animation on that one, which always helps. There’s a really nice feel to that episode… I think it’s one of the best we’ve done. I think at that point, we knew something about this was really working. ”

“[…] One of the reasons the first season was so difficult was the way me and Glen had approached it. Rather than let the style of the show dictate what types of stories we would tell, we would instead let the stories we wanted to tell dictate the episode. So SISTERS is our “I Dream of Jeannie” episode.”

“[…] SISTERS set a lot as far as tone. We were lucky to get that as a second episode. It gave us something to refer to. There was that scene where we got to the emotional issue of the episode. So we have those scenes in there now – those emotional moments. ”

Writer/Stort Editor Amy Wolfram on SISTERS: ” I think everyone – at some point in their lives – feels like they don’t fit in. And that someone else has it easier. And that’s where that came from. I mean, I was never the “head cheerleader” or anything like that. I felt I was someone just trying to figure out who I was. I think when you put Starfire in this environment, she doesn’t see all the wonderful things about herself. Then put her sister next to her – a sister that can do everything! It’s interesting to see a superhero have a sibling she feels inferior to. And that’s really how we approached that one. It’s about siblings. And how you sometimes feel inadequate next to them.”

“[…] There’s that scene where Starfire is in the disco club. And she’s really not getting it. And meanwhile, her sister is dancing and having a great time. I think a lot of people have felt that. We always wanted it to be something that would feel real. Something that people would ‘get.’ ”

Starfire’s sister Blackfire was even more vicious in the comic book tales. Blackfire was born without the power of flight, and was passed over as heir to Tamaran – which was bestowed on her younger sister, Starfire. For this, she hated Starfire. She killed her pet, betrayed her planet to the evil Gordanians and sold her sister into slavery. When they met again, Blackfire and Starfire fought viciously – almost to the death.

Years later, Blackfire returned and ruled Tamaran but learned to soften her ways. But the sisters always seem to remain at odds with each other.Blackfire and Starfire’s history is detailed in Tales of the New Teen Titans mini-series #4 [1982] which shows the origin of Starfire.

Starfire mentions that on her planet fireworks may mean “The Gordanians are attacking.” The Gordanians were a lizard race of aliens that would enslave anyone they conquered. In the comic books, the Titans rescued Starfire from her enslavement by the Gordanians in New Teen Titans #1 [1980]. That’s how she met the team.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

Episode 3: Final Exam

“Who is Slade?”
– Robin

Originally aired: July 19, 2003
Written by Rob Hoegee
Directed by Michael Chang

The HIVE Academy unveils its top graduates: three teenage supervillains known as Gizmo, Mammoth, and Jinx. But before Slade will hire the new Hive Agents, he requires that they pass one ‘final exam’ — they must destroy the Teen Titans. And much to the Titans surprise, the well-organized, strictly-disciplined Hive Agents nearly accomplish their mission. Will our tattered heroes regroup and come back strong — or is this the end of the Teen Titans?

Lauren Tom as Jinx and Gizmo
Kevin Michael Richardson as Mammoth
Ron Perlman as Slade
Andrea Romano, the show’s voice director, provides the voice of Hive Academy’s headmistress

  • First appearance of Gizmo, Mammoth and Jinx.
  • This is the third episode produced although it is the first aired.

Producer Glen Murakami on FINAL EXAM: Besides action and humor, interaction will be an important part of the series. “Every story has a moral that I think kids can relate to,” said Mr. Murakami. “The third episode, ‘Final Exam,’ is kind of about being bullied. ‘Sisters’ is about sibling rivalry and Starfire learning about herself. And I think the Titans’ problems are something that kids have to deal with.”

Producer Glen Murakami on developing Gizmo and Jinx: “We talk about the villains being all adults. We talked about different ways of doing it. I dunno… Gizmo as a little kid seemed funnier. Making them relatable just seemed more interesting. It wasn’t like “Oh, we’re going to change it just to change it.” We wanted to talk about the story and figure out how it works. I think it’s the essence of everything.”

“Same thing with Jinx. Let’s make her more goth. It’s this blend of how to make it a little more anime… how to make it a little more contemporary… how to make it more iconic… I think we wanted to make Jinx similar to Raven but different than Raven. It’s a back-and-forth process that – after awhile – I forget exactly why we made a decision.”

Gizmo, Mammoth and Jinx are all members of the Fearsome Five, a villainous group that plagued the Titans from time to time. Gizmo was a middle-aged midget, Mammoth was a slow-witted behemoth and Jinx was an elemental sorceress who hailed from India. The Fearsome Five first battled the Titans in New Teen Titans [first series] #3 and #7. Jinx joined later in Tales of the Teen Titans #56-58.

The H.I.V.E. was formed by the H.I.V.E. Master – who gathered together seven other criminal scientists. The H.I.V.E. would try to gain world domination through terrorism and political manipulation. Later, the H.I.V.E. sought to destroy the Teen Titans, who they perceived as a potential threat. The H.I.V.E. appeared in New Teen Titans [first series] #2 and plagued the team until they were finally defeated in Tales of the Teen Titans #45-47.

The H.I.V.E. Recruited a bitter young man, Grant Wilson, and granted him powers. Wilson became the Ravager and tried to kill the Titans. However, Ravager died in battle and the contract he signed to destroy the Titans was taken over by his father, Slade Wilson (aka Deathstroke, the Terminator in the comic books). This started an ongoing fued which began in New Teen Titans [first series] #2, and continued in #10, 34, 39 and Tales of the Teen Titans #42-44 and Annual #3. In the cartoon, he is known as Slade.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

Episode 4: Forces of Nature

“We are Thunder and Lightning – and we can do as we please!”
– Lightning

Originally aired: August 16, 2003
Written by Adam Beechen
Directed by Ciro Nieli

Dark ominous clouds blow in from the East, bringing Thunder and Lightning with them: two forces of nature made flesh in the form of costumed super-teens. The stormy brothers aren’t evil, they’re just looking for a good time. Unfortunately, their idea of fun involves wrecking everything in sight. Meanwhile: when one of Beast Boy’s practical jokes misfires and soaks Starfire in motor oil, Beast Boy learns that just because something is fun — that doesn’t make it right. Can Beast Boy teach Thunder and Lightning his lesson before Slade harnesses the brothers’ power to unleash a monster?

