TEEN TITANS GO! & DC SUPER HERO GIRLS Interview With Veteran Robin Actor Scott Menville (Exclusive)
Scott Menville has become synonymous with Robin, and the actor talks about playing the Boy Wonder in Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse and shares future hopes for the hero.
In Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse, Lex Luthor wields an ancient Kryptonian power and unites the world's supervillains to capture the DC Universe's heroes. With only the fan-favourite DC Super Hero Girls left to stop the Legion of Doom, the team must cross dimensions to rescue their fellow superheroes from the Phantom Zone, but a fortuitous wrong turn leads them to Titans Tower...where they find much-needed allies in the iconic Teen Titans!
That's the premise of this awesome blockbuster event, and we can promise you'll have an absolute riot with this hilarious, action-packed crossover. To mark its Digital, Blu-ray, and DVD release this week, we were fortunate enough to get some time with Scott Menville to hear his thoughts on playing Robin in the blockbuster, a character he's starred as in various forms for nearly two decades.
In this interview, Scott talks about the cultural impact Robin has had and explains what it is about this specific iteration of the hero that most excites him as an actor. He also takes us behind the scenes of his approach to the Boy Wonder and shares his thoughts on potentially reprising the role in a revival of the original Teen Titans series (as well as possibly swapping Robin for Nightwing).
It was a real pleasure getting to sit down for a conversation with Scott, especially as his Robin has become beloved among fans of all ages. The insights shared by him here are fascinating, and seeing Batman's sidekick clash with those DC Super Hero Girls characters in the movie is an absolute riot...
You’ve been playing Robin for the better part of two decades, but what has this character come to mean to you over the course of your career?
Oh my gosh, this character means so much to me. I’ve played him through dark, gritty drama [Laughs] and through wacky, crazy comedy. I feel like I know so many sides to the character, though there’s always more to explore. It’s part of me. It’s an honour and really a joy to have been able to have done it for this long.
Before joining this Teen Titans Go! Universe, you played Robin in other projects, so would you like to return to a slightly more serious version down the line or is this iteration just way more fun to bring to life?
I live the Teen Titans Go! Universe. It’s a blast and just when you wonder how the writers can continue to surprise us, they pull something else out that’s shocking and I’m like, ‘What?’ However, the original Titans never got to have a season 6 and it was left open-ended, so I would absolutely jump at the chance to return to the dark, gritter version.
How much freedom are you given in the recording booth on projects like these to play around with your lines and bring some of your own personality into Robin?
That’s a great question and the answer is yes. It feels like that started from day one on Teen Titans Go! Our showrunners at the time, Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, knew that we knew these characters pretty well and gave us a lot of freedom. Now, with our showrunner Pete Michail, there’s never been a time where we, as voice actors, say, ‘Oh, I have an idea. Can I try this?’ and somebody says no. They always tell us to try it and I’d say that, seven out of ten times, the things we try ends up in the episode. That’s really cool. We do have a lot of freedom and one of the joys of our show is that we all record together. Even during lockdown with the pandemic, we were still patched into the same headphone feed even though we weren’t in the same room. We could hear each other and ad-lib, and that’s so much fun.
That must make a huge difference to your performance?
Oh, absolutely. On the page, as an actor, when I see someone else’s line, I may interpret it one way, but when Greg Cipes reads Beast Boy in a completely different way to how I thought he would say that line, then it’s going to make me deliver something different as Robin. It’s always fun to be surprised by what my fellow cast members are going to bring to the table.
Something I’ve loved talking about with this film is that awesome musical number, but what did you enjoy most about performing alongside your fellow Titans for that?
[Laughs] I think my favourite thing was not necessarily performing it, but seeing how it all looked after the animators got hold of it and delivered the finished product! It’s funny to see the Titans dancing and grooving together as we sing this song.
What do you enjoy most about playing Robin when he’s butting heads with these DC Super Hero Girls characters, particularly as he tries to establish himself as a leader they should take seriously?
It’s a lot of fun. Robin is one way with the Titans, and while he’s a bit of a showoff, anyway, he’s even more of one around these other superheroes. That’s fun to play the character that way and, as a voice actor, it’s fun to play with so many of my other voice actor friends in this universe. Like Grey DeLisle and Phil LaMarr. I don’t have lines with Phil as Green Lantern in this, but it’s fun to be in the same project as all of them. That’s exciting for me.
These Teen Titans Go!/DC Super Hero Girls crossovers have proven to be really popular, but what do you think it is about bringing these characters together that connects with viewers in such a meaningful way?
You have two very beloved shows that are full of iconic characters people identify with. Just speaking for the Titans characters, their personalities…if a viewer doesn’t identify with all five Titans, there’s at least one where they’ll say, ‘Yeah, that one is me.’ I think they’re very relatable and the same thing goes for the DC Super Hero Girls characters. People love those shows and to have them together, it’s like an all-star game. It’s like, ‘Oh wow, all of my favourite characters are together!’ I think that appeals to people and it certainly does to me.
We’ve gotten to see your take on Nightwing in the show, of course, but how would you feel about making that a permanent change? Do you think it would be fun to explore or would you miss Robin’s immaturity too much?
Well, if I had to leave Robin behind I wouldn’t want to do that. If I could play both, yeah! I think I did Nightwing in the original series for a minute and getting to do Nightwing in this show where he’s married and he has a mullet and is slouching through middle age is fun too [Laughs]. I’d like to do both!
Robin is an iconic part of that Batman mythos, but having become so familiar with him, what is your take on why he remains such a popular character?
In the original Teen Titans series, what I always loved about Robin is that he’s the only Titan with no superpowers. That’s relatable to any of us regular humans [Laughs]. You can identify with him and he’s just trained and trained and trained. It shows that anybody can do anything if they really focus and have a passion for it. What I like about him in Teen Titans Go! is that as crazy as he is and as annoying as he can be, he’s really sincere and his heart is in the right place. Yeah, his ego may go crazy at times, but he really loves his friends and just wants to be loved and do the right thing. He goes to crazy extremes to make that happen and gets himself into big trouble.
The Multiverse is a crazy place, but if you could bring together all the different Robins you’ve played, how do you see that team-up playing out?
[Laughs] Yeah! I’ve played Robin in some of the DC LEGO movies too and I think it would be great to bring them together. You know, we had an episode on the Teen Titans Go! series called ‘The Best Robin’ and there were or five different Robins and I got to voice them all. That was pretty fun to see them talk to each other and I’d love to do that again.
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Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse is available on Digital, Blu-ray & DVD on May 24. The movie event also premieres on Cartoon Network on May 28 and starts streaming on HBO Max beginning June 28!