MANILA – The guessing game is over!
Liza Soberano has emerged as Star Cinema's pick to play the newest incarnation of Darna -- perhaps the country's most iconic superhero -- in an upcoming film adaptation by Erik Matti.
Soberano, who is 19, has built a reputation after starring as the lovable lead of both "Dolce Amore" and "Forevermore" over the past three years with onscreen partner Enrique Gil. She made her acting debut in 2011, and has also appeared in other hit shows like 2013's "Got To Believe."
In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News' MJ Felipe on Tuesday, Soberano said: "Yes, it is confirmed. Tinatanggap ko na ang role na Darna."
She succeeds Marian Rivera, who was the last to portray the Mars Ravelo character onscreen. Rivera was 24 when she first donned famous fire red costume in 2009, and the choice of Soberano seems to suggest that the newest version will now be a tad younger.
Angel Locsin, who played Darna in 2005, was first tapped by Matti to star in his film but a back injury forced the actress out of the project. Locsin has since called her fans to support whoever will replace her. "I now entrust the reins to the next lucky lady who will have the time of her life portraying the role," she said.
Since Darna made her komiks debut in 1950, the well-loved character has been played by several actresses on TV and in films, including a young Vilma Santos in the 1970s.
In the original lore, Darna is a warrior from Planet Marte who manifests herself in a village girl from Earth named Narda.
In order to transform into the heroine and defend humans from evil forces, Narda swallows a tiny meteorite and shouts "Darna!" -- a small scene which has since been embedded in local pop culture.
The upcoming Star Cinema "Darna" movie was first announced in 2015. Speaking at the time, Matti, who directed the acclaimed "Honor Thy Father," said he accepted the project so that he could introduce the character to a whole new generation of Filipinos.
In his previous interview with DZMM, Matti agreed that Soberano has the built to successfully do the role justice.
“She has the strength physically, 'yung itsura at katawan. And then tama 'yung edad and you can do a lot of things sa mukha niya. Puwede siya mag-iba-iba ng itsura and she could still look really good. At the same time, Pinay siya na maganda, pan-Asian. Mahirap 'yung mestiza eh,” he said.