Scott Bullock as Thunder
Quinton Flynn as Lightning
Ron Perlman as Slade

  • First appearance of Thunder & Lightning.
  • Slade meets Robin face-to-face for the first time.
  • Slade’s disguise as The Old One was designed to look like his comic book identity of Slade Wilson. It may the closest the series will get to unmasking him.
  • The “super-deformed” poses of the characters during Beast Boy’s practical joke were made into toy figures by Bandai.

Producer Sam Register on FORCES OF NATURE: “Yeah – we didn’t know quite was [Slade] was going to be after. We knew we needed an enemy. And in the first season, we decided he wanted an apprentice and it was sort of a Luke-and-Darth thing. And he was called Deathstroke in the comic and we can’t use the word ‘death’ so we went with his first name. So we wanted to keep him mysterious and dark and sort of the uber-villain. And he’s worked out great. And he looks pretty much like ‘The Old One’ too [from the episode “Forces of Nature”].”

“[…] And there are episodes we all want to do. Like I wanted to do Thunder and Lightning because I liked that from the comics. ”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on FORCES OF NATURE: “That one was interesting because it set part of the style of the show – that we could change the style in every episode. Glen [Murakami] kept saying, “It’s a fable.” – because Thunder and Lightning were characters of mythic proportion – literally forces of nature. So when we started writing it, we wrote it like an Asian fable – which is where the music and style came from. As for adapting Thunder and Lightning, that was already in Glen’s head. He knew what he wanted to do with them from the start. Most of that came from him. ”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack developing Slade: “There was a great debate whether Slade was just evil incarnate, or whether he was planning something. That was a story where, in the eleventh hour, the decision was made collectively: It needed to lead somewhere otherwise the audience would be disappointed. There were some rewrites on that one. The evening before we recorded the episode, we added the fight scene between Robin and Slade. That wasn’t originally in there. After we did that, we said. “OK, we’re teasing this thing… so what exactly IS Slade’s plan?” [laughs] I hate to admit it, but we flew by the seat of our pants a bit in the first season. Things are much more planned out now.”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on Slade’s disguise as The Old One: “Yeah. But that is a mask. Slade doesn’t want anyone to see him. If we ever get around to showing Slade’s face, I doubt it will look like that. But there are layers there to be peeled back – mask after mask. ”

In New Teen Titans [first series] #32 [1983], Two young men calling themselves Thunder and Lightning were causing major disturbances in St. Louis with their super-powers. The Titans learned that the Vietnamese brothers were searching for their father, Second Lt. Walter Williams. Thunder and Lightning reveal that they are the children of American soldier Walter Williams and a Vietnamese mother.

Thunder and Lightning later learn their father was actually an alien in disguise in New Teen Titans [first series] #36 [1983]. Following this, the brothers sought to control their powers but remained allies with the Titans.

Slade’s disguise as The Ancient One is actually very similar to the way he looks in the comic books – something the animated staff were aware of when designing The Old One. Slade has white hair, an eyepatch and a goatee. It’s probably the closest the series will ever come to actually ‘unmasking’ him.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

Episode 5: Sum Of His Parts

“If you take out my biological components, you take out the best part of me – the part that makes me who I am.”
– Cyborg

Originally aired: August 23, 2003
Written by David Slack
Directed by Alex Soto

A day of fun in the park is cut short when Cyborg suddenly freezes like a statue. His power cell is dying. And while the problem is easily fixed with a new battery, Cy is reminded of something he doesn’t like to think about: he’s not completely human. But before Cyborg can get home to fix his power cell, the Titans are called into action. The Amazing Mumbo is on a magical crime spree in the city — and there’s no way Cyborg is gonna let his friends fight alone.

But during a wild junkyard battle, Cyborg’s battery goes dead; and the Titans think Mumbo has made off with their friend. And while the Titans are searching the city for Mumbo, Cyborg is found by Fixit — a cybernetic hermit who finds things that are broken and repairs them. Cyborg gets the new power cell he needs; but there’s just one problem, Fixit’s not done fixing. When repairs are complete, will Cyborg be human at all?

Tom Kenny as Mumbo
Tom Kenny as Fixit

  • First appearances of Mumbo and Fixit
  • Fixit was originally conceived as the comic book Titans’ villain, Psimon. Psimon was a vicious criminal with psychic abilities

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on SUM OF HIS PARTS: “SUM OF HIS PARTS was a rare thing where the story broke in about 2 minutes. We were behind schedule and we had to come up with an episode quick. We had 4 in the pipeline, but nothing following. Glen [Murakami] and I plotted it out, he kicked me out of his office and then I got home and wrote.”

“That was another episode that pushed the boundaries of the how far we could go in the show. The stuff that happens with Cyborg in that episode is really scary and dark. That’s actually why Mumbo is that episode. That was a Glen suggestion. Since we were doing something so dark, we came up with this crazy madcap magician character. I think if I did that episode now, I would just let it stay dark. But it was some pretty scary stuff in that episode.”

