NYCC 2014: Powers On PS Panel
Moderated by Geogg Keighley
#powersonps – Powers: Bringing The Graphic Novels to Life Exclusively On Playstation
Brian Michael Bendis – Writer (comics)
My first encounter with the story of POWERS came during E3 when Sony made the announcement that they were bringing the comic book to life for their network. At that time, no actors had been cast and very little would be shown aside form more artwork from Michael Avon Oeming. The buzz at the conference seemed high at the announcement since my absolute ignorance didn’t prick my ears in the least. Still, the described concept at the conference eventually made me take notice.
For those of you who are like me and didn’t know what POWERS was all about here’s the rundown. THe story is about an ex-superhero named Christian Walker. That’s right. I said ‘ex-superhero’. Somehow he lost his powers and now he is normal. Now that super part of his life is over, he decides to take his knowledge of having a power and become a police detective. Now he solves crimes and mysteries that are related to super heroes in what is called the POWERS department. There he is partnered with detective Deena Pilgrim who has always been a detective and actually transfered from the Sheriff’s department hoping that her straight forward and tell-it-like-it-is sensibilities would become an asset. In a way, this is kind of like your typical crime drama show meets The Avengers in a way.
As the debut trailer ran, I instantly saw that the comedy looks to be on-time and really makes the characters stand out. Still, there is a clear edge and darkside to the show that will not lose itself in the clear attempts to be lighthearted. This is definitely a show I intend to follow.
Now, for those of you who DO follow the comic, it was made very clear very early on that this show is a seperate entity from the comic book story. They are attempting to really build upon the characters and even approach some of them at different formative stages of their existence in the storyline. With that said, this approach looks to allow for both the writers and the actors to evolve and manifest their characters since the material truly hasn’t been fleshed out, yet.
So, here is the rundown of the cast and who they’ll play:
‘The Following‘ star Susan Heyward as Deena Pilgrim
Olesya Rulin as Calista
Noah Tailor (Game Of Thrones) as Jonny Royale
Eddie Izzard as Wolfe
‘District 9’ star Sharlto Copley as Det. Christian Walker
Michele Forbes as Retro Girl
As the panel got started, they made it clear that the show is still not even done with the filming process (which will be 10 episodes long) for the first season. They are currently in the midst of filming episode 3 down in Atlanta and they all flew in to NYCC just to show for the panel.
Brian Michael Bendis’ passion for this project (which has been in the works for 14 years) shown bright and he was very thankful for the huge turnout for the panel. He has been given a real network TV style budget and the outcry from the internet to have this happen was a big reason for its success. Sony had to fight off a number of other networks who also saw the potential for this project in the midst of such shows like Arrow, Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. and various others that are beginnning.
While they discussed the process, Eddie Izzard really praised the complexity and depth of all of the characters which is making the filming process for himself and the other actors exhilarating. With the script being written by a crime novelist and a comic book writer that the many layers that the story and the characters have really makes for a wealth of possibilities that he’s eager to explore and contribute to.
Eddie’s character, Wolfe, is actually a character that is going to get a lot of facetime in the show. Wolfe is an ultra-dangerous and visceral character that is ancient and has more powers than any of the others within the universe. It was also made clear that Mr. Izzard was also quite nude for this first epsidoe as well. With Wolfe’s unique relationship with both Walker and Jonny Royale, they hope that the show really captures his mystique in a new and powerful way.
When the panel’s attention turned Susan Heyward’s way, discussion surrounding Deena focused on how her perspective is really our perspective if superpowered beings actually existed. She is astounded by the events in a grounded kind of way and she always manages to ask the ‘WTF’ questions that we all would ask in the same situation. The dynamics of her no-nonsense approach also provide an interesting relationship with her partner Christian Walker. While she is working the case and trying to figure out the mind of these superpowered beings, she actually is working Walker and picking his brain as well. Since he has first hand experience in the POWERS world, he is able to approach these cases in ways that most others could not. So Deena represents humanity as Bendis stated at one point. Susan also made a point to stress that her character’s balance between courage and fear was a big and exhilarating challenge that she is looking forward to as the season progresses.
Noah’s character, Johnny Royale, is a smooth devil of a criminal mastermind. Logan Browning’s character, Zorra, on the other hand is a Power that has a natural aptitude for controlling or using what she has. With a pure desire to be a hero, Zorra will be explored in a new way in her formative years rather than as a vet as depicted in the comic.
The core principle behind the storyline is much like the Sopranos (Noah Tailor said) where the show was about gangsters (which has been done plenty of times) but really focused on the family aspect of the characters which brought the experience closer to what we all know and could connect with. POWERS looks to take a similar approach by tapping into the ‘human’ aspect of the storyline and how it perceives all of the super action about them.
As the artist Michael Avon Oeming came to the panel, he explained how characters like Retro Girl will be explored as well. Retro Girl is depicted as the Beyonce of superheros and is the poster child for them all. She even has her own comic books in the show, that Michael drew, that the regular people in that universe all have and read. As they continued to talk about the concept art that will be strategically placed throughout the show, Michael also proclaimed that the comic book itself is going to start over in an attempt to take advantage of the new characters that they are going to depict in the show.
Before the panel ended, Bendis made a point to say that the 1st episode is free for all to see and that the first season is free for all PS Plus subscribers. After that, I imagine you’ll have to pay to see the episodes. Who knows… maybe the chemistry the panel had discussing the show will be the same chemistry that leads me to pay for the show! We will see… we will see.