Titans star Joseph Morgan breaks down Brother Blood’s showdown with the heroes in the series finale of the HBO Max drama. One of HBO Max’s longest-running DCTV shows has officially come to an end this month, with Titans season 4 releasing its series finale and bringing its Teen Titans-inspired story to completion.
After a long battle throughout Titans season 4, Nightwing and his league of heroes joined forces one last time to take on Sebastian Sanger (a.k.a. Brother Blood). Sebastian, who began his time on the show as a friend to the Titans, ultimately became the final big bad they had to stand against in order to save the world once more.
Screen Rant recently chatted with Joseph Morgan again, after our initial interview for part 1 of season 4, to break down his time on Titans as a whole. Throughout the interview, Morgan discussed the full experience of participating in such a unique project and the process of preparing for the massive series finale. In addition to that, the British star shared what is next after his adventures with Titans.
Joseph Morgan on Completing Brother Blood’s Arc in Titans Season 4
Screen Rant: Last time we talked, you were not kidding about the back half of the season!
Joseph Morgan: [Laughs] Yeah, it gets pretty crazy.
I have not seen this much blood in one season of Titans. I was wondering, ‘Either someone in the writers’ room is a really big fan of Klaus or Julie Plec wrote this secretly.’ [laughs] Take me back to when you got the script for the finale and saw how they were going to wrap this all up. What was going through your mind at that point?
Joseph Morgan: It was an interesting process, Andy, because the finale script actually changed a lot of times. So there was a series of iterations. There was one point where it had me just fighting Nightwing and it had that confrontation just with the two of us. But like I’ve said before, I think Brenton [Thwaites] was really pushing from the beginning to have the Titans working as a team. That was the version he was gunning for and that was what we ended up with.
I knew 11 and 12 were beasts for me. I had a huge amount to do and it was extremely physical, so I was excited to get into it because Titans is a stunt heavy show and I spent the first eight episodes really with some nice scenes and some good work but nothing very physical at all. I was getting tired of seeing those guys going through the ropes of all of that stuff I do enjoy. Some of the stunt work was exciting to be a part of and became this huge grandstand which I knew was in my wheelhouse. I wanted them to take Brother Blood – or to take Sebastian – to this place, which would be incredibly theatrical towards the end. I was excited to go there having come from such subtle and small beginnings.
Talk about the action beats, because you’re no stranger to doing action work from The Originals and Halo. Was there anything different with this experience on Titans? They’re very special-effects heavy, and Greg Walker said that the whole final battle sequence took almost two weeks to complete.
Joseph Morgan: Yeah, it was pretty intense. With the suits – that’s the big difference for me. The suits, they’re so physical to wear anyway, it’s like fighting underwater. So it adds a layer of resistance to when you’re trying to be physical, so it makes everything harder and everything is exhausting and hurts. There was one point in the finale where Brenton and I were just laying on the floor, sat together in between takes just exhausted. [laughs] You know, you really you really go through something. It was intense. It was very different in that way.
So much so that when I went on to do Halo, and I was seeing the the Spartans wearing their armor, there was no part of me that was envious of that at all, having just come from Titans! [laughs] I was so happy to be in civvies, but it was an incredible experience doing that. I always wanted to humanize him even at the end, I wanted to make us have a spark of that relatability left. That’s why I decided to pull down the hood and to lose the mask for the end because I wanted to be able to look them in the eyes, the Titans. I didn’t want him to become this two dimensional villain. I really wanted everybody to remember who he was and where he came from and for that to be retained.
I don’t think anyone would ever say that Sebastian was two-dimensional because, throughout the whole season, it’s heartbreaking to see what he goes through. Sebastian is not born evil, but the world hasn’t treated him well and that shaped him into what he is. I think that was a great choice of getting rid of the mask because even though it looked really cool, I did think it looked uncomfortable at times. Were there conversations about, ‘Let’s glue this to your face,’ and you’re like, ‘No, I’m not gonna do that?’ [laughs]
Joseph Morgan: Yeah, they debated that! [laughs] Sometimes they do magnet it to your face, they have magnets on the mast and that’s how they attach it. But we talked when the super suit was being developed, we talked about having straps, and really it was because my makeup artist on Titans, Julia [Karmasin,] who was wonderful, we talked about enhancing the eyes a little with some red makeup and making them look quite intense and a little different. [It was like] the power have taken hold of him. When I saw that in the mirror without the mask, I thought, ‘Oh, this is a really interesting look.’
