One of the many wonderful things that television has given to us in 2018 is the return of Brendan Fraser, who delivered a delightfully batty performance in FX’s Trust. It now appears that Trust was only the beginning of the Fraser renaissance. (Which is not to be confused with the Frasier renaissance.)
As DC prepares to gear up for DC Universe, its over-the-top streaming service that will be home to the gritty and apparently foul-mouthed Titans, they’ve announced another new show for their platform, and it’s a very interesting choice: Doom Patrol.
And that’s where Fraser comes in. On Tuesday, Deadline reported that Brendan Fraser has been cast in the lead role of Robotman (AKA Cliff Steele) in Doom Patrol. This marks a high-profile return to (what we assume is) an action franchise for Fraser, who once anchored the phenomenally successful Mummy film series.
The character of Robotman, historically, is the one through line for the many, many (many) incarnations of the Doom Patrol team. The traditional backstory of the character is as follows: Cliff Steele was a race car driver who was essentially killed in a wreck, and the only salvageable part of his humanity, his brain, was housed in a robot body. When Steele regained consciousness, he entered a deep depression that led to an ongoing existential crisis, even as he found himself occasionally in charge of a superhero team. Think Cyborg, but without any outward or tangible proof of his former humanity.
Sounds weird for a superhero story, right? It’s even weirder when you realize that origin story came out in 1963, with the Doom Patrol (in the pages of My Greatest Adventure) was a team of by-superhero-standards weirdos and freaks, who felt completely out of place in society. Sound similar to the X-Men? Well, the Doom Patrol debuted three entire months before the first issue of X-Men hit newsstands. (Some of Doom Patrol’s braintrust over the year have insinuated Marvel ripped off the idea of X-Men from Doom Patrol, even though given comic book lead times in 1963, it’s highly unlikely — bordering on impossible. But yeah, that’s a sore subject for some.)
Anyway, Doom Patrol would get even weirder over the years, notably when Grant Morrison took over the title in the late 1980s, and (as he tends to do) turned the title into a Dadaist musing on humanity and surrealism. That legacy has persisted up until the group’s most recent title, penned by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way.
This is all just a longwinded way of celebrating that Brendan Fraser will be anchoring what could possibly be the weirdest superhero show of all time. (So far, anyway.) Rumor has it that a version of the Doom Patrol will appear in the first season of Titans, but that version will not include Fraser.