Teen Titans is one of the greatest (if not the greatest) superhero cartoon of all time. Even over a decade after its cancellation, fans still adore Robin, Raven, Starfire, Beast Boy, and Cyborg. Though the comic has been around much longer, many fans of the characters still find the cartoon versions to be the recognizable versions of the famous heroes.
Teen Titans never shied away from showing difficult choices or emotions. In particular, Raven’s arc on the show was exceptionally dark. The fourth season was the most memorable, but it was also a risky move for the show. Though it was meant for children, older teens and adults could also enjoy and relate to the characters and their individual struggles. It communicated emotion and maturation far better than many of the shows on at the time.
Among the show’s course, more than one unsettling event both on show and behind the scenes. Between differences between the comic and show arcs and the dark events of the show, Teen Titans is not for the light-hearted viewer. This is a large part of the reason why nearly every fan dislikes Teen Titans GO!, the terrible reboot and rework of the classic show.
Regardless of the fan feeling on the new show, the original show is, like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way. However, the characters are teenagers, which means that they are grappling with complex emotions and situations for the first time. This can lead to a happy resolution or an unsettling moment in a beloved show.
30 Who Is Slade?
One of the greatest mysteries of the original Teen Titans animated series was the identity of Slade. Fans of the comic know that the character, inspired by Deathstroke, is actually Slade Wilson, and the first name of the character was used in place of the moniker. However, the show’s creators have said time and time again that the show is an entirely different continuity than the comics.
There is a popular fan theory that states Slade is Bruce Wayne, Batman’s alter ego.
These fans suspect that the name Slade and the similarities to Slade Wilson are a red herring. Fans think that Bruce is testing Robin, so he creates the ultimate enemy to beat him at every turn. If this is true, then Batman’s plan is working. Slade is Robin’s main obsession on the show.
29 The Reason For The Titans’ Cancellation
Even over a decade later, fans are still mourning the loss of Teen Titans. The show was popular and one of the best comic book cartoons of all time, so it’s unclear what led to its cancellation. However, a few different answers are floating around. Wil Wheaton, who plays Aqualad on the show, claims that the network demanded that all current shows be repitched. The pitch failed to capture the interest of the network, and the show was canceled as a result.
However, others disagree with Wheaton’s version of events. They claim that there were never any plans for a sixth season in the first place. Even more reasons state that Mattel disliked that Bandai had the show’s toy deal or that ratings dropped after the fourth season proved too scary for some viewers.
28 The Titans Have Extremely Grim Futures
The episode “How Long Is Forever” showed the Titans’ future without Starfire. The future looked grim for the superpowered teens. Robin became Nightwing, but his contact with his friends faded. Raven became White Raven, but the isolation drove her insane. Cyborg and Beast Boy are separated more literally: Beast Boy in a cage and Cyborg confined to the tower as a result of his failing mechanical parts.
However, even without Starfire, the Titans were still able to fulfill their destinies. Raven and Robin both achieved their final form: as White Raven and Nightwing, respectively. Beast Boy and Cyborg had fallen on hard times, but it’s unclear how Starfire would have prevented this. Together or apart, it seems like the Titans will reach an eventual destiny, however grim it may be.
27 The Changes From The Comic Were Drastic
It’s no secret that the television show was changed from the comics, but some of the original character design was changed in a dramatic way. Now, these characters are practically unrecognizable from their comic counterparts.
The changes to Terra, Gizmo, and Jinx are particularly shocking.
While, on the show, Terra struggled with a moral dilemma, in the comics, she was just plain evil. She betrayed the Titans for the joy of it. Gizmo was changed drastically as well. While most fans of the show recognize him as a small child, in the comics, he’s actually a middle-aged man. However, Jinx’s transformation is even more dramatic. While in the show, she is a gothic teenager with pink hair, in the comics, she is a bald Indian sorceress with elemental powers instead of luck powers.
26 Control Freak Created Teen Titans Go!
Many fans refuse to recognize Teen Titans Go!. Even though the show’s characters are voiced by their original actors, the dramatic changes in animation style and genre turn off many fans of the original series. Because of this, they might not know how closely the two series are connected.
In Teen Titans Go!, Control Freak makes a bold claim: he created Teen Titans Go! and he is aware that it’s just a television show. In an episode aptly named “The Fourth Wall,” Control Freak explains that he is responsible for the changes to the show (even the animation). Fans have been frustrated with the changes for some time, and it looks like now there’s someone to blame. However, even the in-joke probably isn’t enough to bring fans of the old show over to Teen Titans Go!.
