Teen Titans: The Judas Contract
|Teen Titans: The Judas Contract|
|Directed by||Sam Liu|
|Produced by||James Tucker|
|Screenplay by||Ernie Altbacker|
|Story by||Ernie Altbacker|
|Music by||Frederik Wiedmann|
|Edited by||Christopher D. Lozinski|
|Distributed by||Warner Home Video|
Teen Titans: The Judas Contract is a 2017 direct-to-video animated superhero film directed by Sam Liu from a screenplay by Ernie Altbacker based on The Judas Contract by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez. It is the twenty-eighth film in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series and is the sequel to Justice League vs. Teen Titans (2016). The film features the voices of Christina Ricci, Taissa Farmiga, Miguel Ferrer, Stuart Allan, Brandon Soo Hoo, Jake T. Austin, Kari Wahlgren, Sean Maher, Gregg Henry, and Meg Foster. The film marks Ferrer's final role before his death from throat cancer.
Five years ago, the original Teen Titans (consisting of Dick Grayson as Robin, Speedy, Kid Flash, Beast Boy and Bumblebee) rescue Princess Starfire of planet Tamaran from her captors sent by her evil older jealous sister Blackfire who had staged a coup and forcibly took the throne. As she is no longer able to return to her world, the Titans offer her a home on Earth as one of them.
In the present, Dick Grayson (now known as Nightwing) rejoins the Teen Titans to track down a terrorist cult led by Brother Blood who plans on capturing the team to absorb each of their unique abilities with a machine that he has tested on Jericho (whom his assistant and lover Mother Mayhem quickly shoots afterwards). Brother Blood hires the mercenary Deathstroke to deliver the Titans to him, which he obliges to do for both the money and get revenge on Damian Wayne for foiling his evil plans a few years ago and replacing him as Ra's al Ghul's heir before Damian turned against the League of Assassins. Deathstroke monitors the Titans through his double agent Terra, who joined the team a year prior and whom he rescued after her parents turned their whole village against her and tortured her. When Damian grows suspicious of Terra's behavior and starts tracking her, he is captured by her and Deathstroke, thus revealing her as a spy to Damian.
Terra acts cold and distant towards the other Titans despite their welcoming attitude, but eventually warms up to them. During the night celebrating her one-year anniversary with the Titans, she shares a tender moment with Beast Boy and kisses him. The next day, Deathstroke kidnaps Blue Beetle at the soup kitchen he works at, Beast Boy at a convention where he thought he would do a podcast with filmmaker Kevin Smith, and Starfire at the apartment shared by her and Nightwing. Dick discovers what happened to the other Titans and is attacked by Deathstroke. He manages to escape by faking his own death, while Terra captures Raven in Titans' Tower.
Deathstroke and Terra bring the Titans to Brother Blood, but since the machine cannot operate properly without a fifth Titan (as Slade had failed to capture Nightwing), Slade hesitantly offers him Terra instead. Brother Blood starts draining the Titans of their powers and ascends to godlike status, but they are rescued by Nightwing. Nightwing and Robin fight Deathstroke, while the rest take on Brother Blood, who has absorbed all of their powers. The two villains are stopped by the intervention of Terra, who is thoroughly hurt and enraged at Slade for his betrayal. Brother Blood is depowered by Raven unleashing her inner fury as a demon and killed by Mother Mayhem, while Deathstroke is buried underneath multiple rocks thrown by Terra. Too ashamed to face her former allies after betraying their trust, Terra decides to bring down the entire area. Beast Boy attempts to assist Terra in escaping the crumbling fortress, but Terra pushes him back and is buried underneath multiple layers of rubble. Beast Boy digs her up, and she dies in his arms.
In the epilogue, Beast Boy goes on Kevin Smith's podcast and talks about the Titans with the host. He mentions that the team has a "wonderful new member" and that he will always miss Terra.
In a post-credits scene, Jericho is shown to have survived the bullet Mother Mayhem shot at him earlier.
- Stuart Allan as Damian Wayne / Robin
- Taissa Farmiga as Raven
- Brandon Soo Hoo as Garfield Logan / Beast Boy
- Jake T. Austin as Jaime Reyes / Blue Beetle
- Kari Wahlgren as Koriand'r / Starfire
- Sean Maher as Dick Grayson / Nightwing
- Christina Ricci as Tara Markov / Terra
- Miguel Ferrer as Slade Wilson / Deathstroke
- Gregg Henry as Sebastian Blood / Brother Blood
- Meg Foster as Mother Mayhem
- Maria Canals-Barrera as Bianca Reyes, Titans Tower Computer
- Crispin Freeman as Roy Harper / Speedy, Scientist
- Masasa Moyo as Karen Beecher / Bumblebee, Traci
- Kevin Smith as himself
- Jason Spisak as Wally West / Kid Flash, Bryce Peterson
- David Zayas as Alberto Reyes
Additional voices by David Kaye.
