“Darna” is one of the most beloved Philippine superheroes of all time. The excitement for our first official look into ABS-CBN’s latest TV adaptation of the classic comic book series is definitely palpable. But did the (now-deleted) teaser for “Mars Ravelo’s Darna: The TV Series” give the fans a satisfying peek into the chemistry between its leads Jane De Leon, Joshua Garcia, and Janella Salvador?
If your initial reaction to the “Darna” teaser is something along the lines of “It looks like a cross between an MMFF entry and ‘Ang Probinsyano,” there’s a reason for that. The series is produced by the ABS-CBN entertainment unit JRB Creative Production. At the helm are veteran filmmaker Chito Roño and Avel Sunpongco (“Ang Probinsyano”). “I want ‘Darna’ to be less soapy, more real—but retain the character to be bigger than life, and obviously different from everybody else,” said Roño in an interview with ABS-CBN News.
Their team started shooting on Nov. 15 at ABS-CBN’s Hollywood-standard sound stages in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. While the teaser announced a 2022 drop, we might have to wait a couple of months for its small screen debut.
In the teaser, we see Jane De Leon’s Narda Custodio in a number of modest shirts in what looks like a provincial town. We see her in a school and a clinic, which leads us to believe that the series will follow the Darna iteration that has Narda studying medicine. We also see her at a training camp in the only scene shown where she and Joshua Garcia’s Brian Samonte Robles are together. Robles, a policeman and EMT, seems to be the training instructor. We’re kind of hoping that Robles isn’t just Cardo Dalisay lite.
If you’re aware of “Darna” lore, you’d know that De Leon’s Narda hails from a race of extraterrestrial “Adarna Warriors.” The trailer gives us a preview of Iza Calzado’s Leonor Custodio passing a magical stone to her daughter Narda; Leonor is said to be the “first Darna” who came from Planet Marte. No sight yet of Zaijian Jaranilla’s Ding, Narda’s sidekick and sibling.
The teaser was certainly action-packed: We get a glimpse of De Leon’s fight scenes, but the Darna costume is still under wraps. An amount of horror (present in Roño’s hits) seems to be another possibility if the serpent-person or zombie in the teaser is any indication.
Also, we can’t wait to finally see Janella Salvador in her Valentina form. Her Regina Vanguardia is giving us a bit of “Cruella” girl boss vibes. It’s too bad we don’t get to see the three leads interact just yet, though Garcia and Salvador have proven they have chemistry when they worked together on “The Killer Bride.”
It seems that the show isn’t in any danger of being canceled anymore. It has been in production limbo for a while and a number of big names have left the project: Angel Locsin, Liza Soberano, Erik Matti, Paulo Avelino, and Jerrold Tarog. But this time around, it seems we’re finally getting close to reuniting with Darna.