“But it was nice to touch on some of the stuff from the comic book. There’s that relationship that Cyborg has with the kids that have prosthetics. The cool thing about SUM OF HIS PARTS was something we heard from a parent. Her son had a friend at school who was diabetic, and when he told his mother, he mentioned “He’s just like Cyborg.” So we had given this kid a way to understand his friend; Just because he had diabetes, it didn’t mean there was anything ‘wrong’ with him. So that was really cool. ”

In New Teen Titans [first series] #8 [1981]: As Vic Stone mused his new cybernetic form, he was struck by a baseball. As the child retrieved it, Vic was surprised that the boy didn’t recoil at the sight of him. Instead, the handicapped boy marveled at Vic’s metal prosthetics, whereas his were plastic.

Vic then unexpectedly became friends with Sarah Simms, a teacher of West Side School for the Handicapped, and her class of handicapped students – all who were learning to adjust to prosthetic limbs. The children continued to look up to Vic, who had his own ‘metal prosthetics,’ of a sort.

Mumbo and Fixit were created for the animated series and have not appeared in the comics.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

Episode 6: Nevermore

“Let’s just say I have issues with my father”
– Raven

Originally aired: August 30, 2003
Written by Greg Klein and Tom Pugsley
Directed by Michael Chang

When a battle with Dr. Light pushes Raven over the edge, the Titans see a side of their mysterious friend that they’ve never seen before: her temper. After Raven’s creepy tantrum of crackling black energy leaves Dr. Light begging for mercy, Beast Boy isn’t quite sure how to treat her. And he winds up making her feel even worse about what happened. But when Cyborg takes him by her room to apologize, Raven’s not there — so Beast Boy drags Cyborg in to snoop around. Beast Boy finds a mysterious mirror. And when he picks it up, BB and Cy find themselves transported to a strange nightmare world that’s somehow connected to Raven. Will Raven be able to guide the boys home — or will her “personal issues” destroy them all?

Rodger Dumpass as Dr. Light
Keith Szarabajka as Trigon

  • First appearance of Dr. Light.
  • First appearance of Raven’s father, Trigon.
  • This episode, the opening theme song is sung in Japanese
  • Trigon is redesigned when he appears again in season four. It should be noted – however – that the “Trigon” in NEVERMORE is a manifestation of Raven’s mind.

Producer Sam Register on Raven: “We think of her as a goth girl. She’s a dark character – but a character everyone can relate to. She’s a recluse and sort of to herself. We thought that would be a good dynamic with the rest of the team. She does have a dark background in the comic. In the cartoon, there is talk about getting more into her past in the fourth season. We touched on it with Trigon, and we might do more.”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on NEVERMORE: “NEVERMORE was an idea I had before coming on board the show. That was one of the original premises I wrote. I had conceived it completely differently. By the time it got to script, the only thing that remained was that it centered around Raven. That, and the title of the episode. When we were originally working on the story, we conceived it as a literal journey into another dimension. Something on the way to Azarath – a Dr. Strange-type world.”

“And when Glen [Murakami] and I were talking about it, he mentioned, “Well, if the story is about them getting to know Raven better… shouldn’t they just go inside her head?” And that just cracked the whole thing wide open. That was my first undiluted taste of Glen’s genius. He approaches things from this utterly unique standpoint – and creates from a sense of an internal emotional logic. From then on, the episode got really interesting to work on. And Tom Pugsley and Greg Klein did a great job on the script. It was something we were all really proud of. It had a nice balance of cool action and great character relationships. ”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on using Trigon: “It is a tricky issue. We had a good template laid out by Marv and George in the comics. Obviously, they went a little farther than we are willing or able to. But there was an example there – how to tell the story you want to tell, but still be delicate about it. My main concern with using Trigon in NEVERMORE, was that we couldn’t save him for a big reveal later on. [laughs]. So we showed Trigon without actually showing him [since NEVERMORE takes place in Raven’s head]. I think if we ever bring him back, he’ll be a lot scarier.”

Producer Sam Register on Dr. Light: “Dr. Light will show up to be defeated often, just like in the comics.”

Dr. Light is a hapless villain who thought he could make a name for himself by taking down the Teen Titans. He first battled the team in Teen Titans [first series] #44 in 1976. Later, he formed the Fearsome Five [with Psimon, Mammoth, Shimmer and Gizmo] in New Teen Titans #3 [1980].

Trigon is Raven’s demonic father from another dimension. Her mother is an earth woman known as Arella. Raven always fights her dark side from being released and consuming her. Trigon appears in New Teen Titans [first series] #1-6 and New Teen Titans [second series] #1-5 [1984].

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

Episode 7: Switched

Starfire: “Very very good! What was your joyful thought?”
Raven: “You don’t want to know…”
Starfire: “Oh, but I do… please tell me… what did you imagine?”
Raven: “You not talking.”
– Starfire teaching Raven to fly, after switching bodies

Originally aired: Sept. 6, 2003
Written by Rick Copp
Directed by Ciro Nieli

Starfire and Raven don’t really ‘hang out’. Star doesn’t understand Raven’s repression. Raven can’t deal with Starfire’s emotional outbursts. They just don’t understand each other. But when the Puppet King imprisons Robin, Cyborg, and Beast Boy inside wooden puppets and takes control of the boys’ bodies, the girls are going to have to understand each other — if they want to survive.

A mix-up with the Puppet King’s spell winds up switching the girls’ bodies: Starfire’s mind is in Raven’s body and vice versa. Will gushy Starfire be able to suppress her feelings enough to control Raven’s wildly sensitive powers? Can Raven loosen up enough to unleash Starfire’s emotion-driven abilities? Will the two of them be able to save the boys before the Puppet King destroys their wooden bodies and makes the three flesh-and-blood Titans his slaves forever?

Tracey Walter as Puppet King

  • The Puppet King is based on the comic book foe, The Puppeteer.
  • Raven reveals she was born on Azarath. Azarath is part of her mystical spell, “Azarath, Metrion, Xinthos.” Incidentily, Metrion and Xinthos are not references to anything. Those magic words were created for the animated series.