Differences between the comics and film
The plot is relatively faithful to the original comic, but does have some differences with character usage.
- In the comic, H.I.V.E. hires Deathstroke to capture the Titans. In the film, he is hired by Brother Blood, who runs H.I.V.E. Brother Blood uses the same machine to drain the powers of the Titans, but he instead uses it to power himself. Brother Blood was the main villain of the story arc that immediately preceded the Judas Contract in the comic, but had no part in the Judas Contract itself.
- Deathstroke is more malevolent in the film. He is reluctant to accepting the Judas Contract out of vengeance and kidnapping the Teen Titans for Brother Blood's schemes. In the comic, Deathstroke has a choice to bring in the Titans dead or alive and chooses to bring them in alive because of his strict honor code of refusing to kill children.
- Cyborg and Donna Troy were omitted in the plot despite being Titans at the time in the comics. This is likely due to the film's continuity, as Cyborg is part of the Justice League, and Donna doesn't join the Titans until after the event happens. They are replaced by Blue Beetle and Damian Wayne. Deathstroke's capture of Blue Beetle (electrifying a metal chair) was the same way he captured Cyborg in the comics.
- Jericho and his mother, Adeline Kane, played key roles in the climax in the comic. In the film, Adeline is completely omitted, and Jericho is only used as a test subject for Brother Blood's machine.
- Dick Grayson is already Nightwing in this film, whereas the Judas Contract comic featured his debut as Nightwing.
- Deathstroke's reasoning for taking the contract in the comic is to finish what his son, Grant Wilson started. He does so out of honor instead of vengeance. In the film, Deathstroke takes the contract to get revenge on Damian Wayne for foiling his plans in Son of Batman.
- Terra's character is altered in the adaptation. In the comic, she acts snarky but friendly towards the Titans while harboring a deep hatred for them and wanted them dead due to her own insanity, and is generally portrayed as a sociopath. In the adaptation, she acts antisocial towards the Titans, but eventually warms up to them over time and even valued her kiss with Beast Boy, and is portrayed as suffering from trauma due to the abuse she has suffered from others in the past.
- In the film, Terra's motivation to kill Slade and bring the whole building down is from Slade betraying her by giving her up to Brother Blood. In the original comic, she wanted to kill everyone out of blind rage after seeing Slade's strong fatherly affection towards his son, Joseph, and not her, accusing him of "going soft". In the adaptation, she prevents Beast Boy from reaching her in time in order to save his life.
An adaptation of The Judas Contract was planned as the third in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series, to be released after Superman: Doomsday (2007) and Justice League: The New Frontier (2008), however, this was later shelved. It was to be based on 1984's "The Judas Contract" story featured in Tales of the Teen Titans #42–44, and Teen Titans Annual #3 by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez. Warner Bros. Animation's writer/producer Bruce Timm confirmed in April 2010 that there were no current plans to revive the project. In July 2016, however, Warner Bros. announced that the project had officially been resurfaced as Teen Titans: The Judas Contract and will serve as the sequel to Justice League vs. Teen Titans. In January 2017, it was announced that Farmiga, Austin, Wahlgren, Soo Hoo, Allan and Maher, would reprise their roles, and Christina Ricci and Miguel Ferrer would join the cast as Terra and Deathstroke, respectively. Later on the same month, Ferrer died from throat cancer.
In January 2017, the first promotional images from the film were released By The Hollywood Reporter. In early February 2017, the first official trailer for Teen Titans: The Judas Contract was released, as well as an exclusive clip from the film.
The film had its world premiere at the Los Angeles WonderCon on March 31, 2017. Teen Titans: The Judas Contract was then released via digital download on April 4, 2017, and was released straight-to-DVD and Blu-ray on April 18, 2017.
Jesse Schedeen of IGN gave the film a 6.2/10 rating, writing, "The film loses too much of what makes the source material memorable, while the limited run-time prevents the writers from fully taking advantage of the team dynamic or properly fleshing out the villains." Julian Roman of MovieWeb called the film a "marked improvement" over Justice League vs. Teen Titans and wrote, "The film slickly integrates adult themes into its entertaining plotline. The Judas Contract is action packed and moves at a fast pace. The Teen Titans are certainly on better footing here."
It earned $2,701,733 from domestic home video sales.
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