Before I shot the whole finale fight and all of that sequence that I had to shoot where Anna [Diop] is flying upwards with Brother Blood: I prepared this whole speech about why it was important for me to lose the mask because I knew I needed to have no mask in this scene. So I could lay it in earlier where he takes it off, I prepared it all and I was ready to talk to Nick Copus – who was directing – and to make my whole case. He came to the set. I said, ‘Nick, I think I shouldn’t have the mask for the scene because-‘ before I even started, he went ‘Yeah, great. Yeah, I was thinking the same thing last night!’ So then he and I prepared this whole speech for Richard Hatem -who had written the finale – why we should have him take the mask off at the beginning. Richard was the same, we started and he said, ‘Oh, yeah, no, that’s great.’ [laughs] It was easier to make that case than I thought.
I’m glad you said that thing about the makeup, because I thought I was seeing things. But that did look really cool.
Joseph Morgan: I pushed for subtlety there, Andy because Julia and I were joking, when she did it first and I said ‘Look a little bit less Pirates of the Caribbean, the eyeliner is really popping, so let’s try be subtle here.’ [laughs] She took it right down. But she did such a fantastic job with that and it works with with everything I was doing, I was really excited by that element.
Last time when you and I talked, you said when we would see him in the suit it would be very unexpected. I don’t think I’ve ever gasped at someone just floating in the air with a cape. Was there anything from that costume you got to keep as memorabilia?
Joseph Morgan: I didn’t. I had made this whole plan of how I was going to keep the mask. I was going to walk away with the mask, because I knew they probably wouldn’t let me but then I thought, ‘I’m leaving. I’m going to Budapest straight away to film Halo. I’m just gonna take it. I made a whole plan of how I was going to do it and then I didn’t end up doing it because [we were] saying goodbye to everyone after the whole was wrapped. [We did] the hugs, the photos and everything and I forgot.
Then I was leaving the next morning, and I thought ‘S–t, I didn’t bring the mask!’ I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get it. I’m gonna be in Los Angeles soon so maybe I’ll reach out to the supersuit team there and see if they could slip me one because we had a couple of them in case one of them broke or something, but I do regret that. I don’t want the suit, though, I never want to see that again! [laughs]
It looks beautiful, but I can tell that when you’re going through the halls, ‘Oh man, he is going through it with that cape right now!’
Joseph Morgan: Yeah, the cape was heavy and the whole thing iis that you have to hold your shoulders back the whole time. Because the whole suit wants to pull your shoulders forward, that’s all they wanted to do. So you are aching by the end of the day. At lunchtime. you try and strip down, so for me, I had to pull everything off: take the gauntlets off, the chest piece off, the crochet, and take the other bits off and then appeal the whole chameleon skin. Because my mind had a kind of iridescent scaly look to it, I’d appeal that whole piece off to try and just breathe and have a moment without it at lunch.
I figured you would have kept the armbands because I know you talked about it before, and one of the textures on the suit says ‘Always and Forever.’
Joseph Morgan: Yeah the armbands were separate as well, so you’re right, I could have taken them. Honestly, these last 15 months for me, I feel so grateful to have just worked consistently for the whole time, I has been so incredibly busy though. Things like that [just slipped my mind] I had so many bags to bring from Toronto to Budapest without going home.
I was learning this on my first day on Halo, it was just pages of the scene where I had these huge speeches. I thought this is a baptism of fire and I’m going from all the fighting in the suit to this charismatic, confident character who’s rattling off these speeches in front of all these actors who I’ve never met. So it was just things fell by the wayside and that’s taking some of the props was one of them. I would have liked it though, because I kept my mask from the Immortals [shows the mask,] the film I did with Henry Cavill.
I’ve kept a few things like that and it would have made a really nice souvenir to have the Brother Blood mask with the little bands. But nevermind…
You’re a veteran now at Warner Brothers, so I’m sure they’re gonna be like, ‘Yeah, of course, he can get some!’ But I just realized that while you were doing Titans, that is when you also did your Legacies cameo, right?
Joseph Morgan: Yes, that’s correct.
And then Halo next, all over 15 months. Do you even know what day it is today? Do you know where you are? It sounds so intense.
Joseph Morgan: It’s so intense and we also we shot a music video, my wife, Persia [White,] she has an album coming out very soon and her single is called ‘Vampire’ and it’s out May 16. We had two intense days of shooting it in Budapest with a crew and the whole organizing of that. She’s been going through the whole mixing and mastering of the album and recording sessions remotely. It feels like the most intense period and then we’ve just got home and collapsed. But it’s wonderful because I really do love to be busy and I love what I do. So it’s been fantastic to be able to really feel like ‘Okay, I’m going for it and I’m working a lot at the moment.’ So yeah, it’s been very nice.