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on Starfire: “Yeah, well, that’s part of a Story Editor’s job to make sure the voices are consistent. I catch a lot of contractions people may put in for Starfire. That’s one of the things all writers try to do – to make sure they write the characters the way they should sound. Yeah, each character has his own voice and specific sense of humor and I definitely try to provide coaching on that. I think Starfire is the most pronounced because she has a strange way of speaking and approaching things.”

“My favorite joke with Starfire is when she approaches her little marionette puppet in SWITCHED. Initially the joke we had in there was how the puppet looked relative to her. Then, at a certain point, we realized “What if she’s never SEEN a puppet before?” Things like that with Starfire you have to think outside the box. That, and all the alien words you have to make up. It takes a certain ear.”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on SWITCHED: “SWITCHED was fun to work on. Rick Copp wrote that one, and he’s a tremendously funny writer. He wrote the “Brady Bunch” movie. That episode came up with a lot of great character moments for the girls. That’s one of the things I’m really proud about our show; The female characters exist as individuals, not just as foils for the male characters or characters that define themselves in terms of men. Raven and Starfire are defined by the content of their own characters. So it was really cool to let them carry the show.”

“Another interesting tidbit from that episode: We originally toyed with the idea of letting Hynden Walch do Raven’s voice and Tara Strong do Starfire’s voice when they switched bodies. And we tried it out in the recording session. But both those women are so talented that we couldn’t tell the difference. There was only something slightly off. Hynden does a really good Raven, and Tara does a really good Starfire – so we couldn’t really tell the difference. In the end, we just decided to go with the original plan.”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on the girl Titans: “I remember telling the licensing folks “I think people are going to really like our girl characters.” That’s generally not the case. I think sometimes, girl characters aren’t written with a lot of depth. We’ve worked really hard to make sure that on Titans, that isn’t the case.”

Writer/Story Editor Amy Wolfram on the girl Titans:“And our girls are girls. They aren’t boys in capes and tights. They have things that girls go through. And that’s great.”

The Puppet King is based on the comic book foe, The Puppeteer. The Teen Titans battled the Puppeteer in New Teen Titans #9 [1981]. On Tamaran, Starfire’s home planet, everyone is very open with their emotions. By contrast, Raven keeps her emotions bottled up so her evil side is not released.

Raven starts to tell Starfire about herself and mentions “I was born in a place called Azarath.” Raven’s mother Arella, involved in a mystic cult, was chosen to become the bride of the demonic Trigon. Arella later discovered she was pregnant and she was taken in by the pacifistic disciples of Temple Azarath, a group who had centuries earlier forsaken life on Earth to pursue their own nonviolent lifestyle.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

Episode 8: Deep Six

Aqualad: “It’s called telepathy”
Beast Boy: [thinking mockingly] “It’s called telepathy”
Aqualad: “I heard that.”

Originally aired: September 13, 2003
Written by Marv Wolfman
Directed by Alex Soto

When a mysterious amphibious villain called Trident makes off with a boatload of dangerous toxic waste, the Teen Titans hop into the T-Sub and go on an undersea adventure to find out what Trident is up to — and put a stop to it. Beast Boy is stoked: this is his big chance to morph into all sorts of cool undersea animals and show the team what a big hero he really is.

But unfortunately for BB, another big hero shows up to steal the spotlight: a good-looking water-breathing teenage do-gooder called Aqualad. A fierce (but funny) rivalry quickly grows between the two heroes. When it’s up to them to save the day, will Aqualad and Beast Boy be ready to take on Trident — or will they be too busy competing with each other?

Wil Weaton as Aqualad
Clancy Brown as Trident
Dave Coulier as Captain

  • First appearance of Aqualad, voiced by Wil Weaton
  • First appearance of Trident
  • Marv Wolfman, who wrote this episode, wrote the NEW TEEN TITANS comics for 16 years – and co-created Starfire, Raven and Cyborg
  • Tramm the Fish-Boy is named for series producer-consultant Tramm Wigzell

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on developing Aqualad: “We went back to same formula: If this is high school, who is he? So we decided Aqualad is the swim team guy – the pro surfer guy. Not the pro surfer “dude”, but the guy who’s serious about it. So that gave us a clue how to write him and make him look. Glen gave him a more streamlined look, wearing something that was like a wetsuit. And he made him just a little bit taller than the guys. A lot of what influences character is also what we need them to do in an episode. We thought Aqualad would be a good rival for Beast Boy, since they both had powers that related to animals.”

“We thought of him as the guy who comes from his own world and has his own set of rules. He’s a strong, athletic, intelligent, very good-looking confident guy who wasn’t trying to impress anybody. That was part of the point of the story. Sometimes people aren’t trying to compete with you – they’re just good at doing certain things. There’s no reason not to like them.”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on recording DEEP SIX: “And recording DEEP SIX was a lot of fun. Meeting Wil Wheaton [the voice of Aqualad], I was completely star-struck. And I told him that. Wil Wheaton is a big fan of comics. He was star-struck to meet Marv Wolfman. So I saw like, “Wow, it’s great to meet you and it’s an honor to work with you.” And he was like, “Mr. Wolfman! Can you sign my script?” [laughs] But he’s a great guy. And he’s written a few books – and they are really entertaining. You can get them on”

Wil Weaton on Voicing Aqualad: “So here’s something unexpected: I did a voice today on this new show called “Teen Titans.” The call came on Friday, and here’s the cool thing: the director, a wonderful woman named Andrea Romano, who has won seven emmy’s called my agent and requested me, based on my work with her last year on “The Zeta Project.”

