Titans may have taken a few liberties with the source material (that infamous “F*** Batman!” line comes to mind), but it’s clear already that Season 2 is bringing these characters to a place more in line with the comic book and animated versions fans know and love. Introducing Titans Tower is a big part of that. And as Jurek told us, designing a real-life version of this iconic superhero hangout was a top priority as pre-production began on Season 2. “I started in January . We were about 8 to 10 weeks from camera then, so that was really, for me, the very beginning,” said Jurek.
She revealed that, under the guidance of showrunner Greg Walker, the team actually sampled an older Teen Titans video game to get a sense of the essential elements of Titans Tower and how the different rooms should fit together in a three-dimensional space. “The game was our first reference for what the season was going to be about and what the spaces might be within Titans Tower and what areas would be more prominent. Like the living space was prominent, there would be bedrooms, there would be a tech room, there would be a gym. That was the first overview we had.”
From there, the team put together a detailed blueprint of the Titans Tower layout. You can see their handiwork in IGN’s exclusive blueprints below.
First is the residential level, which includes bedrooms, a lounge, a kitchen, and an infirmary. This blueprint was drawn by Andrew Redekop (1st Assistant Art Director) and stylized by Simona Hornak (2nd Assistant Art Director) and Colin Carruthers (Art Department Coordinator).
Then there’s the operational level, where the team’s tech room, locker room, and training area can be found. This piece was drawn by James Anthony Usas (1st Assistant Art Director) & Robert Emery (1st Assistant Art Director), and again stylized by Hornak and Carruthers.
As you can see, quite a lot of thought and planning went into establishing the layout of the Titans Tower set and creating a cohesive environment. That same goes for actually building and designing these sets.
Jurek told us one of the biggest challenges with the Titans Tower set was creating a cohesive environment that also reflects a number of warring influences. How do you create a building that reflects the cold efficiency of Batman with the personality of Dick Grayson? How do you pay tribute to the source material while also designing a headquarters that fits the darker, more grounded tone of the TV series?
“From the stuff you saw already, the season is all about family, and the challenge was combining kind of the cruel modernist aesthetic of Wayne Enterprises and what you read about Titans Tower being steel and glass, with a warm family vibe for the Titans family. That was a lot of the challenge that we faced,” Jurek said.
One of the decisions made early on involved abandoning the traditional T-shaped building design for one that blends into the San Francisco skyline. Jurek said, “Our Tower was not meant to be the T-shape on an island that’s basically hiding in plain sight in downtown San Francisco with a view of the bay. That’s where we ended up in the beginning, because again, it’s a drama about superheroes, rather than holding close to the comics, although there are some things I think are close enough.”
Jurek said lighting played a big role in achieving a unified sense of design and reflecting the idea that the Titans are gradually becoming a family.
“The building I think was described as ‘glass and steel,’ which there is plenty of,” she said. “We brought in a hearth in the form of a fireplace in the middle, which is like a warm stone, because there were also references to Frank Lloyd Wright that are quite subtle, but that kind of centralized our design once we got that going and having that riser behind it. It developed fairly organically.
Jurek continued, “The interesting thing is that the fire’s always there, and it’s always burning through the season. We also brought in a lot of warmth, because it’s a cool space with areas of warmth, like wood veneers and alabaster in the space, this rusty-looking steel in the fireplace. There’s a Japanese garden on the operation level. The set itself – there’s some lights above – but we’ve actually built in and incorporated all the lights in the set design itself through LEDs. There are hidden baseboards with strips underneath and under-riser steps, along the fireplace and the counters. We even have this back-lit pantry. It’s very much a space about lighting, as well – lighting and shadow. That was a lot of prep time dedicated to that, besides the building of the set itself.”
See a clip from the Season 2 premiere below:
The first season of Titans was essentially a road trip drama, with Dick and his fledgling team constantly on the move and trying to solve the mystery of Rachel’s past. We asked Jurek if she felt that establishing a headquarters for the team will fundamentally alter the nature of Titans in Season 2. She told us the show maintains a similar momentum and urgency even with the team having a true home of their own.
“I don’t think you’ll get bored of seeing them in one spot when you’ve seen them in so many places when it was a road show, because it is always moving. It’s moving within their stories and within each other as well.”
The first episode of Titans: Season 2 is available to stream now on DC Universe. Check out our review of the premiere here, then see how the series could be changing a landmark Batman story.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.SOURCE: IGN.com