As a member of the Teen Titans and the first of Batman's sidekicks to strike out on his own, Nightwing is very popular character among DC Comics fans. But this iteration of Dick Grayson is not appearing on Titans so far, as the DC Universe series features Robin as the main character.
"We talked a lot about starting Dick Grayson as Nightwing," Johns says. "We all got to a point where we're going to miss and hop over what I think is a really interesting period of Dick Grayson's life where he left Batman and he was struggling to find a new identity and who he was."
Johns and executive producer Greg Berlanti came to the conclusion that it would work better for Rachel's journey toward becoming Raven to be mirrored by Dick Grayson's post-Batman path.
"We took a sliver of the comics that dealt with Dick Grayson post-Batman a little bit and amplified that even more, exploring what that period for Dick Grayson was really like," Johns explains. "Nightwing is such a stable, confident, emotionally balanced character—he's Dick Grayson when he's found his place in the world. We wanted to build up to him becoming Nightwing."
Johns explained the main storyline of the first season is to bring the Titans together, but that Rachel's storyline is driving the plot forward.
"When we looked at Raven's story it's really about a young girl struggling with this internal darkness," Johns said. "She lives and comes from a world that is more in the supernatural and horror vein. We decided to lean into that and have Dick Grayson's journey mirror that. He has his own darkness that he's struggling with and trying to overcome.
"When he meets Rachel, they're both on a similar path of confronting this darkness that is within each of them and trying to move beyond it, control it, understand it. It's really only with the help of other people who are lost and trying to find their place in the world that they can all come together and help one another. That's what the DNA of Titans is—a surrogate family. The characters and the best runs have always been about that. But the tone of it is really dictated by our first story, Rachel and Dick's story."
But fans should still expect to see why Robin abandoned Batman's side in the coming episodes.
"It's what we set up in the pilot. It's really about Rachel and helping Rachel, trying to find out what she's dealing with and help her come to terms with that. At the same time, all the other characters are dealing with their own issues. Dick Grayson is dealing with his past with Batman, and we'll reveal what that really was and what happened."
New episodes Titans airs every Friday on DC Universe.