“I did the voice of “Aqualad,” and I was told when I left today that they were so happy, I would probably be asked back to do the role again in the next thirteen episodes. The episode I did was written by this really nice guy named Marv Wolfman, who co-created and wrote for “Teen Titans” for sixteen years, created “Blade,” and was just an all-around cool guy. We spent some time geeking out about comic books today…it just killed me that he was referring to Alan Moore as “Alan.”

“Animation is really fun, because it’s really quick work (usually less than 4 hours for an episode), and the people who do it are all really cool…but it’s also very hard to break into the animation world, because the community is extremely small, and very protective. Being asked by a very respected director to come back, based on her previous experience with me, is just HUGE, and it makes me feel really good, and it may signal my entry into the world of animation.”

Marv Wolfman On Writing DEEP SIX: “They were recording “Deep Six,” an upcoming episode Teen Titans animated show over at Warner Bros.TV Animation today and I was invited to watch the procedings. The show is based on the DC comic George Pérez and I created back in 1980 and features many of our characters, villains included.”

“There are changes, of course. While our Titans was written for a teenage and older comic book reader, this show is written for the younger TV audience. Several of our characters have origins that are a little excessive for the Kids WB where it will be shown (along with The Cartoon Network). For instance, in the comic, Raven’s mom was raped by an inter-dimensional demon and Starfire was sold into slavery by her father. Not exactly kiddie fare. This show emphasizes action and fun. All the Titans favorites are here: Robin, Beast Boy (I still prefer the name Changeling) Cyborg, Raven and Starfire. I hope people will like the show when it airs sometime next year. ”

“The people at Warners have all been great. Most of my conversations to date have been with story editor, David Slack, who I finally got to meet. I also spoke with producer Glen Murakami and most of the actors. The actor playing Cyborg was, unfortunately for me, in Romania working on a film so they were going to record his voice later on. Although I had not heard of many of the actors – voice people are often sadly overlooked – I knew Wil Wheaton who played this episode’s guest star, Aqualad. Wil, of course, was on Star Trek: Next Generation. As a Trek nut – I’ve seen every episode of every Trek – it was great meeting him, and the fact that he turned out to be a nice guy and a comics fan helped a lot.”

“All the actors were wonderful and they all asked me to autograph their scripts which felt very strange. I mean, I’m the writer, they’re the actors. It’s supposed to go the other way. Several asked questions about their characters and I answered best I could, but I don’t think I could provide a lot of help; these Titans are very different in so many ways and I didn’t want to confuse them with the comic book versions which they weren’t playing. I’d like to thank David for inviting me, Glen for being so kind as to let me watch, and all the actors for being so wonderful.”

Aqualad was one of the founding members of the Teen Titans – along with Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl and Speedy – and served as a member in the first series that began in 1966. He was an orphan child found and raised by Aquaman in Atlantis. He later grew up and became a powerful hero known as Tempest.

Trident appeared as a thief who operated in New York City. In truth, three criminals were taking turns at committing several large robberies. It was believed that Trident was only one person. Eventually, the Sammy Jaye Trident tried to cheat his two partners out of their share of loot. The other two killed Sammy, and his costumed body was discovered by the New Teen Titans. It was Starfire who eventually figured out that there was more than one Trident. This story was told in New Teen Titans #33 [1983], which was written by Marv Wolfman.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

Episode 9: Masks

 “Whatever you’re planning, Slade, it’s over!”
“On the contrary, Robin… it’s just begun”
– Robin and Slade confront each other

Originally aired: Sept. 20, 2003
Written by Tom Pugsley, Greg Klein
Directed by Michael Chang

Slade sends a team of robotic commandos to steal a high-tech chip. The Titans stop the robbery, but Starfire nearly gets hurt in the process. So Robin becomes more determined than ever to find out who Slade is — and what he’s planning. But while Robin is obsessively researching his arch-nemesis, a mysterious new bad guy called Red X tries to steal the same chip.

With Robin following a Slade lead on the other side of town, the four other Titans try to stop Red X. But the mysterious masked villain seems to know just how to disable each of them. Matters get even worse, when Red X makes contact with Slade — and suggests a partnership. Will the four Titans be able to stop Red X? Will Robin solve the mystery of Slade? Or does another unexpected surprise await them all?

Ron Perlman as Slade

  • This episode furthers the Slade arc and sets up the 2-part first season finale, APPRENTICE.
  • Red X returns in season three’s episode, “X”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on MASKS: “MASKS was a turning point. I think I said early on, Cartoon Network asked us to do something you rarely get asked to do; We were asked to take risks. Sam said “I want you to do things you’re not supposed to do.” So there are things that don’t normally happen in kids’ cartoon shows – such as the way Starfire leaves Robin at the end. She’s basically saying, “You disappointed me. You screwed up.” ”

“[…] Yeah. I really like that episode. And we’ve since found a way to bring Red X back.”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on developing Slade: “Originally, we weren’t envisioning [Slade] to be as scary as he later became. For someone who writes kids cartoons, I have a surprisingly dark sensibility. I’ve told Sam [Register] and Glen [Murakami] a number of times: I’ll go as dark as you let me; Just tell me when I’m getting too scary.”

“Originally, we didn’t even know we would do an arc with Slade. We just decided Slade would be behind everything. He’d be our Dr. Claw [from “Inspector Gadget”]. But after looking a few episodes, we decided we were teasing something. And if we didn’t pay it off, we were going to disappoint a lot of people. That’s when we got into the psychology of Slade. We had a really hard time figuring out how MASKS and APPRENTICE were going to work. We went down a lot of blind alleys and dead ends – trying to find something that fit. It was actually Bruce Timm who helped us make the breakthrough on that one.”

