The Titans are back and they’re not messing around! The first three episodes of Titans’ third season just dropped on HBO Max and for Batman fans—or more specifically, fans of his second Robin, Jason Todd—they’re a tour de force. Red Hood is playing for keeps and it’s already clear that not every Titan will make it out of the season alive. Of course, alongside all of the action (seriously, how amazing was that first episode Nightwing fight?), the Titans team found room for plenty of Easter eggs nodding to the DC Universe as a whole. I imagine you caught some, but did you catch all of them?
If not, I’m here to help. From the introduction of key new characters to moments lifted directly from the comics to a clever nod at New Teen Titans artist George Perez, here are the Easter eggs you might have noticed while watching the Titans season 3 premiere.
- The Easter eggs start right out of the gate as Jason listens to the Gotham City Police Department radio where a report mentions that an officer named Alvarez is struggling against the Joker. Detective Carlos Alvarez first appeared in 2011’s Catwoman #4 and regularly tangled with Selina during her New 52 series. He was also a regular character in Fox’s Gotham, played by J.W. Cortes.
- Bruce orders Jason not to confront the Joker without him, mirroring their infamous conversation from Batman #427. The conversation beats are the same, and unfortunately for Jason this results in…
- The Joker’s crowbar attack on Jason Todd is brutally adapted in live action for the first time. This iconic moment from “Batman: A Death in the Family” altered Jason’s fate forever and still stands out as one of the Joker’s most heinous crimes. At least Curran Walters wasn’t tied up next to a bomb afterwards like his comic book counterpart. That’s lucky, right?
- This is all just in the first few minutes, guys! After the title sequence, the action switches to Dayton Labs. This research facility was first seen in 1985’s The New Teen Titans #15. It has an interesting Titans connection since it’s run by Steve Dayton, Gar Logan’s adopted father from the comics. Steve Dayton first appeared in 1964’s Doom Patrol #91, and television viewers might remember him from the Doom Patrol season one episode “Doom Patrol Patrol.” (No, that’s not a typo. If you watch Doom Patrol, you get it.)
- The Titans take on Gizmo, an inventor turned super-villain who first appeared in 1981’s The New Teen Titans #3. Gizmo is a member of the Fearsome Five, a super-villain group that has given the Titans a run for their money over the years.
- Starfire makes a grand entrance in her new costume, which seems to be modeled after the one she wore during Devin Grayson’s Titans run.
- After the battle ends, we learn that Gizmo was trying to steal a virus known as the Clench. This deadly virus plagued Gotham City during a storyline known as “Contagion.” Judging by what Superboy tells the police, it seems that the events of “Contagion” happened in the Titansverse as well.
- Speaking of Superboy, Conner Kent can be seen rocking a cool leather jacket. This is an homage to Superboy’s classic nineties look which was first seen in Adventures of Superman #500. I imagine Joshua Orpin was probably thankful, since this show is filmed in Toronto and it gets pretty cold up there.
- The Titans interview is broadcasted by WGCN, a news organization seen in many Batman comics, including Batman #436, an issue that heavily influenced this episode.
- This episode introduces us to Tim Drake, bringing the character to live action for the first time! Readers first met Tim Drake in Batman #436, and he eventually became the third Robin in Batman #457. Jay Lycurgo’s first scene as Tim establishes that he’s a Batman fanboy, which was established in the comics as well during Tim’s childhood flashback in Batman #441. (Speaking of Tim Drake, his comic book counterpart has been going through some big changes lately!)
- A newspaper called the Gotham Times can be seen during Tim Drake’s introduction. While it isn’t as notable as the Gotham Gazette, the Gotham Times has been showing up in Batman related media ever since the 1966 Batman television series.
- We’re also introduced to Tim’s parents, Jack and Janet Drake. I know what you’re thinking, “If Tim is supposed to be Robin, then his parents are doomed.” Unfortunately, you’re correct. Jack and Janet Drake first appeared in Batman #436, and Janet died after being poisoned by the Obeah Man in Detective Comics #621. Jack Drake stuck around a while longer, but met his end after Captain Boomerang murdered him in Identity Crisis #5. Of course, we don’t know if this version of Tim will ever suit up, so maybe his parents have a shot at survival.