25 The Creepy Sentient Dog
In “Every Dog Has His Day,” after a fight with the other Titans, Beast Boy wanders through Jump City. He turns into a dog to try to impress some women, but he is mistaken for an alien’s green dog. The dog has even fooled the other Titans, who think they are interacting with Beast Boy playing a prank. During the course of the episode, the dog shows a particular interest in Raven, jumping on her chest and always trying to lick her.
This is actually a pretty odd series of events. The green dog is highly intelligent and sentient. The moral of the episode ends up being that the dog is to intelligent to be a simple pet, yet he still chases Raven around. This is disturbing and strange. And that isn’t even hitting on the fact that the “happy ending” is a pet/master role reversal.
24 Raven Was Resurrected In The Comics
Some fans may not know that, when Teen Titans aired, Raven was no longer in the comics. The reason for this was that she had passed in a storyline about her battle with her demonic heritage. However, as the show ran, Raven was resurrected by Brother Blood and returned to her team. This was partially due to the character’s popularity in the show.
Because Raven was made popular in the show, the comic version of her character evolved to take on some of her personality traits. Raven became more reserved and reluctant to show emotion. To the delight of Raven/Beast Boy shippers everywhere, she also began to develop feelings for the green changeling.
23 Más Y Menos Said Inappropriate Things In Spanish
Though the censors for children’s shows may be strict, they clearly don’t catch everything; especially when the jokes aren’t in English. Más y Menos are Teen Titans’ speedy Guatemalan duo. Though they can understand English, both Más and Menos speak Spanish instead of English. This leads to some confusion for the other characters, but, generally, the audience and other characters get the gist of what the brothers are saying.
However, some Spanish-speaking fans have pointed out that Más y Menos’s lines are not always G-rated. It seems that the speedsters have slipped some inappropriate comments past the Cartoon Network censors. The show was allowed to use bad language, as long as it wasn’t in English, apparently. In any case, the inappropriate language added to the show’s more mature themes.
22 Slade’s Actions In “Birthmark” Were Pretty Disturbing
Teen Titans fans, especially fans of Raven, will likely remember “Birthmark,” the episode in which Raven anxiously avoids celebrating her birthday. The episode is one of Teen Titans’ most dramatic. In an attempt to avoid her destiny to bring her father to Earth, Raven tries to simply wait out her birthday. However, that attempt is foiled by Slade.
When Slade finally gets Raven alone in the episode, what follows next is undeniably creepy.
While on the rooftop of a building, Slade points out the glowing symbols on Raven’s body. Then, he tears off pieces of her costume. It’s clear from other entries on this list that Slade has a darker and more mature history with some of the characters in the comics compared to the show, but this pushed the boundaries for the cartoon. No viewer can deny that this moment was, at the very least, very, very weird.
21 The Legacy Of The Show Was Ruined By Teen Titans Go!
Teen Titans never shied away from dealing with complex emotions. Because the characters were teenagers, the show had plotlines focused around healthy ways to express emotion, heartbreak, and betrayal. Many of the episodes were pretty heavy, and that’s what attracted many fans to the show. The characters on the show felt relatable because they had to work through the same feelings and situations many teens face. The main difference being that they had super powers.
However, Teen Titans Go! has not had the same reaction from fans. While the show is still popular, some fans criticize the way in which the characters handle emotions and trying situations. Critics say that the beloved characters are reduced to superficial stereotypes and the morals usually teach kids to do the wrong thing.
20 Starfire Is The Only Titan Whose Story Isn’t Told Over A Season
Although watching the series out of order doesn’t convey this, each season was actually dedicated to an individual titan. Season one to devote to telling the story of Robin’s obsession with Slade. Season two focuses on Beast Boy and his relationship with Terra. Season three is about Cyborg and his rivalry with Brother Blood. Season four is about Raven and her battle with her father, Trigon.
As most fans know, there are five seasons of Teen Titans, so it seems like the last one should focus on Starfire. However, the season actually focuses on the Titans as a whole. Starfire’s story was focused on in a few episodes throughout the series, but, unlike the other titans, she never got a season to herself. Rumors state, however, that season six would have focused on her and introduced her younger brother.