In the comics, Slade [aka Deathstroke The Terminator] respected Robin more than any other Titan. Also, Robin would often shut out Starfire when he became consumed with a case.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

Episode 10: Mad Mod

“You’re in my world now, duckies”
– Mad Mod

Originally aired: Sept. 27, 2003
Written by Adam Beechen
Directed by Ciro Nieli

The Teen Titans awake to find themselves captured — prisoners of Mad Mod, a madcap bad guy in a psychedelic suit. Miffed at the way the Titans “disrespect their elders” and “interfere with the toils of hard working criminals”, Mad Mod has decided to teach the teens a lesson. Thus, he’s created a massive mind-bending school full of optical illusions and brain-washing hypno-screens. Will the Titans be “re-educated” and lose their minds in the process? Or will our heroes find out the secret to Mad Mod’s sinister school and teach him a lesson?

Malcolm McDowell as the Mad Mod

  • First appearance of the Mad Mod
  • This episode was originally titled DETENTION but changed to MAD MOD
  • The song during the chase scene was titled “K2G”. The song was written by Andy Strumer, and Puffy AmiYumi, produced by Andy Strumer and performed by Puffy Amiyumi
  • Starfire’s joke: “How many Okaarans does it take to hoegee a marfilk? Finbar!” contains two references: Rob Hoegee is a series writer and Finbarr O’Reardon is the series Art Coordinator
  • Mad Mod returns in season three’s episode, REVOLUTION
This episode was filled with nods, winks and homages:
  • “Clockwork Orange”: starred Malcolm McDowell [voice of the Mad Mod] as an ultraviolent teen in the near-future who is re-proprammed with “aversion therapy” to become a brainwashed peaceful member of society. Mad Mod’s techniques are similar to the “aversion therapy” – especially the scene in the library where Starfire’s eyes are forced open [a direct nod to “Clockwork Orange”]
  • “Scooby Doo” and “The Monkees”: The elaborate chase scene with the go-go music was an homage to the chase scenes on “Scooby Doo” and similar Saturday morning cartoons in the 1970s. Those chase scenes were somewhat inspired by the Monkees TV show, which had musical chase scenes. And the Monkees itself was based on the Beatles’ movie “Hard Day’s Night”. So it’s a reference of a reference of a reference, I suppose.
  • “Yellow Submarine”: The Beatles animated opus was referenced in the scene where the Teen Titans pop up through circles. Ringo lifts up a circle exactly as Cyborg does.
  • “Monthy Python’s Flying Circus”: The Statue of David dressed as Mad Mod with a british symbol on his crotch seems to be a nod toward the famous British comedy series, whose opening contained a similar image.
  • DC Comics Silver Age: DC Comics in the 60’s [known as the Silver Age] had an infamous trade dress using go-go black and white checks. Mad Mod [and the Teen Titans] first appeared during this era and Mad Mod is a prime example of the typical Silver Age villain. Mod’s lair is covered in go-go checks.
  • Batman TV Show of the 1960’s: Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson would reveal the secret entrance to the batcave with a secret button under a bust in the library. The bust of the Mad Mod contains a secret button that seems to lead out of his topsy-turvy world.
This episode contained many famous art treasures: 
  • Andy Warhol art: The Mad Mod painting with the same four faces in different colors is a direct homage to the 1960’s counter-culture artist.
  • Rene Magritte “The Son of Man”: “Son of Man” is the famous painting of the man in the bowler hat whose face is obscurred by a green apple. In “Mad Mod”, a painting hangs where Mod’s face is obscurred by bananas.
  • M C Escher art: MC Escher created mind-bending imagery similar to Mad Mod’s topsy-turvy architecture. He played with architecture, perspective and impossible spaces. His art continues to amaze and wonder millions of people all over the world. His works House of Stairs and Relativity are similar to Mod’s world.
  • Pablo Picasso Art: A painting in the hallway is inspired by Picasso’s abstracts.
  • Grant Wood “American Gothic”: In The Mad Mod version, Mod is holding his cane instead of the pitchfork.
  • Leonardo Da Vinci “Mona Lisa”: Mad Mod’s face is inserted in this classic painting.
  • The Statue of David: The statue dressed as Mad Mod with a british symbol on his crotch seems to be a nod toward the famous Statue of David.

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on MAD MOD: “In SUM OF HIS PARTS, we put the ‘wacky’ and the ‘serious’ in one episode. After that, we realized we could just change it up week to week. That’s something we’re actually very conscious of when we plan the episode order for the season. We had this really dark scary MASKS episode, then we did MAD MOD and CAR TROUBLE before we got into the dark again with APPRENTICE. So MAD MOD was definitely an attempt to lighten it up a little bit.”

“[…] I would say by MAD MOD, we had a sense of all the various directions the series could go. And that’s one of the great things about the show. We’re never quite sure what we’ll do – and you’ll never be sure of what you’re going to get. We can do serious action, we can do wild comedy. We can do romps, emotional stuff, very thoughtful drama… we run the gamut.”

“MAD MOD nearly broke all of us though. That was a really, really hard story to crack. Even for a Titans show, it has almost no plot. In the beginning, Mad Mod has got them.. and he’s got them the whole time. And Adam Beechen, Glen and I worked diligently through multiple rounds of that script, to give the story enough of a goal to hold onto – so it didn’t just feel like a bunch of stuff happening. It needed to move forward and appear to have things escalating. So the Titans needed to seem to be ‘getting somewhere’ even though they weren’t, because that was kind of the point.”

“And then we were lucky enough to get Malcolm McDowell to do the voice. That was like… “Wow.” Not only to get to meet the guy, but to have him do the voice and speak words you had worked on — [pause] it’s a good job [laughs].”

