When teeny Teen Titan Robin learns that the story of Batman’s greatest ally and best friend in the whole world is coming to the big screen, and that Hollywood is making movies about every superhero but him, he declares: “It’s time they make one about me!”
But then he’s hit with the cold, hard truth: Hollywood only makes movies about real superheroes.
“Why don’t they take us seriously?” the boy wonders. Maybe because a superhero has to save more than room for dessert?
Adapted for the big screen from Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans GO! to be a lot bigger, a lot longer, but as cheekily irrepressible as ever, Teen Titans GO! to the Movies is a superhero movie for the whole family.
It is also the brainchild of the same team that generated the wildly popular half-hour series. Director/producer Peter Rida Michail says that while the Teens – Robin, Cyborg, Starfire, Raven and Beast Boy – see themselves as superheroes, “our version of the Teen Titans are more or less outcasts from the hero world”.
“They’re a bunch of really silly friends having a blast just hanging out more than actually fighting crime
Director/writer/producer Aaron Horvath believes the Teens have a pretty good gig.
“I would say it’s better to be a sidekick than a hero,” he says. “There’s probably a little more humiliation involved, but a lot less pressure – you don’t get the spotlight, but nobody’s looking at you when the timer on the doomsday clock is counting down. That’s for Batman to worry about!”
The Teens’ sub-superhero status, combined with their inherent impertinence, inspired the filmmakers to have the Titans skewer their own genre in their own genre film.
“In the movie, we subvert the superhero world in a lot of ways, poking fun at all the things fans expect out of those movies and all the things we’ve seen before, writer and producer Michael Jelenic says. “
“So, it’s a superhero movie that’s not your typical superhero movie; it turns everything on its head, but it’s all in good fun and we stay true to ourselves, which we know is important to fans of the show.”
“I think Aaron, Michael and Pete will all agree that we got to do so much more than we ever have in the series,” producer Peggy Regan says. “TV is such an aggressive schedule, so there is little time to dwell on creative choices. With the movie, we got to spend time developing the story and characters and when audiences see it in the theatre, they’ll see how different the experience is.”
The idea to supersize this team of teen heroes who kick butt (eventually) from the small to big screen came from the movie’s executive producer, Sam Register, a self-professed fan of the early comic book line-ups.
“The Teen Titans comic came out in the 1960s and it was really just the sidekicks of the day: Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Aqualad and, of course, Robin.
“But in the ’80s, there was a new version done by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, and that’s when I fell in love with the Teen Titans. That’s when it became Robin, Beast Boy, Cyborg, Raven and Starfire as the core team.
“They were like the comics’ version of the Breakfast Club kids.”
Register took his love from the page to the TV Teen Titans go big screen in 2002 with, as he describes it, “a more straightforward Teen Titans action series with a lot of comedy in it.” That original incarnation, which aired from 2003 to 2006, was also a huge hit on Cartoon Network and when Register arrived at Warner Brothers, they decided to evolve it into an allout comedy.
The film’s core heroes are voiced by Greg Cipes as goofball shapeshifter Beast Boy, Scott Menville as straight man Robin, Khary Payton as optimistic boy-bot Cyborg, Tara Strong as demon daughter Raven, and Hynden Walch as alien princess Star- fire.