19 The Toy Deal
Toys have been highly politicized for a long time. Many think pieces and academic papers have been written on the differences between Barbie and G.I. Joe and what they mean for kids. The distinction of action figure versus doll has been discussed, but it usually comes down to dolls being feminine and action figures being masculine.
Raven and Starfire upset the status quo when the show became popular.
Toy companies were apparently baffled when two female characters appeared in a prominent superhero lineup (and as the two most powerful characters). As a result, many toy companies allegedly passed on the opportunity to produce the toys for the Cartoon Network show. However, Bandai agreed to produce the toys. This move may have added to pressure from Mattel to cancel the show.
18 Terra And Slade Were Pretty Close In The Comics
There’s some significant differences between the Teen Titans show and comics. The characters are a bit younger and have different personalities. One of the most shocking changes is the relationship between Slade and Terra.
In the comics, Terra was more than Slade’s apprentice.
Although Terra still had a relationship with Beast Boy, she was also involved with Deathstroke. This was part of her arc in the comics, but, for obvious reasons, it didn’t make it into the cartoon. Slade and Terra’s relationship was complicated and full of emotion, but anything further would have been a bit too adult for the children’s show. Even though the ending with Terra was devastating for Beast Boy, it likely would have been even harder if she took the same path as the Terra in the comics.
17 Robin Is Haunted
The debate over which Robin is the one in Teen Titans has been discussed among the fan community regularly. While he has traits from all of the comic book Robins, he has a fair number of similarities to Dick Grayson, the first Robin. This includes the loss of his parents, which Teen Titans fans may not know is included in the show.
The episode “Haunted” is terrifying for a number of reasons.
In one scene, in particular, Raven sees through Robin’s eyes. On her journey through his mind, she sees several things from his past: some evidence he’s collected from Slade, the Bat Cave, and the inside of a circus tent. However, what some viewers may miss is the shadows of two figures falling from the trapeze. Fans of the comics know that this is major hint about this Robin’s true identity.
16 Raven’s True Form Is Only Hinted At
Raven’s demonic heritage is a prominent aspect of her story. Throughout many of the episodes (and the entirety of season 4), she works constantly to control her emotions and is careful to not let her demonic side out. However, whenever this does occur, she quickly reels it in. On the few occasions that she unleashes her demonic side, it is sure to terrify whatever character experiences it.
The viewers know that Raven has another set of eyes, but what Dr. Light sees is clearly even scarier than that. Whatever Raven hides behind her more human form is enough to traumatize the villain. From what the audience can see, her form includes some sort of tentacles and other inhuman features. Even though Raven’s usual form includes purple hair and grey skin, it seems that her true form is much more unusual, to say the least.
15 A Clockwork Villain
Because the cartoon was targeted to children, many fans probably didn’t catch the similarities between Mad Mod and the main character in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. The film, which is based on a book with the same title, follows Alex through dystopian Britain. The film has many adult scenes, including graphic attacks. The inspiration source is surprising, to say the least.
The showrunners were so inspired by the film that Malcolm McDowell voices Mad Mod.
McDowell plays Alex in A Clockwork Orange. It’s one of the actor’s best-known roles. The character in the comics is a villain with a fashion theme, but the show’s villain is more focused on British culture, including its classic films. Mad Mod’s first episode even includes a unique chair from a famous scene in the film.
14 Terra Was Supposed To Be On The Team For A Longer Time
Terra’s betrayal is one of the most shocking moments in the show. Though Raven (and probably some fans) suspected that she was not entirely on their side, it was still a surprising moment. Comic fans knew the betrayal was coming, but, since many of the fans experienced the famous story arc through the show, the surprise was simply a few episodes away.
Originally, the showrunners planned for Terra to stick around much longer. They wanted her to become as integrated with the team as possible so the subsequent betrayal would be more hurtful and outrageous. However, for time reasons, they had to begin Slade’s arc sooner than expected. As a result, Terra wasn’t on the team for as long as originally intended, so some fans saw the twist coming.
13 The Titans’ Secret Identities
One common debate among comic book fans is if Kal-El’s secret identity is Superman or Clark Kent. Secret identities have, for a long time, been a staple of superhero stories. It’s easier for heroes to risk everything and take on the baddest of the bad if they know that their loved ones are protected from their vigilante lifestyles.
However, the characters in Teen Titans don’t have secret identities.