“[…] After we did the first Mad Mod episode, I told Glen I didn’t want to do another one with him. Not to say that I won’t. But his episodes are always the hardest. They’re the hardest to get to work. But Mad Mod returns in season three. And we’re all very happy with the way that one looks. John Espisito wrote that one – and Rob Hoegee and I co-story-edited that one. That one came back looking cool. I hope everyone likes it.”

The Mad Mod was one of the earliest adversaries of the Teen Titans. The Mad Mod was a fashion designer who lived on Carnaby Street in London, where Mod clothes were the rage. Mod used his fashion label as a front to conceal contraband items in the clothes he made. He appeared in Teen Titans #7 and 17 [1967-1968]. He resurfaced year later in Teen Titans [second series] #2 in 1996. By then, he had has reformed, and become a very successful fashion designer (the retro collection of Mad Mod fashions was a huge hit).

One of Starfire’s jokes begins with “How many Okaarans does it take…” The Okaarans were a group of old, wise, blue-skinned aliens. Starfire and her sister, Blackfire, trained in the arts of combat with the Warlords of Okaara.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

Episode 11: Car Trouble

“You lost my car? [pause] My car LOST a race?” 
– Cyborg

Originally aired: Nov. 11, 2003
Written by Amy Wolfram
Directed by Alex Soto

Cyborg has just finished building the vehicle of his dreams: the super-cool , uberfast, ultra-high-tech T-CAR! Cy grins like a proud parent as he shows off his “baby” to the other Titans. But before Cyborg can take his cool car out for a spin, the Titians are called to an Electronics Superstore where an electrical menace called Overload is wreaking havoc.

Our heroes race to the scene – and Cyborg leaves behind his beloved car parked out front with its high-tech alarm set. But when they emerge from the store with Overload in custody, Cyborg freaks: the T-Car is gone!! A wild adventure unfolds as the T-Car changes hands from bad guy to worse guy – Cyborg races all over town, trying to catch up. Can Cyborg get his “baby” back – or is the T-Car lost forever?

Matt Levin as Sammy
James Arnold Taylor as Overload
Lauren Tom as Gizmo

  • This episode was the 11th episode produced, but aired last in season one. It’s proper placement is preceding “Apprentice” parts 1 & 2
  • First appearance of Overload, a villain created for the animated series
  • The characters of Sammy and Cash are named after series producer, Sam Register – Sammy is obviously for Sam… and Cash for Register (cash register… get it?)

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on CAR TROUBLE: “One of the reasons the first season was so difficult was the way me and Glen had approached it. Rather than let the style of the show dictate what types of stories we would tell, we would instead let the stories we wanted to tell dictate the episode. So SISTERS is our “I Dream of Jeannie” episode, FORCES OF NATURE is an Asian fairy tale, DEEP SIX is our 1940s movie serial, MAD MOD is our crazy 60’s mod thing. So we did a lot to change the style of the show with each episode. So that was a lot of fun. But it did make each new script a challenge in terms of finding the style of the episode. By the time we got around to CAR TROUBLE, we had more a handle on the series as a whole. That was our “American Graffiti” episode.”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on inside references: “Yeah, sometimes it’s easier to pull a name than to make up one. So the show is always full of the names of people that work on the show. It’s fun. The two teens in CAR TROUBLE – Sammy and Cash – are actually BOTH nicknames for Sam Register. Sammy for his first name, and Cash for his last name. We had the voice actor do something Sam does… when he greets you he’ll go, “Aaayyy!” So if you watch CAR TROUBLE, you’ll see both Sammy and Cash do that.”

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

Episode 12: Apprentice [Part 1]

“Sending trouble your way, leaving cryptic clues for you to unravel. I was testing you. For some time now I have been searching for.. an apprentice. Someone to follow in my footsteps. And Robin – I’ve chosen you. Congratulations.”
– Slade to Robin

Originally aired: Oct. 4, 2003
Written by Rob Hoegee
Directed by Michael Chang

Who is Slade? And what is he planning? The questions that have been keeping Robin awake at night are about to be answered. Sade contacts the Teen Titans and unveils his master plan: A Chronoton Detonator – a sinister-looking high-tech device has the ability to stop time… forever.

The Titans spring into action on a mad hunt to find the Detonator before it freeze-frames the entire city. But furious Robin is so intent on foiling Slade’s plot – -that his anger is taking control. As Robin destroys Robot commandos without mercy and shakes down and innocent civilian for information, the Titans begin to worry that stopping Slade might mean losing Robin. And in the end, that’s exactly what it means.

Slade’s “Chronoton Detonator” is a fake – a sophisticated decoy to lure the Titans away from Robin and infuse their bodies with sinister Nanoscopic Probes. Unbeknownst to the Titians, Slade now has the ability to destroy Robin’s friends from the inside out. And the only way for Robin to stop him… is to serve him. Slade wants Robin to become his “apprentice” – and to save his friends, Robin has no choice to agree.

Ron Perlman as Slade
Dee Bradley Baker as Cinderblock

  • Slade finally reveals his sinister plan: Drafting Robin as his apprentice
  • The studio got the title card wrong on the first few airings and mistakenly gave “written by” credit to David Slack rather than Rob Hoegee; It’s since been fixed on the show; David Slack wrote part two.

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on APPRENTICE: “The main thing I’d say about it is that “Rob Hoegee wrote part one”. He didn’t receive proper credit initially.”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on developing Slade: “Originally, we didn’t even know we would do an arc with Slade. We just decided Slade would be behind everything. He’d be our Dr. Claw [from “Inspector Gadget”]. But after looking a few episodes, we decided we were teasing something. And if we didn’t pay it off, we were going to disappoint a lot of people. That’s when we got into the psychology of Slade. We had a really hard time figuring out how MASKS and APPRENTICE were going to work. We went down a lot of blind alleys and dead ends – trying to find something that fit. It was actually Bruce Timm who helped us make the breakthrough on that one. We were actually discussing all the dead ends we had gone down, and Bruce was in Glen [Murakami]’s office that day. And Bruce said “It sounds like what the story is really about, is that Slade is trying to take Robin away from his friends.”