Remember that artists need to rest as well, so that you don’t burn out. You’ve done so much in your career, but when you look at Titans as a whole, what are some of your big takeaways that you will be able to take with you for your next gigs?
Joseph Morgan: I think acting-wise, I like to watch the stuff I’ve done to try and learn from it. I still feel like there was some really strong work early on in the show for me. Then I feel like some of the stuff towards the end because I felt more comfortable and it was more in my wheelhouse, with similar qualities to Klaus. I even worked with Jesse Warn, who directed a lot of The Originals, including episode 8 in season 1 where I do the picking up the coin and the big fight with vampires. He came and directed episode 10 of Titans and because I felt so comfortable in that place and like ‘Okay, now we’re getting to the stuff that I really know how to do.’
I feel like there was times where my work could have been better. I guess I went into it feeling too much like, ‘Oh, I know what I’m gonna do here.’ I would have liked to explore a little more thinking about it now. It’s just little nuances like that, for me, it helps me grow as an actor to kind of take in and it’s probably something that only I’d noticed because I’m scrutinizing everything.
I would go ‘While I’m not sure about this moment here, or this, look there,’ and I would take that in. I also would love to work in Toronto again, that was an experience that I take away thinking it was just a fantastic city to be shooting in. I think, again, what was really enjoyable for me was the character arc, how huge the character arc was, and starting Sebastian in a place – which I’d never played a character like this – of how he is at the beginning of his journey. He who was disenfranchised and shy, but frustrated, and he couldn’t express these emotions properly.
It was really enjoyable to explore something so different and so I would like for my next project, to do something new, fresh, and something that I’ve not done before, character wise. At least I feel like that was the really exciting thing to go into it, knowing that he was going to end up something closer to something I’d done, but plotting the journey and there you go.
Maybe something with less drinking blood, or is that always going to be with you? [laughs]
Joseph Morgan: No, that is in my contract, Andy, actually. That’s something that I insist upon within that blood circle, certainly. [laughs] No, I should do something without that. But who knows?
Even though the name Brother Blood says it all, I keep thinking someone in the Titans writers’ room went ‘You know what we should do? We should have Klaus drink blood but HBO Max style!’ And then to just eat a heart casually. [laughs]
Joseph Morgan: Like, how crazy is that? It gets so messy on this show, it’s so much less beautiful and sexy, it’s just a gore fest at times! And [there is] the vegan heart, they made that hard out of mung bean jelly on The Originals and they call it the vegan heart. Then the heart here was three times the size, so things come full circle, don’t they sometimes?! [laughs]
Now we know it’s in your contract, drinking blood. Always and Forever, am I right?
Joseph Morgan: Always and Forever. That’s it and it’s signed in blood as well, the contract! [laughs]
You had a really interesting dynamic throughout the second half. You were teasing me in the last interview about how you were going to be working with a very surprising Titan, and it ended up being Joshua Orpin, who had only good things to say about you. I want to flip it to you, how was it working with him and having that dynamic?
Joseph Morgan: It was really just a wonderful experience working with him. He’s just so committed – obviously, he’s physically committed to the role, he’s put in work over the last few years and completely changed his body. But he’s all about the work and there’s an earnest quality to him, which is so lovely. Figuring out the scenes, that was some of the happiest times I had on the show was when Jesse Warn came to direct episode 10.
It was Jesse, Josh and I figuring out the scene together, along with Bryan Edward Hill, the writer of that episode. The four of us figured out how it was going to work and it felt a little like a theatre troupe. That’s what I love is trying to find my way through the scene and work out what works and what doesn’t. How can we tweak it and how can we find these nuances and make it more layered – Josh is all about that. He was so good, I thought in the show in general, they really gave him some good opportunities this season. I think he should be really proud of his work this season and I certainly hope to work with him again, I thought he was just outstanding.
Last, when we last spoke, I asked you whether you would want to come back to the DC franchise. Since then, Warner Bros. and DC Studios announced their big plans for DC Studios, with James Gunn working on several projects. I’ve decided that I am not done with you in the DC world yet, so I’m gonna bully you into doing something more. [laughs] If you had the option of any character, show, or movi in the DC franchise, where would you go?
