NYCC Interview: Joshua Orpin on ‘Titans’ Season 4

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Welcome back to the third part of our DC’s Titans coverage from New York Comic Con. NYCC was jam-packed with many exciting panels, first looks at new and returning projects, and the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the talent.  I, on behalf of  had the pleasure of taking part in a series of round table interviews with the stars and showrunner of the HBO Max show. 

In the first round table interview, I sat down with Brenton Thwaites (Dick Grayson a.k.a. Nightwing) who gave us an idea of what to expect from season four of the series. Thwaites hinted at a new supernatural threat coming to Titans, which is a bit of a change for our young heroes.

 

With first looks at our villains, Jinx (Lisa Ambalavar), Mother Mayhem (Franka Potente), and Brother Blood (Joseph Morgan), last week as well, it definitely seems like the Titans are in for quite the ride come season four. Thwaites also gave us an idea of his character and the relationships he develops with certain characters in this new season.

During the second interview, I had the pleasure of talking to Ryan Potter, the actor behind the big, green, shape-shifting machine, Gar a.k.a. Beast Boy. Potter shared with us the collaborative approach he and Geoff Johns took in developing a personal arc for his character. There’s also some excitement from the actor about finally getting a closer comic-accurate suit this season, which is long overdue. 

Sitting down with Joshua Orpin at NYCC 2022

Next is my roundtable interview with actor Joshua Orpin (Superboy/Conner), who talks a little about his character’s journey this season, the introduction of Lex Luthor (played by Titus Welliver), and what super suit from the comics he’d like to see.

Orpin joined Titans back in season 2 as everyone’s favorite science experiment Conner. Conner’s journey to the Titans team begins when he escapes Cadmus Laboratories with Krypto the Super Dog. Conner is a clone of both Superman and Lex Luthor – a combination that causes some internal conflict within the super-powered individual.

Titus Welliver Lex Luthor Titans
Titus Welliver as Lex Luthor in Titans season 4. (HBO Max)

Orpin shared some of what he’s excited about in the coming season, such as a trip to Metropolis for the Titans team, as well as the first appearance of Lex Luthor in the show. Below is the transcript from the round table interview at NYCC.

[Note: Interview transcript has been edited for extra/filler words and clarity while retaining context.]

The full round table interview with Joshua Orpin

Interviewer: So, so season 3, you know, took place in Gotham and we wrapped up with you on a road trip. And I know we’re stopping in Metropolis. What can tell us about what’s coming up? That fans can be excited about?

Joshua Orpin: Yeah, well… you’re right. Where we left off in season 3, the Titans kind of bundled up into an RV and headed off into the sunset. Back to San Francisco, ostensibly, perhaps by via Metropolis. Yeah. So circumstances kind of arise where the Titans get the opportunity to go and visit Metropolis. And that’s particularly significant for Conner because he – obviously both of his parents hail from Metropolis. So I guess you could say that the introduction of those parents to the show, and having a Lex Luthor this season. That we actually have a physical Lex Luthor, that we may then get to interact with. And that’s kind of the kicking-off point for the action this season. And there are some twists and turns and without spoiling anything, yeah, I’d say that’s kind of the inciting event of the season is that first encounter between Conner and Lex.

Interviewer: So do you think with Lex’s introduction, that will cause Conner to have like some type of self-discovery?

Joshua Orpin: Yeah.

Interviewer: And that he’s been needing since season two because we really like… you just kind of got thrown in there. We never really got to see.

Joshua Orpin: Yes, absolutely. And it’s similar for both the audience and Connor himself, right, because Lex is someone he’s only heard about from other people, and kind of observed from afar. So now he gets the opportunity to finally meet this guy. And it’s a situation where expectations meet reality. And Conner has to kind of initially make the decision to go and meet him in person. Which is that decision itself is approached with a lot of trepidation. We’ve got the other Titans, Dick included, or maybe mostly Dick, kind of cautioning him against that. And Conner’s fueled by this intense curiosity and this desire to, to meet this guy and find out. You know, why? Why did you create me? Why am I here? What’s my purpose? Who are you to me? Are you my father? Am I just a tool or a weapon to you? So it creates a very interesting dynamic there. 

Interviewer: Yeah, it’s been a long time coming. Because like I said, we’ve been wanting to see that since forever. I’m glad you guys finally got to this season, we can focus on Conner. Because we’ve seen the other Titans have their self-discovery. So I think it’s Conner’s turn now.

Joshua Orpin: He does. But I think one of the great things about this season because we kind of have a little more of a condensed cast this time around. So we have the six main Titans. And because of that, this season does a really great job of balancing all of those different stories, and all those different character arcs. So it doesn’t really feel like one of the characters is elevated at the expense of any of the others. Everyone has their moment to shine, and they have their own storylines, and they have their own character arcs, and everything kind of feels very balanced in that way. But yes, Conner in particular does get to delve deeper into his self-discovery. And as you say, discovering his identity.

