MANILA — Jerrold Tarog, the acclaimed director helming ABS-CBN’s film adaptation of “Darna,” is hoping that the project will eventually resume, revealing that linked movies featuring other superheroes were originally planned.
Tarog shared that “several films and different heroes” would have followed the “Darna” movie, in response to a fan’s tweet wondering whether the director’s take on the Pinoy komiks icon would be comparable to Zack Snyder’s “Justice League.”
Snyder directed and produced a number of entries in the DC Extended Universe, the US film franchise featuring the likes of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
Darna, seen as the foremost superhero in Philippine pop culture, is a creation of Mars Ravelo, who is also behind over a dozen other comic book characters such as Captain Barbell and Lastikman.
A “surprise crossover that would’ve been really cool” was also on the drawing board, according to Tarog, without directly mentioning other Ravelo properties.
“Nothing original there, sure,” Tarog said, referring to the popularity of the DCEU, as well as the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, featuring the likes of Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor.
“But the planned arc would’ve been quite fun to bring to life, at the very least. That’s all I can say in this platform. Let’s just hope it isn’t a dead end yet,” he said.
ABS-CBN holds the rights to 13 titles or characters created by Ravelo. Over the years since the network partnered with the Ravelo estate in 2013, it has produced a wide range of merchandise based on the comics master’s characters, from collectible figures, card games, to mobile games — notably under the brand, “Ravelo Komiks Universe.”
The brand would have helped launch the “Darna” movie — or is perhaps still poised to, once the project starts rolling again and finally gets a theatrical release.
Tarog and “Darna” actress Jane de Leon had finished 15 shooting days — good for a 40-minute rough cut of the film — when the project was postponed indefinitely in August 2020, due to the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic.
ABS-CBN has since announced that a TV adaptation, also starring de Leon, is in production in time for a 2021 release. Tarog is not directing that project, he earlier said, citing conflicting schedules.