Things change fast in TV Land. The Asian Tim Drake we thought we were getting in Titans’ third season just a few days ago might not be the case any longer.
Originally, the word was they wanted a South-East Asian actor 18 and up to play a Drake 17 or under. A new casting notice found by The Illuminerdi and relayed by The Vulcan Reporter indicates Warner Bros. is now looking for an African-American.
The alleged inspiration is Black Lives Matter and their presence in the headlines in 2020. Writes Emre Kaya for Vulcan: “I’ve heard that a specific inspiration for this decision has been the Black Lives Matter movement, which has found new momentum since Titans has been in hiatus.”
Kaya reports Drake is billed as a kid from “the wrong side of the tracks but never lost his belief in heroism.” Drake is also laid-back and a young genius with detective skills beyond his years. He wants to use his talents for good and won’t let his past and upbringing define him.
An actor of color is the priority, but Kaya adds they are keeping their options open and are willing to cast whomever regardless of background. Producers want to keep Titans as flexible as its casting has been in the past.
Drake’s parents are also going to appear and they too will most likely be race-swapped. A mixed couple, Tim’s father will be black, and his mother Asian.
He may also know Mandarin Chinese, which comes in handy and is almost mandatory when you’re Robin, but it sounds like a cultural move in Kaya’s report. It may switch to an African language if the production finds a black actor.
The show already race-bent a few characters. Starfire is played by Anna Diop but her character is an extraterrestrial so it’s frankly a wash. Slade Wilson and his children became Hispanic, owing to Esai Morales landing the role.
Titans Season 3 streams exclusively on HBO Max when it premieres in 2021. A fourth season is to follow.