MANILA — Acclaimed actress Iza Calzado will also play Darna in the highly anticipated TV adaptation of the Mars Ravelo character, alongside previously announced lead star Jane de Leon, ABS-CBN announced on Thursday.
Calzado will portray “the first Darna” who will pass on the superheroine’s powers to her daughter, Narda, portrayed by de Leon, in “Mars Ravelo’s Darna: The TV Series.”
In the original comics lore, Narda is a young woman or girl who transforms into Darna, in full battle gear, when she swallows a tiny meteorite and shouts the name of the extraterrestrial warrior — an iconic imagery that has been a staple in all “Darna” adaptations onscreen since 1951.
De Leon has so far been glimpsed as Narda through a teaser for the series released in December 2020. In the first look, Narda obscures her identity while attempting to launch to flight, indicating she’s yet to fully harness her power.
It remains to be seen how Calzado’s role, as Narda’s mother and predecessor, will aid the younger Darna’s full transformation.
“Finally, I can claim to be part of the Pinoy superhero history!” Calzado said. “I almost had the chance in the past, but God had other plans. I was not meant to be that Darna but he surely prepared me to play this Darna. Everything always happens in His perfect time.”
Calzado was originally tapped to portray the title role in the 2005 “Darna” TV series, but had to be re-cast due to issues involving her physique, she revealed in a 2014 interview. That project eventually went to Angel Locsin.
Calzado has been attached to the project since 2017, through its various developments and changes in format, from film to TV adaptation; directors, from Erik Matti to Jerrold Tarog; and lead stars, from Locsin to Liza Soberano, and then to de Leon.
The Kapamilya star was also the “constant” in the project through the numerous crises it hurdled, including the pandemic, which halted the film version’s production; and ABS-CBN’s franchise denial.
“At a time of great crisis, there has got to be a hero we can relate to—someone who brings out the best in us and a representation not only of our strong but loving and compassionate core. A hero who has learned to embrace her strengths and weaknesses, knowing full well that this only makes the light within brighter and allows for others to see and experience their own light,” Calzado said.
“That’s the Pandemic Darna for me — she will tap and bring out the hero in all of us, despite the odds, even without the ABS-CBN franchise!”
Interestingly, Calzado’s most recent series in a lead role, the hit primetime drama “Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin,” was the pioneering scripted production of ABS-CBN during the pandemic era and after the network was forced off free television.
“Mars Ravelo’s Darna: The TV series” is scheduled to start filming in September, with de Leon due to conclude her guest starring stint in the primetimes series “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.”