There will be more superhero news to cover outside of the Western world in 2020, with the start of production for Darna, as announced by ABS-CBN Star Cinema on Monday. Jerrold Tarog (Heneral Luna, Goyo: The Boy General) is directing the adaptation with actress Jane De Leon starring in the title role, following the departure of actress Liza Soberano last April.
Based on the Ace Publications, Inc. comic book line from late creative duo, illustrator Nestor Redondo and author Mars Ravelo who launched the character in 1950, comic book lore on Darna tells of Narda, a young girl who stumbles upon a glowing white stone which she learns are the remnants of deceased extraterrestrial warrior; She transforms into the heroine by swallowing the stone and shouting her alter-ego’s name, granting her “the allure of Venus, the glory of Apollo, and the strength of Samson”. She can fly, fight using various forms of combat, and is immensely skilled in weapons.
Darna has long been a favorite in the last seventy years and with fourteen movies, several local television shows and comic book arcs in her wake. The new movie is just one of many superhero projects that Philippines audiences are eyeing from now through next year, apart from the hopeful ‘Engkantos’ cinematic universe launchpad, Pedro Penduko. That project is already underway from director Jason Paul Laxamana and starring actor Matteo Guidicelli.
Darna was previously set to have Erik Matti (BuyBust, On The Job) before creative differences took shape in October 2018. Matti is currently finishing out his long-awaited crime sequel, On The Job 2: The Missing 8, and with any luck, his visual martial arts stunner, YO!, might become something.