At a time when TV executives are quick to pull the plug on projects that don’t meet their vision, FX is hoping that Powers can still be saved, with some retooling and reworking, into a viable series. At the TCA press tour, FX President John Landgraf made it clear in an interview with IGN that Powers is “still alive.”
It’s been a rocky road for the project. At one point, it looked like Powers would actually debut around winter of 2011 after it was reported that a pilot had been made starring Jason Patric as Christian Walker, a police detective who investigates cases that involve people who have superpowers, and Lucy Punch as Deena Pilgrim, his rookie partner. Then, a few months later, it was announced that the filmed episode didn’t meet the network’s expectations so the pilot would then undergo a retooling. Since then, Powers has been in limbo with the last report stating the pilot may undergo possible rewrites, recasting and reshoots.
Now, a year later, Landgraf continues to rework the project saying that they are now starting from scratch:
“After we made the pilot, we actually developed three more [episode] scripts. So then we had a pilot plus three scripts, and we decided between the pilot and the scripts that it wasn’t quite the series that we needed it to be. When I say we, by the way, Brian Bendis is involved in every phase of this conversation and discussion. But one of the scripts was written by this guy named Charlie Huston, and he was a novelist. Both I and Brian and others thought, “Wow, there is actually something in the tone of this.” So Charlie was approached, I think by Brian, and said, “Look, would you be interested in taking on Powers?” And Charlie said, “Well, I’ve never actually adapted anything before in my life. I have only written novels and stuff of my own, but Powers is my favorite graphic novel, and yes!”
So what ended up happening was we reconstituted the whole thing around Charlie as the creator, with Brian. Charlie went up to Seattle, and they sat down and they talked, and read through all the books, and they came back with a new vision, basically. Essentially, a new pilot to begin with, which is a new, different story than the pilot that we shot. So that pilot is officially gone and dead, and the actors are all gone, but we’re developing a whole new pilot from scratch.”
This is obviously a labor of love project for Landgraf as he intends to make sure Powers strikes the right chord when it finally airs, even if it means spending more money to make another pilot:
“… I know the underlying material is absolutely great. I know Brian[Bendis] has a vision, and Michael [Avon Oeming], but I feel like there have been so many great adaptations of graphic novels done that we have to add something… I feel like we have to bring something to the table that doesn’t exist. Television adaptations of graphic novels, for the most part, have been the pretty good food you’ll take when really good food isn’t available, you know what I mean? For me, I’m not going to take second fiddle to Marvel or anybody. I’m not going to be able to make a $200 million negative, and I think that Marvel has done a great job at what they do, and they’ve created a template that really works, so I’m not going to imitate that. I want to make something else with Brian and Charlie and others that’s just as good but different, and trades on the particular strengths that television has in terms of what it can do. And if we can get Powers to that level, I’ll make another pilot, and I’ll put it on the air. But I’m not going to put anything less than an absolutely great version of Powers on the air. That’s like remaking a great film into a good film, and I don’t want to do that.”
Landgraf’s comments make it seem that the first pilot must have been horrendously subpar as making a superhero episode is not a cheap thing to do. So it’s now back to square one for Powers. No word yet on who will now star in the lead roles or when production is slated to begin but keep checking back here at ScienceFiction.com as we’ll keep you updated as news comes in!