Joseph Morgan is no stranger to the supernatural, having made a name for himself as fan-favorite Klaus in The Originals. But in season 4 of HBO Max‘s Titans, the lifelong comic book fan is bringing one of DC‘s darkest occult villains to the screen, and he couldn’t be more excited about it.
We caught up with Morgan about what it was like stepping into the shoes of Brother Blood and what his arrival means for the Titans and the future of the series…
Were comic books and DC something you already had a connection with before becoming involved with Titans?
Oh yeah, absolutely. My granny used to work in a charity shop, and she got a load of Spider-Man comics given to the charity shop there. The earliest memory I’ve got is of receiving this huge box and just plowing through them all. I grew up watching the old Batman series with Adam West and Burt Ward. Batman was my favorite! But I really always enjoyed the villains weirdly enough—I’ve made a career of that, haven’t I?—I’ve always been fascinated with villains, especially the Joker. Those sort of psychologically complex villains, as a lot of the villains tend to be. Then I’ve read graphic novels all my life, not just the superhero ones.
For fans who don’t know who Sebastian Blood or Brother Blood is, how would you describe him?
He’s someone who initially is quite introverted, who’s never quite found his place in the world. He’s not able to formulate meaningful relationships. He feels like something isn’t right in his life and in the world. He’s right about that because there is a sort of greater destiny in store for him, which he becomes aware of and gets swept along on this path. Then gradually, he starts to take control of it. It’s really a journey of the ego. He’s a guy who starts off with these big dreams, wanting to change the world. And as that starts to actually happen for him, the ego takes over.
What kind of preparation do you do to embody a character like Brother Blood?
First of all, I found the things I wanted to latch onto with him. What do I know about this guy? For me, it really started with, “Okay, well, where’s he from? Do I make him British or American?” I had a long chat with Greg Walker—Titans‘ showrunner—about that. We decided to make him British because I felt it gives him even more of a feeling of being an outsider.
I looked a bit at Joaquin Phoenix in Joker, of course, but he was a little more disenfranchised. There was a little more edge to him from the beginning. I felt like my character was a little more like Norman Bates, very sweet and tender. I was thinking about playing Sebastian more edgy with a little more of that anger of being rejected by society. But my wife said, “Maybe you should go more in the direction of him being sweet, innocent, and nice because it will give you a bigger arc to travel, and it’ll give you a more interesting journey.” She was right!
What makes him the perfect foe for the Titans?
For some of the Titans, certainly one of the Titans, there’s a big connection. So immediately, it’s building a dilemma. By the time you get halfway through the season, we’ve spent time together. We’re on a first-name basis. It’s not Brother Blood, Nightwing, and Raven. It’s Sebastian, Dick, and Rachel. What I tried to do is maintain his humanity. Just as the ego is slightly visible in the cracks at the beginning, at the end, the humanity is still there, and the person he was still bleeds through.
Is there a moment you’re most excited for fans to see or experience in Sebastian’s story?
Oh man, there’s a bunch! But there’s a pretty iconic moment at the beginning of episode eight that Greg and I fought for because it was expensive. But we were both really keen for it to be a part of the show. I feel like fans of the comics and the animated series will look at it and go, “Oh yeah!” And for me, it took some guts to do, but I’m glad I did it because I feel like it’s one of those staple moments where it’s like, “He’s arrived; this is the guy!”
Titans season 4 airs in November.