Joseph Morgan: [Laughs] I would want to do something with Todd Phillips or Matt Reeves. I love their Elseworlds stories, I love the gritty tone of those projects. I loved Christopher Nolan’s Batman films back in the day, and that tone for DC is just really exciting. It sets so much aside from Marvel in that way, and those would be the guys I would like to work with, I’d like to be a part of that kind of DC Universe. There’s a slightly different style of acting to that than there is to Titans, which is a different animal. But it would allow me to explore that more subtle, natural and slightly darker style. So yeah, those are the guys for you to bully for me! [laughs]
For you, I will. Would you want to play a villain or maybe a hero? You did say you would want to do something different after Titans, so might it be time for Joseph Morgan to become a superhero? We know you look good in a cape.
Joseph Morgan: I’ve got that down, yeah put that on my resume, ‘Looks good in cape!’ [laughs] Maybe it’s time! It’s funny, because I feel like your career moves in phases and chapters, [that is how] it feels like to me. One of the big chapters for me started with when I did a TV adaptation of Ben Hur, and I played Ben Hur. I felt like, ‘Oh, I’m going down this route of being this heroic character.’ Then it just all veered to this villainous path that I’ve been on for a while now. So perhaps it is time for me to swing back towards the light.
Yes, and most heroes don’t drink blood, so if there’s a day where you’re like, ‘I don’t really feel like doing that’ you probably wouldn’t have to worry about it.
Joseph Morgan: No, I’d still need to have that in the contract! [laughs] it’s probably good for me to lay that aside as well. But maybe that chapter is closing now…maybe one more And then that chapter can close properly and I’ll feel like I’ve truly explored it. I don’t know what else I could do, though, Andy, to be honest. After coming out naked of an entire vat of blood, where’s there to go from there? [laughs] What do you do to top that? I don’t know.
Yeah, I saw a feature where you had to do it and I went ‘Oh my God, he wasn’t kidding about holding a bunch of dumbbells to go down there.’ How does a pit of blood just make the clothes vanish? He just walked up there and was like, ‘Oh, I’m perfectly fine that I’m naked without any reasons.‘ [laughs]
Joseph Morgan: There’s this amount of dramatic license you have to take with all of that, isn’t there? But yeah, I don’t know if it would have had the same effect coming out in bloody clothes with the glasses on my face. I think it wouldn’t have had quite the epic feel that they were going for. [laughs]
You’re apparently a man of many talents. I want to talk to you about the audiobook that you wrote and narrated, The Boy and the Beast! Again, have you slept and do you know where you are? [laughs] But talk to me about this project.
Joseph Morgan: I just like to be busy. I really do! When I grew up, my dad was an artist, a painter and I grew up around him painting and so I’ve periodically painted a lot which is where the fact that Klaus was a painter came from because I painted as well. I painted a lot when I was on The Originals. I had a little art room in the condo that I lived in and I found a painting the other day from there back when I was in my early 20s, and just written on the side of the painting, it says, ‘I do things to relax’ and that’s true of me. I think I do like to have projects on the go.
The Boy and the Beast was a long time coming, it’s something I wrote whilst I was on The Originals and I was just really excited about this short story, but I didn’t know what to do with it, I said to Persia, when she was recording her album at the time, we had access to the studio, and that whole world, she just produced it. I’ve written the sequel, it’s called Bound by Blood, and we’ve recorded it as well. It’s ready to go, we’re gonna release it on Halloween. But yeah, it’s been really exciting to me, because I grew up reading and I’m an avid reader. To be an author in that way, to have something I’ve written out there in the world, it’s a dream come true for me, really, just for people to hear those words. It’s got a very dark fairytale feel, which is something that is a sub-genre that I love.
Once the WGA strike is settled, would you want to adapt this as either a TV show or a movie?
Joseph Morgan: Yeah, I think it has legs for that, certainly, or maybe as an animated thing, there’s room for that. It was interesting. I’m going through that at the moment, I have a couple of projects that I’m developing that are on pause right now, of course, because of the strike. But I’m going through that process of talking to showrunners and starting to talk to studios, and push forward in that way. It is a world that I’m becoming more familiar with, so certainly, I recognize the value of IP and there is potential there.
We’ve seen a lot of people in Hollywood come out and talk about this strike. How are you feeling on this? What is your response to this whole situation?