“So we realized Slade was a father looking for a son… we knew we wanted that… we just didn’t know how to crack it. So once Bruce said that, we realized we just needed a device that would literally take him away from his friends. So the show fell into place after that.”

“The voice for Slade was pretty easy to find. I was writing him as this very detached, aloof, reproachful guy. An early description I wrote of Slade described him as “the monster under the bed made flesh.” I just wanted him to be really, really frightening. Of course, getting Ron Perlman to do the voice made a huge difference. When we first heard Ron doing the reads, that really set the voice for Slade. That was true of all the voices. It became easier to write Beast Boy after hearing the way Greg [Cipes] was going to read him. That’s true of all of them. Good voices make all the difference. And we’ve got a great cast.”

Writer/Story Editor Rob Hoegee on APPRENTICE: “That was a fun collaboration. I wrote the first part and David wrote the second. We both used our brains together on that to make it track. Breaking that story was a real challenge. It took a few tries to get that story to work. Something that would be simple but at the same time, true to the characters and situations we had established. It was a lot of fun. It felt good to do a dramatic spin like that.”

Writer/Story Editor Rob Hoegee on Balancing Dark Stories With Light Elements: “I think you always have to find that. I’ve found – as I’ve developed as a writer – that I tend to go dark instinctively. The comedy aspect doesn’t come as naturally. I have to focus more attention on that. Being the first season, we were still trying to strike a balance between the funny and the dramatic. As we grew as a series, we did learn we could go darker and get deeper into the characters. But that just grew organically. Certainly in season one, we were still trying to strike that balance. ”

In the comics, Slade respected Robin more than any other Titan; During the classic JUDAS CONTRACT storyline, Robin was the only Titan to avoid capture at the hands of the HIVE and Slade [Deatshtroke].

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

Episode 13: Apprentice [Part 2]

“Robin, you are my best friend and I cannot live in a world where we must fight. If you are truly evil, then do as you must.”
– Starfire

Originally aired: Oct. 11, 2003
Written by David Slack
Directed by Michael Chang

With no signs of Robin since Slade’s “Chronoton Detonator” turned out to be a fake, the four remaining Teen Titans search the city for their missing leader. But their search is cut short when the Titan signal alerts them to a new villain in town. And when they arrive on the scene at a High-Tech defense lab, they are shocked to discover that this new villain is none other than Robin himself (wearing a sinister new Slade insignia villain costume.)

Unaware that Robin is only serving Slade to save his friends from the Nanoscopic Probes inside them, the bewildered Titans think Robin has gone over to the other side. And it’s Titan versus Titan as our unwilling new villain goes up against our reluctant heroes. Can Robin fight his friends without hurting them? Will he find a way to stop Slade without triggering the probes? Will the Titans find out what’s wrong in time to help? Is this really the end of the Teen Titans?

Ron Perlman as Slade

  • Two Batman references this episode: Robin tells Slade “I already have a father” as bats fly through Slade’s hideout; and Slade forces Robin to steal from Wayne Enterprises
  • Although some viewers thought Slade might actually be Bruce Wayne, this is not true. Slade is Slade. According to the producer, “What’s cool about him is, he’s sort of the bad Batman.”

Producer Sam Register on Slade: “Yeah, I think at the time it was to make him a father-figure to Robin but as the things you don’t like about your dad.”

Producer Sam Register on the mystery of Slade’s identity: “Yeah, it’s a mystery thing. It’s fun. It keeps you guessing. Just like you never saw who Dr. Claw was on Inspector Gadget. Same thing. A lot of things in these decisions, there isn’t some master grand plan why we do things and why we don’t. […] I’ll put it this way: I think Slade Wilson is Slade Wilson. And I don’t know what his reasons are.”

Producer Glen Murakami on the mystery of Slade’s identity: ” I just think it’s cooler. My same theory about no doing secret identities. I just think it’s cooler – to keep the bad guy a secret. I just don’t think that’s ultimately what the stories are about.”

Producer Glen Murakami on the theory that Slade is Bruce Wayne: “[Laughs] That’s funny. I think I can say exactly what stuff is and people would still come up with different theories.”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on APPRENTICE: “APPRENTICE… I still love that episode. The trick we’ve run into since APPRENTICE is that was out first big season finale. So since then, we’ve tried not to tread that same ground. Yeah, but I told you about the problems we initially had breaking that story and some of the dead ends we went down. Finally we came up with something I think has a nice sense of poetry to it. Robin literally can’t talk to his friends. It’s a metaphor for a custody battle to a certain extent.”

Producer/Story Editor David Slack on Batman references in APPRENTICE: “But the thing about Batman is: If we ever bring him in the show, Robin becomes a kid. We put a lot of energy into getting Robin out of Batman’s shadow. A lot of out younger fans think of Robin as a leader, not a sidekick. And that’s a good thing for them.”

“Those Batman references weren’t to say “We’ll never do Batman”. But we felt, if we were going to do an episode where someone was trying to become Robin’s father, we had to make some reference to his adopted father. So we didn’t want to mention him outright, but we did the cool thing with the bats flying out there. It’s a nice thing in there for the fans. Same thing with that ‘easter egg’ where he’s stealing from Wayne Enterprises. We thought it made the story mean that much more… he’s not just betraying his friends, Slade is making him betray his father.”

Many people tried to guess ‘the identity’ of Slade when his mask cracked. In the comics, Slade Wilson is Deathstroke, an assassin for hire. Slade Wilson is his actual given name.

EPISODE SCREEN CAPS [click to enlarge]:

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

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