Conner superboy titans
Joshua Orpin as Conner/Superboy in Titans. (HBO Max)

Interviewer: We’re talking about character development, right? You have such an important role in terms of this character’s legacy, going back years and years, and you have a lot of interesting takes on it. How do you prepare for this and tackle this all together?

Joshua Orpin: Well, a lot of that work, on my end, in terms of research and preparation, took place in season two when I was first cast. Because at that point, I didn’t really know which direction we were going to go. I knew that I was going to play Superboy. But I’d only had brief conversations with Greg [Walker] our showrunner about, you know, which version is this. What kind of interpretation is this going to be? And he kind of explained to me that, you can go back and look at the source material. But this is a fresh interpretation, this is going to be our own thing. It’s our own version.

So what I wanted to do, I wanted a comprehensive view of the character and a good understanding of his history over the years and the different iterations that have come before me, so that I could take aspects from those to play with in my interpretation. But ultimately, we, by this point, season 4, I feel like our version, and I guess myself as an actor playing the character, we’ve come into our own and now we’ve established this version of the character. And we get to see where we can go with this version. So it kind of stands apart, and, as you say, adjoins the huge continuity of that legacy of the character. 

Interviewer: So DC has like 18,000 different versions of everything. Is there, like, the movies or one of the animated series that you would like to like cameo on?

Joshua Orpin: Oh, my goodness. There’s just something about the scale of those movies, right? Especially, you know, the, what Zack Snyder was doing with the DC extended universe and those series of films, and just seeing all these big characters on the big screen with big effects, and music and kind of the classic stories reinterpreted for modern audiences. I think that that, to me, hypothetically, would be the most exciting thing to be a part of, not that I’m not excited about Titans.

But Titans aside, if I got to cameo in something else, I think the movies would be the most fun, you know, those kinds of big movies. And then, in particular, the Justice League-style team-up movies, where there’s a bunch of characters crossing over from, you know, different worlds and stuff.

Interviewer: Now, again, shifting focus, you know, we’re at New York Comic Con, I saw, I think on Instagram or Twitter that, you’ve kind of been out on the floor. It’s been incognito. Has anyone recognized you? What’s that been like? Have you seen people dressed as your character?

Joshua Orpin: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I didn’t really know what to expect, because I’d never been to a big comic con of this scale before. And one of the main reasons I wanted to come was so that I could go out onto the floor and explore. And I was, as I think I said on that Instagram post, I was immediately overwhelmed by just the amount of people that were there and the amount of things that were going on, and the cosplay. And I immediately got a sense of how small and insignificant I was.

And it’s cool to interact with fans, and I really enjoy that. But any concerns of anonymity went out the window pretty much immediately, once I got a taste of the scale of this comic con and how many more interesting, and exciting things were happening. And it was a real treat, a real privilege to walk around and experience it. Because we don’t really have – I’m from Australia – we don’t really have anything on that same level yet as New York. So it’s, yeah, it’s been really fun.

Interviewer: So I know, you’re saying that you did, kind of, touch the source material on Superboy. But like, this was also your own interpretation. But from the stuff that you have read, is there anything that caught your eye? That you’re like, Oh, I’d love to see Conner do this one day?

Joshua Orpin: There are so many cool and different versions of this character. This season, without giving anything away, we did draw from certain comics and from certain visual ideas that have been used in the past. That’ll become clear later once the season’s come out. I think it would be great to have the new 52 suit, the red and black. I think would make a really cool super suit on TV. So I would say that that would be cool. That’s something I’d like to see.

Interviewer: Did you ever approach Greg and be like, Hey, can we try to get this, or?

Joshua Orpin: I mean it’s not something I’ve really had to fight for just yet because I think my character is so well served on this show.  I’m very grateful for all the character development and the great story that we get to tell with Conner. But um, there was a little moment with LJ [Laura Jean Shannon] who does the Super Suits, earlier in the season, where she was like – Hey, we should do something with you. Maybe, maybe season five. So who knows?

Where and How to Watch Titans season 4

With less than a month until the premiere of the first part of Titans season 4, fans don’t have long to wait to see what Connor and the rest of the heroes are up to. Titans returns to HBO Max on November 3, 2022 with a two-episode premiere, and weekly episodes after that. The second part of the season with the remaining six episodes airs sometime in 2023.

Are you excited to see Connor make a trip to Metropolis and the introduction to this Earth’s Lex Luthor? Let us know on social media at @mycosmiccirus or our Discord. If you haven’t already, check out my round table interview with Ryan Potter, and look out for future Titans coverage and interviews from NYCC.

NYCC Interview: Ryan Potter on Titans season 4

Ryan Potter Interview

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