Hawk and Dove make their big entrance on Titans episode 2, which is titled (appropriately enough) “Hawk and Dove.” Their arrival marks an immediate shift for the series, which becomes less about Dick Grayson’s post-Batman issues as Robin and a little bit more about establishing a fully lived-in world of DC superheroes. Created by the legendary Steve Ditko (of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange fame), the pair were initially Hank and Don Hall, a pair of superheroic brothers, before they were revamped by Karl and Barbara Kesel as Hank Hall and Dawn Granger.
Played by Alan Ritchson and Minka Kelly on Titans, the TV DC Universe Hawk and Dove are a veteran pair of crime fighters who are perhaps looking for a way out of the difficult lifestyle that superheroing creates. Ritchson’s world-weary and angry Hawk is a perfect counterpoint to Kelly’s serene and understanding Dove, and the pair are so immediately compelling on screen that the impression is that the characters could carry a series of their own if necessary.
And while the most significant part of that is the chemistry and charisma of Ritchson and Kelly, there’s a certain cool factor at play, as well, as they both sport what might be the best superhero costumes on screen right now. But what is great for viewers isn’t always great for the actors. And Ritchson in particular suffered while the costume was being designed.
“They really poured their heart and souls into it, but I had to be the mannequin,” Ritchson told reporters at NYCC. “It was hours and hours of pushing and pulling, and bolts digging in. They really built it from the ground up.”
And while Ritchson looks plenty superheroic on screen in the red and white suit, it makes actual superheroing difficult. Namely, the suit’s “wings” style cape need to be held by metal rods so that they always move the way they’re supposed to.
“It’s super uncomfortable,” he says. “It doesn’t like to move. Because that cape is so heavy, the cape is like 30 pounds or something…it’s just all heavy. I was bolted and screwed together and I’d take it off at the end of the day, and my chest would be bleeding. “
Of course, despite its drawbacks, but he knows how cool it looks. “And now I can’t pee for the entire day,” Ritchson jokes. “It’s a love-hate relationship. I think they did a great job honoring the comics, and it’s really hard to translate what you can draw on a page to our dimension, and they did a fantastic job.
Minka Kelly’s Dove costume presents challenges of its own, with a similar 30lb wing rig. “We have supersuit teams that come in and hold the weight of the wings for us,” Kelly says. “I wear a huge harness underneath my suit that can distribute the weight of the wings so I can fight with them and use them like a shield. It’s fun, though. As soon as you put it on, you’re like, ‘Wow! I’m ready to fight!’”
And fight they do. And true to the spirit of the characters themselves, Hawk and Dove fight in very different ways. “They’ve given each of us our own particular, specific way of fighting,” Kelly says. “[Dove] was a ballerina, she was in jiu-jitsu, and she was a gymnast. Her fights are more like a dance and Hawk is a brute Robin has his cape and his [kali sticks] and everyone has their own specific way to do things which I think is really cool. But, it’s frustrating in the rehearsals because [Alan] gets his choreography in ten minutes because he’s just throwing a bunch of punches, and I’m ducking and diving and dancing. Our stunt coordinators are incredible and I have such an an amazing stunt double.”
Ritchson already has a background in action heavy roles, having worked on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and as Raphael in the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. “I’ve always played somebody who has to fight,” he says. “So it’s just a slightly different version of those kind of martial arts.”
And while the Hawk and Dove we meet in Titans episode 2 have been fighting together for at least four years, we will eventually learn their origin story. Titans episode 10 will focus on their early days. ”It’s before they’re Hawk and Dove, and you get to see them when they meet,” Kelly says. “Akiva Goldsman and Geoff Johns wrote that episode and Akiva directed it. Each one is a little movie, so, it’s just been so much fun and I’m so drawn to the world that Akiva and Geoff have been able to create, the balance between making it the most grown-up, real, raw, violent version of a superhero show you’ve ever seen while also still keeping the superhero aspect of it.”
Since we’re getting an origin episode for the pair, maybe DC Universe will take a chance on a spinoff down the line. But if nothing else, it should mean we’ll see more of Hawk and Dove in the future, as Titans has already been renewed for a second season.
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