Though it's among Cartoon Network's most popular shows, Teen Titans Go! has long been controversial among DC fans — chiefly because it was a reboot of the adored 2000s cartoon Teen Titans, which was cut short on a cliffhanger ahead of Season 6. But now the spinoff Teen Titans Go! To The Movies has inspired unexpected hope for fans who've long pined for the original series' revival.
First, here's a bit of background. Running from 2003 to 2006, Teen Titans followed the adventures of the titular superhero team made up of Batman's sidekick Robin, the alien princess Starfire, the shapeshifting Beast Boy, the half-demon sorceress Raven, and the cyborg, uh, Cyborg. The design of the show was lean and sharp, the tone stern with occasional spikes of comedy, much like that of the wildly popular Batman: The Animated Series. But after five seasons, fans were stunned to hear that Teen Titans would be canceled. Its cliffhanger finale was left to dangle and infuriate us endlessly. Then, in 2013, Cartoon Network rebooted the series with the same heroes, the same voice actors, but a radically new design and attitude. Gone was any semblance of seriousness, and in its place were cute characters, daffy antics, running jokes about farts and waffles, and a slew of winking meta-humor.
Established fans were split on Teen Titans Go!, a show that was intended primarily for a younger demographic than the classic version, and for far younger than those who grew up watching it. Some felt spurned by this wacky reboot, while others embraced this silly new spin on the beloved band of misfits. Surely, there are those who gnash their teeth over the seeming injustice that Teen Titans got canned while Teen Titans Go! got a feature film. But even the most jaded of Teen Titans fans will thrill over the news that's teased in the post-credit scene of Teen Titans Go! To The Movies.
Spoilers for Teen Titans Go! To The Movies.
After Robin and the gang have had their big-screen adventure, the credits roll along until a distortion of audio and visual takes over the screen. Suddenly, the Teen Titans appear, but not the brightly colored bobble-headed heroes of the movie you just watched. We're talking Teen Titans classic.
In the scrambled footage, you can make out Beast Boy, who is close to the camera and asks urgently, "Is it working?" Then there's Cyborg, saying, "Almost got it" as he presumably uses his tech know-how to rig up a transmission. Starfire appears, warning, "Hurry! There is not much time!" Then Raven adds, "They need to know we're still here." Finally, the glitching ends, and they are: restored, ready to fight, but stranded somewhere. Robin calls out to us, "This is the Teen Titans. Can anyone hear us?" Even as my heart pounded so hard I could feel it in my ears, I could make out his final words before this special transmission ended. He said, "We think we’ve found a way back."
Could this mean that Cartoon Network is planning on resurrecting Teen Titans classic? As I write this, neither Cartoon Network, DC Entertainment, nor Warner Bros (the studio behind the movie) has commented about this mysterious post-credit scene. However, a tweet from Tara Strong, who voices Raven, suggests Teen Titans return is a go.
When we might finally see Season 6 remains a mystery. However, it's wonderfully ironic that this would be how they come back.
Many fans felt Teen Titans was killed because CN wanted a more kid-friendly show, and blamed Teen Titans Go! for the series' demise. But the inventive and sensationally silly storylines of showrunners Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic paired with the continued efforts of voice actors Tara Strong, Greg Cipes, Scott Menville, Khary Payton, and Hynden Walch have preserved and grown the popularity of these lesser-known superheroes. And now the popularity of this polarizing cartoon has seemingly led not only to a gritty live-action series (Titans), but also to the return of the original cartoon series, and the possibility of introducing those Teen Titans to a whole new audience.
It's all very thrilling. To celebrate, I'm making waffles.