- The scene where Dick returns to Wayne Manor and solemnly walks through the empty halls is taken from Batman #436. (In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve mentioned Batman #436 several times now. You might just want to check that pivotal issue out, especially if you’re a DC UNIVERSE INFINITE subscriber!)
- Dick enters the Batcave through a grandfather clock, a notable secret entrance dating back to the 1943 Batman movie serial, which was eventually adopted by the comics in Detective Comics #205.
- The Batcave has a mother lode of Easter eggs! Penguin’s umbrella, Mad Hatter’s hat, Joker’s card, the giant penny, the iconic Dinosaur and much more! A memorial with Jason’s Robin costume is also there, but it was curiously also in the first scene before he died. Maybe Batman just really likes looking at that costume? To learn more about some of these items, check out this article explaining some of their secret origins.
- The scene where Dick confronts Bruce about Jason’s death is taken from The New Titans #55. They even included Dick’s remorse at missing Jason’s funeral.
- After his tense conversation with Bruce, Dick catches up with an old friend named Barbara Gordon. Introduced in Detective Comics #359, Commissioner Jim Gordon’s daughter Barbara fought crime as Batgirl for many years, until a bullet from Joker (in Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s infamous Batman: The Killing Joke) shattered her spine. The idea of Barbara Gordon stepping into her father’s shoes as Commissioner was first explored in the Batman Beyond animated series.
- While going through the Bat-computer, Dick finds out that Bruce was tracking various candidates to be his new Robin. The potential recruits were Carrie Kelley (who served as Robin in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns), Daxton Chill (a member of We Are Robin who first appeared in Detective Comics: Endgame #1), Stephanie Brown (who first appeared as Spoiler in Detective Comics #647 and briefly served as Robin in Robin #126-128), and Duke Thomas (who first appeared in 2013’s Batman #21). I know they were only photographs, but I’m still amazed that we got to see live-action versions of these characters!
- The second episode opens with a meeting of Gotham’s crime bosses. One of them is named Perez, as a tribute to George Perez, co-creator of the New Teen Titans.
- The scene where Red Hood introduces himself to the criminals, demands forty percent of their cut, and drops a duffel bag full of heads, is a direct recreation of an iconic sequence from Batman #635 that was also memorably recreated in 2010’s animated Batman: Under the Red Hood.
- We learn that Hank and Dawn have returned to Washington D.C. which was their base of operations during the 1989 Hawk and Dove series.
- Throughout the episode, Dick is referred to as a “prodigal son” in regards to his arrangement to substitute as Gotham’s protector in Bruce’s absence. This is a reference to the storyline “Prodigal” where Dick Grayson temporarily becomes Batman when Bruce needs to leave town.
- Episode 3 opens with Dick Grayson checking Jason’s grave, only to discover that it’s empty. This is an homage to a scene in Batman #645 where Bruce makes the same discovery.
- During the same scene, we get a glimpse of Alfred’s grave and learn that he died in 2020. I know 2020 sucked for everyone, but now we know that it REALLY sucked for the Bat-Family.
- While the Titans try to solve the mystery of Jason’s resurrection, Dawn suggests that Ra’s al Ghul might be involved. Ra’s is a criminal mastermind obsessed with cleansing the Earth who first appeared in Batman #232. According to Dick, Ra’s is in Khadym, a middle eastern country the villain set up as his new base in 2017’s Batman #33. Dawn’s theory isn’t so crazy, since Batman Annual #25 revealed that Ra’s al Ghul and his healing Lazarus Pit played a role in Jason’s resurrection. Whether the same thing happened here remains to be seen.
- Did anybody else notice how Krypto stayed with Hank during his final moments and didn’t leave his side until after he had died? Then afterwards Krypto comforted Conner like the good dog he is. This isn’t an Easter egg, it’s just a sweet moment that warmed my heart.
Remember, this is just the first three episodes of the season and we’ve already got all of that! I can’t imagine what else they have in store. So, did I miss anything? If you caught something that I didn’t, reach out to me on Twitter, or drop your findings in the DC Community!
Be sure to catch new episodes of Titans every Thursday on HBO Max and keep up with all the latest out of Titans Tower by visiting our official Titans series page.
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Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com. When he’s not hunting for Easter eggs in Titans, he’s…well, hunting for them in DC’s Stargirl and The Suicide Squad. Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.