As viewers have likely discovered while the Teen Titans have somewhat of a limited role in the new Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse crossover animated film. Moving the characters still carry over their trademark offbeat humor and personalities from their own cartoon including Robin, the vainglorious leader of the team voiced by Scott Menville.
First voicing the character in the original 2003 iteration, the version of Robin in Teen Titans Go! is decidedly different than he was in the previous cartoon and any depiction of Robin for that matter. Conceited and self-absorbed, this Robin is in dire need of an ego check. Despite his overbearing personality flaws, Robin somehow manages to achieve some level of endearment. We chad the chance to interview Scott Menville about Mayhem in the Multiverse including making Robin a sympathetic character and much more!
Taimur Dar: I got into The Office during lockdown and it dawned on me that this version of Robin as leader of the Teen Titans has a lot in common with Dunder-Mifflin manager Michael Scott played by Steve Carell. Both can be extremely conceited and off-putting but somehow you still sympathize with them. What’s the secret to making Robin in Teen Titans Go! such an endearing character?
Scott Menville: That’s such a great comparison and I’m a huge fan of Steve Carell’s Michael Scott and The Office. I can’t believe I’ve never thought of that or seen that parallel. Since you mentioned it I’m like, “Yeah! That makes sense!” To answer your question, both Michael Scott and Robin in Teen Titans Go! Under all the wrong things that they do and say, there’s a real pure heart and they just want to be liked. The fact that they want to be liked so badly they will go to any length to do that, it puts them in some wacky situations and make them both act pretty crazy. That’s a good comparison.
Dar: While we’re on the subject of comedy, I’m also a Kids in the Hall fan. You and the other Titans voice actors aren’t dissimilar to a comedy troupe in a way. Maintaining both a personal and professional relationship can be tricky. Even the Kids in the Hall had a brief falling before getting back together. So how do you guys manage to balance being both great entertainers and genuine friends?
Menville: Thank you for the compliment of being great entertainers. I appreciate that! I feel like the other actors bring it and knock it out of the park every time. It’s actually not a tricky balance. We are just very good friends. It all just blends together. It’s not like we have to put the friendship aside and now work. The friendship spills over into the work to the point that, before the pandemic when we were all recording in the studio together, our director Lisa Schaffer would often would wag the finger at us [and say], “OK guys! Stop goofing off! We’re under a time crunch here!” She’s awesome and that’s not saying anything bad about her. Between takes we’re sitting there talking like friends. Since we’re all remote and patch in together it’s kind of the same thing. We all get on and everyone is catching up. The Titans have many jokes and references and we five voice actors have many jokes and references that crack us up and people may go, “What the heck are they even talking about?” That just comes from being friends from over two decades.
Dar: As you just mentioned, Lisa Schaffer is your main voice director on the regular Teen Titans Go! cartoon but occasionally a different voice director will step in for one-off projects like Wes Gleason for the previous Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans movie. In the case of Mayhem in the Multiverse, you had Gene Vassilarios as the voice director. Obviously you already have huge comfort level with Lisa Schaffer but that’s not to diminish the abilities of Vassilarios in any way. Despite the different vibe and energy from another voice director, is the transition fairly seamless?
Menville: Every director brings their own vibe to it which is cool. You mentioned The Office. They had different directors from episode to episode. At the core the character is the same. There was a seamless transition because we know these characters so well. We’ve been playing these characters forever. It’s not a hard transition and it’s just to see what another director sees in the characters or wants to bring out of us in that case. No matter who is directing, my experience just speaking for myself, there is a trust level where they seem to be willing to let us take the reins a lot of the time. Of course we’re going to take their notes and take their directions. I think they trust us to know these characters well and let us just ride with it.
Dar: Teen Titans Go! just made history as the longest running DC show and you’re coming up on your 400th episode. Did you ever anticipate reaching such a milestone?
Menville: First of all, I didn’t even realize that either! We’re so focused on doing the show that we’re kind of the last ones to hear about this a lot of the times. I had a buddy text me, “Dude! Congratulations on the Nickelodeon Kids Choice nomination!” And I was like, “What are you even talking about?”
Once I did hear that [about the 400th episode] my first reaction is just gratitude. You hear a lot of actors say, “I love the people that I work with. We’re such a family.” I hesitate to say that because it sounds like such a gilding the lily answer. But we really are. I’m such good friends with my castmates and we’re tight with our crew. It’s just a blast. The fact that it resonates with people of all ages who come up to me and tell me that they come home after a hard day of “adulting” in the world and instead of looking at the news they watch 3-4 episodes of Teen Titans Go! and it makes them laugh and forget their troubles. That means so much to me. I love hearing that so much.
Dar: Finally, I know it’s hard for actors to keep track of what’s been released and what hasn’t yet for the shows they’ve worked on. Is there anything you can tease for the upcoming season of Teen Titans Go!?
Menville: We record these 9 months to a year before they air. Sometimes I’m kind of hazy as far as what’s coming when and I don’t want to announce something that’s not coming out in another 8 months. I’ll just say there’s more cool, great, surprising stuff going on with Titans. Our writers write on two different levels that will make the kids laugh and stuff that the kids won’t get but the adults will crack up.
Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse is available now on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital and will be available to stream HBO Max on June 28.