Fans of the comics know that their birth names or alter ego names are sometimes used, but, in the show, they maintain their superhero identities, including names, 24/7. To be fair, living in a giant “T” on an island near a major city isn’t exactly subtle. Besides Robin, it’s not exactly easy for any of the Titans to not be immediately recognized, even without their superhero costumes.
12 Both Of Raven’s Parents Appear On The Show
Because the show focuses so heavily on each character’s backstory, it isn’t totally surprising that both of Raven’s parents have made at least one appearance. However, she is the only Titan to have that privilege. None of the others have had both parents on the show, though Robin’s parents’ shadows are seen at one point (though his adoptive father, Bruce Wayne, does not appear on the show).
The reasoning for this is partially due to tragedy. Beast Boy, Starfire, and Robin have lost both of their parents before the show takes place. Cyborg had lost his mother, and his father does not appear on the show. Arella and Trigon, Raven’s parents, both play a role in season four’s plot. Arella appears briefly when Raven returns to Azarath, and Trigon is the season’s primary villain.
11 Teen Titans Takes Inspiration From A Popular Anime
Like A Clockwork Orange, the showrunners took inspiration from more than one creative source with a much higher maturity rating than the Cartoon Network show. The show’s animation style is inspired by FLCL, an anime based on a manga of the same name. Teen Titans mimics the anime’s iconic animation style.
Beast Boy also takes a trait from the show: his love of mopeds.
Haruko Haruhara, one of the show’s main characters, is usually depicted riding a Vespa. This is featured during many major scenes in the anime. Beast Boy’s obsession with mopeds is less prominent, but it does still become a large part of some episodes. Both shows also feature similar themes, including coming-of-age storylines. However, FLCL deals often deals with very different aspects of growing up. Teen Titans is also a little less surreal, despite the show’s magical characters.
10 The Plots Were Designed To Be As Simple As Possible
Despite its complex lessons about growing up, Teen Titans had very simple plotlines. Some of the show’s best episodes can be summed up as “Raven gets scared of a movie” or “The Titans travel through the television.” Only a few episodes are harder to nail down into an easy summary, like “Employee of the Month” (“Beast Boy wants a moped, so he gets a job, but evil tofu is trying to take over the world. Also, cows.”).
The showrunners had a motto for the writers: “if you have to think, it stinks.”
In order to keep the attention of and avoid overwhelming the young audience, the show’s goal was to maintain relatively simple plots. If the audience had to think too much about the plot, then they would not be able to concentrate on other aspects of the show. The show’s simplicity definitely added to its success.
9 Killer Moth’s House Was Modeled After The Brady Bunch
Clearly, the showrunners and animators for Teen Titans were fans of other shows and movies across multiple genres. They frequently reference works that are classic pieces of cinema and television. It’s interesting to note that even the interior of some buildings are inspired by classic TV shows.
In particular, Killer Moth’s house is an exact replica of the house on The Brady Bunch. This iconic show defined the genre of family sitcoms and spanned nearly 40 years through spin-offs and movies. It’s no wonder that the people working on the show were familiar with the Brady house. Because the house is inseparable from the theme of family, it adds to Killer Moth’s storyline with Kitten. Despite his job as a supervillain, ultimately, Moth is just a family man trying to do his best by his daughter.
8 Trigon Was Almost Too Scary For Television
Trigon was the biggest and baddest villain the Titans faced. Raven’s father was basically a manifestation of evil bent on destroying the world. And, he had every capability to do so. In attempting to create a portal back to the world through Raven, he also created the only being more powerful than he. Trigon was meant to scare the viewers, but some worried that he was too scary.
Because of his similarities to the ruler of the underworld, Trigon was almost redesigned.
The censors at Cartoon Network felt that Trigon would frighten the show’s young viewers. However, the showrunners felt that Trigon’s scariness was an essential part of the character. Despite the initial conflict over character design, Trigon maintains his appearance in Teen Titans Go!, though the style is more cartoony.
7 Robin’s True Identity Is Never Revealed
Fans of DC Comics know that Robin is a moniker taken up by several different people. Most fan’s assume that the Robin in the show is Dick Grayson: the first Robin. There is some evidence to support this, including Larry’s real names (Nosyarg Kcid—Dick Grayson spelled backwards) and allusion’s to the loss of Dick Grayson’s parents.
Still, Robin’s true identity is never revealed, though many fans have theories.
