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Brenton Thwaites teases ‘horror and the occult and dark magic’ in Season 4 of HBO Max's 'Titans'

The Gotham gang stares down spooky new threats inspired by classic horror movies.

By Benjamin Bullard
Titans Season 4

Titans is going dark for Season 4. Not dark as in silent or absent, mind you — this is more the horrific, sinister, and even gruesome kind of dark. Dick Grayson’s dysfunctional Bat-fam is facing fresh DC villains as the series swings back to HBO Max this November, and this time out, it’ll take more than “hand-to-hand combat,” as star Brenton Thwaites (Nightwing aka Dick Grayson) puts it, to knock the bad guys back into place.

Thwaites and executive producer Greg Walker recently chatted with SYFY WIRE and other media at a Titans roundtable at New York Comic Con, teasing a Season 4 turn toward goosebumps and scares that will test the Gotham gang in ways they haven’t yet seen.

“[T]his season, Greg and the writers boldly decided to take a confident step into the world of horror and the occult and dark magic and supernatural,” explained Thwaites. "And that’s something I don’t know a lot about as an actor, and I feel like Dick Grayson doesn’t know a lot about.”

Walker estimates the entire season packs in eight or nine epic fight sequences totally worthy of their sock ’n’ pow action bubble counterparts in the comics, teasing “beasts and blood and viscera” in larger doses than ever before. But even as heavy blows against new baddies like Brother Blood (Joseph Morgan) draw more and more, well, blood, all bets are off this season that good old-fashioned fisticuffs will be enough to make the Titans’ problems go away.

“[Dick Grayson] has to kind of jump on his feet and figure out, ‘Okay, how do we solve this complete new set of problems?’” Thwaites said. “How do we defeat these villains that may not necessarily be defeated with hand-to-hand combat…?”

Viewers will have to tune in to learn the answer, though half the fun will be bathing in the darker atmosphere; an ambiance Walker said draws inspiration from horror movie classics — all while keeping a firm grasp on Titans’ “grounded” and gritty setting.

“… [O]ur show is grounded in [its] nature, so we couldn’t just go into full fantasy land,” explained Walker. “It was always a challenge to make it feel real. The movies that we’re thinking about are more like John Carpenter’s The Thing, and [The] Exorcist — that’s more, and I hate this term, ‘psychological horror’ — because we [also] have non-psychological horror; we have beasts and blood and viscera…I think that’s the biggest challenge, is having it match our tone and not just…[be] horror for horror’s sake.”

For Thwaites, Titans’ trick in merging the superheroic with the downright supernatural is all about balancing the unknown and the familiar, while staying faithful to Dick Grayson and the other characters’ intrinsic lore. “It’s really about collaborating with Greg Walker, and trying to figure out, okay like — what elements of the character have we not really shown? What obstacles and flaws would be best to bring out his strengths in a season?”

We’ll know soon enough: Titans dials up the fear factor on Thursday, Nov. 3, when the DC-based series heads back to HBO Max for a fourth season.

*Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.

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