Joseph Morgan: I think that the writers are not asking for the world; they should be fairly compensated for their work. We are nothing really without good writing and that’s an important part of the process. A film is made three times: once when it’s written, once when it’s shot and once when it’s edited. So the first iteration of anything is the writing and a lot of my friends are writers, and like I say, I grew up reading. It’s ultimately important, I think, and hopefully, it won’t last too long, and everybody else who will recognize the value of these credibly talented and creative individuals.
I fully agree there. After Titans, fans will be able to see you next on May 16 for Persia’s single, and then it’s Halo, correct?
Joseph Morgan: Fans will be able to see me on May 16, in the music video for Persia’s single and then Halo, which will be in 2024. It’s possible, depending on what happens with the strike, that I could film something and it could be released before Halo even comes out. Because there’s a long post production schedule for Halo with all of the visual effects, since it is an effects heavy show, but I’m really proud of my work in it. I think it’s some of the best work I’ve done and I’m excited for everyone to see it and see this character. He is a little different to anything I’ve performed and to be part of that sci-fi world was very exciting for me, I grew up playing the games, so it was really a dream come true to jump on board there.
How long were you in Budapest?
Joseph Morgan: I was there from September to April 30. It was months and it was a long time, like 8-9 months. I did get back home a little bit and I got to visit a few places like Paris and I went back to the UK for a very short trip. But mostly I was in Budapest which is a beautiful city. It’s a really wonderful place with a rich history and a lot of beautiful architecture and fantastic crews. The studio where we were shooting was so enormous, this show is a monster, I think it’s the biggest budget thing I’ve ever been involved in and I’ve been on some pretty big budget films early on in my career, but this is another level, like aircraft hangars full of these incredible sets, it’s amazing. You feel you walk into a set like that, and you feel like, ‘I better know my lines,’ because tell you what? [laughs] There’s been a lot of time and money spent on this thing.
I have seen bits and pieces of it, and I forget that it is a TV show, based on the production value. I’m so happy that you had such a great time with that show. Is there anything you want to say to Titans fans that will be reading this?
Joseph Morgan: To Titans fans, thank you for embracing me and letting me be a part of this world. A lot of people were heavily invested in the show, the characters and to welcome me so warmly into that universe, and to support me through the journey has been just wonderful. I’m truly grateful to everyone there for letting me be a part of it. To all the actors, the crew, and, of course, the fans, most of all; I try to have a lot of interaction with fans because I’m a fan of genre, especially myself, and so I understand that kind of passion for projects. I just feel happy to have been a part of another incredible world and I hope everybody enjoyed the finale as much as I enjoyed filming it, and that it feels like a great, final epic chapter to this journey.
As someone who was always wanting to see you in DC, I couldn’t imagine a better villain to wrap up the show for everyone. It’s been an honor speaking with you, and hopefully, it’s not the last time. Whatever you have going next, I will be there and I will be happy to chat. You’re a man of many talents, but don’t work too hard, you’ve got to rest too! Are you actually back home now?
Joseph Morgan: Yeah, I’m trying not to do too much right now. It’s hard for me to not launch into like writing something else but yeah, I’m just enjoying taking walks and relaxing, just being at home with my family.
Congrats on a phenomenal season of Titans, and hopefully, you get to work with these actors again. I will try and find ways to bully Todd and Matt however I can. [laughs] You could always ask Jay [Lycurgo], I’m sure he has Matt’s number!
Joseph Morgan: Maybe Jay can hook me up! [laughs] Yeah, exactly. He’s someone I would love to work with. Again. I just thought he was phenomenal in the show, such a talent as well. So yeah, maybe he can open that door for me and see!
About Titans Season 4
In the mid-season premiere, the Titans – with the exception of Gar – are returned to the place they had vanished, the Temple of Trigon, only to find Sebastian and Mother Mayhem are no longer there. The Titans rush to find them before Sebastian summons Trigon, their pursuit leading them to a mysterious town whose populace is hiding a deep secret. Along the way, the Titans come across a prophecy that may require Kory to make a huge sacrifice to save the world, but Dick’s feelings for Kory surface and he refuses to let her die.
In the final episodes, the Titans enter into an epic battle to save both Kory and the world. Gar goes on a quest of self-discovery, attempting to find his true purpose and to save his friends. Rachel embraces darker powers while Conner, struggling with his Lex Luthor side, goes his own way to defeat Sebastian. Tim and Bernard’s growing feelings for each other become increasingly difficult to resist, and when Bernard’s life is threatened, Tim finally becomes the hero he has always strived to be.
Check out our other Titans season 4, part 2 interviews here:
Titans seasons 1-4 are streaming on HBO Max.