Because Teen Titans exists in a different continuity and Robin has the traits of many of the comic Robins, it’s not totally clear which Robin he is. His eventual transition into Nightwing adds to the Dick Grayson theory, but taking on Red X is similar to Jason Todd’s Red Hood character. There’s some evidence to suggest that he’s other Robins, but the likely answer is that he is Jason Todd or Dick Grayson (but probably Dick Grayson).
6 The Theme Song Gives Fans A Clue About The Episodes’ Themes
The Teen Titans theme song was everything a good theme song needed: it was catchy, upbeat, and memorable. The tune was composed and sung by JPop group Puffy AmiYumi. The song was recorded in both Japanese and English. Both versions are used on the show, though no parts of the animated intro are changed.
Some fans have noticed a correlation between the episode’s content and which theme is used.
In nearly every case, the Japanese version of the song will be used for lighthearted, comedic episodes while the English version of the song is used before dark, serious episodes. However, there are two exceptions to this rule. “Nevermore” (a serious episode) uses the Japanese theme while “Every Dog Has His Day” (a goofy episode) uses the English theme.
5 The Television Show Was Turned Into A Comic
It seems like a weird decision to turn a television show based on a comic into a comic, but that’s exactly what happened when Teen Titans Go! (not to be mistaken with the show with the same name) premiered in January 2004. The storylines were separate from the stories on the show, but the comic made sure to not contradict the events of the show.
Because the licensing was different, the comic was able to feature characters like Wonder Girl.
Characters like Wonder Girl were finally able to interact with the Titans. The comics also expanded upon the stories of background characters from the show. The goth boy that Raven stands next to in “Sisters” gets some minor character development. The comic even continue the storyline after the show: featuring Starfire and Robin as a couple after the events of Trouble in Tokyo.
4 Almost All Of The Characters Were Absent From Trouble In Tokyo
Almost immediately after being canceled, the made-for-TV movie Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo aired on Cartoon Network. The movie didn’t get great reviews, and, other than resolving the will-they-won’t-they plotline with Robin and Starfire, the film didn’t wrap up the show any better than the final episode. Still, because it followed so closely behind the show’s cancelation, the fans eagerly watched.
Besides the original Titans, Aqualad is the only recognizable character.
This seems like an odd choice for a film following a cancelation. The movie was like an extended monster-of-the-week episode with the added inclusion of Starfire and Robin’s storyline. All of the villains and supporting characters had spent five seasons getting to know were suspiciously absent from the film. Rather than being the show’s deserved fond farewell, Trouble in Tokyo was a half-hearted wave goodbye.
3 Azarath Metrion Zinthos
Every Teen Titans fan knows Raven’s famous mantra: Azarath Metrion Zinthos. These are the words she uses when activating her powers. She also uses this phrase during her daily meditation. It’s come to be directly associated with the character as the words have no meaning outside of the show. However, what some fans may not know is that two of the three words have no meaning at all.
Azarath is Raven’s home dimension. The denizens of Azarath took her and her mother in and trained her, even knowing Raven’s destiny. When she uses her powers, she calls on her home for strength. Metrion and Zinthos, however, have no particular meaning. The showrunners admit that they are nonsense words created to round out Raven’s mantra.
2 Starfire Is Much Older Than The Other Titans
Though their ages are never explicitly stated on the show (though Raven does have a birthday), the teen part of Teen Titans has always defined the show. While Cyborg appears to be older than the other Titans and Beast Boy a bit younger, all of the characters are over 13, but under the age of adulthood at 18. This is true, with the exception of one character.
It may shock some fans to know that Starfire is over 100 years old. Because she is an alien, she ages differently than the other Titans. While the other Titans might not even live to that age, she has already passed it. However, despite the huge age gap, Starfire is still a teenager: in Tamaranean terms, at least.
1 Starfire Is Descended From Cats
The Titans all have an odd lineage. While Robin is an unchanged human other than his superior fighting skills, the other Titans have much odder backgrounds. Beast Boy’s DNA was changed by a monkey bite, granting him his powers. Raven has demonic lineage, as is explored in her story during season 4. Cyborg, while he once was human, now is part robotic. Hence, his name.
Starfire, in a lot of ways, is the most odd Titan. Being an alien, she did not evolve from primates. Instead, the Tamaraneans evolved from cats. Or, more specifically, alien cat-like creatures. This explains Starfire’s slightly odd appearance, but it’s an inconsistency of the show and comics that these aliens would be so anatomically similar to humans.