Who is Starfire, the Royal Titan

Red Sonja in Space

[A monster has grabbed Starfire]

Starfire: [grinning] “I am sorry to disappoint you, but I am stronger than I look!” [kicks the monster into a wall] – Teen Titans, “Divide and Conquer” (Season 1, Episode 1)

Starfire (Anna Diop) in DC's Titans

Starfire (Anna Diop) in DC’s Titans

An alien fleet attacks a city on Earth. A ship approaches a hospital and charges a laser, preparing to kill the evacuating patients. An energy blast hits the ship just before it fires, deflecting the laser blast harmlessly into the sky. The ship crashes as a volley of explosive energy hits its engines.

The crew charges from the ship to deal with the attacker. A flying warrior blitzes them, visible only by the scarlet contrail in her wake. The commander realizes what’s attacking them and orders the remaining fleet to retreat. They fly off as Starfire lands.

Starfire is one of DC’s sleeper hits. Despite appearing as a member of several teams she only rose to prominence with the 2003 animated series Teen Titans. So who is she? What are her powers? How’d she join the Teen Titans? Let’s find out.

Alien Princess: Starfire’s Backstory

[A newly arrived Starfire threatens the Titans in the midst of an invasion]
Cyborg: If you want us to keep being nice, you better tell us why the lizard king took you prisoner.
Starfire:Not prisoner. I am…prize. The Gordanians deliver me to The Citadel to live out my days as a servant.
Raven:And the Citadel are…?
Starfire:Not nice.” – Teen Titans, “Go!” (Season 5, Episode 10)

Starfire debuted in DC Comics Presents #26 in 1980. She was created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, who envisioned Starfire as “Red Sonja in Outer Space”. They also drew inspiration from Mighty Mouse, giving her long hair to mimic the contrail seen when Mighty Mouse flies.

Koriand’r was a princess from the planet Tamaran. She was trained in combat alongside her sister Blackfire. Unable to be queen, Blackfire hated Koriand’r as much as Loki hated Thor. Blackfire betrayed Tamaran to an enemy race called The Citadel, who devastated the Tamaraneans. To end the war, the Tamaraneans gave Koriand’r to the Citadel as a slave.

Koriand’r was tortured and raped by several Citadel masters, but ultimately belonged to her sister Blackfire. The sisters were abducted by another race called The Psions, who experimented on them. The experiments gave Koriand’r the ability to shoot energy blasts called Starbolts. She used the Starbolts to rescue her sister and steal a ship, escaping to an insignificant planet called Earth.

Slave No More: Starfire’s History

Starfire: [Gasps] “Beautiful, tell me again what they are called?
Robin: “Fireworks.”
Starfire: “On my home planet, such explosions would mean the Gordanians were attacking. You are certain Earth is not under attack?
Robin: “Positive. Cotton candy?[Offers some]
Starfire: “The last time I ate a ball of cotton, it was white, and it did not taste very–
Robin: “–this is different.” – Teen Titans, “Sisters” (Season 1, Episode 2)

Koriand’r crashed on Earth, drawing the attention of the Teen Titans. She used a Tamaranean ability to learn English by kissing Robin. After explaining her backstory, she joined the Titans, who nicknamed her Starfire.

She became a core member of the Titans and has served in several iterations of the team. She frequently pursues Blackfire, hoping to either rehabilitate her or at least keep her from hurting anyone else. Starfire also fell in love with Robin.

Starfire and Robin got engaged although she had doubts about the marriage, partly from how fast their relationship progressed and having anti-alien bigots accost her. They would have married, but teammate Raven was possessed by her father Trigon, who killed the priest before going on a rampage. Can you say cop out? The writers can.

Then things got weird. Raven had hidden the good half of her soul in Starfire’s body when she was possessed. Raven’s evil half attacked Tamaran to lure out Starfire. This coincided with an invasion by several of Tamaran’s enemies. The resulting fracas destabilized Tamaran’s geological core, causing the planet to implode.

The Titans stopped Trigon and saved Raven, but losing your planet and most of your species kills any romantic mood. Starfire and Robin never married.

Star Light, Star Bright: Starfire’s Powers and Personality

Starfire: [watching Blackfire get arrested] “Farewell, sister! Although you did betray and attack me, it was still very nice to see you.”  – Teen Titans, “Sisters” (Season 1, Episode 2)

Starfire’s powers require her to absorb ultraviolet radiation. She uses this energy to fly faster than light and give herself superhuman strength and durability, roughly equal to Wonder Woman. Starfire’s Starbolts give her a ranged attack and can also be unleashed as a massive explosion. Doing this immensely weakens Starfire.

Starfire can instantly learn another language through skin contact. She often does this by kissing because she finds it more fun. Starfire also has been extensively trained in combat by the Warlords of Okerra.

Starfire is a compassionate warrior who is a little ditzy. She is free with her emotions and love. Starfire even cares about Blackfire, despite her sister betraying and enslaving her.

The Actors who Play Starfire

Starfire’s claim to fame was the 2003 series Teen Titans, where she was voiced by character actor Hynden Walch. Starfire was the only Titan who didn’t get a season-long story arc. Walch reprised the role for Teen Titans Go!, Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, and DC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games.

Kari Wahlgren has voiced Starfire in several animated films starting with a cameo in Batman: Bad Blood. She has since appeared in Justice League vs. Teen Titans and Teen Titans: The Judas Contract.

24: Legacy’s Anna Diop is Starfire in Titans. Her casting was controversial, with complaints about the character’s appearance and Diop’s race cited by critics. Some may hate this version of Starfire, but give her a chance.

Didya Get All That?

Badass Space Princess

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