Why Titans Star Alan Ritchson Thinks Season 3 Is 'Significantly Better' On HBO Max

titans season 3 alan ritchson hank talking on phone hbo max
(Image credit: HBO Max)
(Image credit: HBO Max)

Spoilers ahead for Episode 9 of Titans Season 3 on HBO Max.

Season 3 has been a time of major change for Titans, and not just because the group of superheroes relocated to Gotham City in the premiere. The move from DC Universe over to HBO Max also came with some changes to the storytelling and the cast, with Hank Hall being killed off in just the third episode in a shocking and heartbreaking twist that may have sealed Jason Todd's status as irredeemable. The latest episode pretty much guaranteed that Hawk really is gone for good, but actor Alan Ritchson has explained why he thinks Season 3 has been a significant improvement, despite his character being killed off.

Alan Ritchson played Hawk from the very first season all the way through to the ninth episode of Season 3, when Titans delivered some closure to his brutal death while also making it pretty definitive that he won't be coming back. Ritchson clarified that he landed his upcoming Jack Reacher role after learning that Hawk was being killed off, not that Hawk was being killed off so that Ritchson could move on to another project. He shared with EW that he would have stayed on the superhero series if he could have, but then explained why he thinks Titans is better than ever:

I think the show has improved significantly in the third season because the storylines have been focused, the cast has been tightened and slimmed down, and we're now getting the best of what Titans can do. I think it took a little while to find its footing and figure out in a world that can be so big, who do we tell these stories about? [In] season 2, the cast was enormous. You can only spend so much time servicing those characters before you start to almost forget, 'Where was that storyline? Oh, yeah. They're over there in Wyoming or wherever, Montana on a ranch. I forgot about them.' And you don't really want that. You want to keep people invested in the characters you love most, in the storylines you love most, and it's really gone that way. And I know HBO really encouraged that as the show evolved from [airing on] DC Universe to HBO Max. And I think it's really for the best. I think it's got a bright future on the path that it's on.

According to Alan Ritchson, part of why Titans has "improved significantly" is because the cast has been "slimmed down," which is really a very gracious attitude from an actor whose character was suddenly and quite literally blown up after the move from DC Universe to HBO Max. But it's hard to argue that the show hasn't made some bold strokes with the slimmed down cast. While Hank was the only major character killed off this season who stayed dead (so far), Raven and Donna have spent most of the season off-screen, and Dawn left early on after her role in Hank's demise.

Plus, with Jason Todd as the primary antagonist, Titans didn't have to spend time setting up extensive backstory like with Deathstroke in Season 2. Admittedly, Titans did add several characters for Season 2, notably including Barbara Gordon, Scarecrow, and Tim Drake, even if Tim hasn't had much to do yet. Still, the season has been more focused; that focus just can't be on every character, and Dick Grayson has been at the forefront with the Bat-drama for the most part.

Alan Ritchson's comments about Titans' "bright future" are nice to see, particularly after the show just gave Hank the kind of farewell that he couldn't get with his death episode earlier in the season. He also shared that he would "Absolutely" come back if Titans ever wanted to have him back. No matter how definitive his ending in Episode 9 may or may not have seemed, is anybody ever really dead for good in a comic book adaptation?

For now, you can keep catching new episodes of Titans on Thursdays on HBO Max. As for Alan Ritchson, he'll be heading to another streaming service for his next big project, as he's slated to star in Amazon's Jack Reacher, playing the titular character. Being cut from Titans didn't keep him down for long, and his future is bright with a role in an upcoming series that already has some franchise name recognition. And he'll even get a Smallville reunion out of it!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).