The comics-based TV shows keep making a lot of news as their seasons wrap up. Here are some big “what th-?” reality bombs:
According to The Hollywood Reporter, series star Andrew Lincoln will leave “The Walking Dead” in Season 9, which is expected to premiere in October. Lincoln plays former sheriff Rick Grimes, who has led the ensemble show since its 2010 inception and — more importantly — remains the star of the Image Comics series on which the show is based.
In another break from the source material, Rick’s son, Carl — who is a focal point of the comics — was killed off on TV in the middle of Season 8. And Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie Greene, the No. 3 comics character, is also leaving AMC’s show in Season 9 (for “Whiskey Cavalier” on ABC).
Granted, the TV show has taken plenty of liberties with the source material before. But when it has, the show has still followed the comic book in broad strokes.
For example, some characters have died on the show while thriving in the comics, and vice versa. But where the show has killed off the “wrong” character, an able substitute has always been found. When Andrea died prematurely on the show, her role as Rick’s significant other was filled by Michonne. When Holly died from a Wolves attack on TV, her sacrifice in All Out War was assigned to Sasha in the comics.
And TV’s Grimes Gang has followed the same general path as its comic book counterpart, moving from the Greene farm to the prison to Alexandria. Both have faced the same threats, in the same order, from the Governor to the Scavengers (called Wolves on TV) to the Saviors.
Meanwhile, THR says Norman Reedus has negotiated a new contract for more than $20 million to be the series’ new star. Reedus plays Daryl Dixon, a fan-favorite character — one that doesn’t exist in any form in the comics.
That gives us an indication of the future. Evidently, the show is going to chart a path of its own, independent of the comics. It’s going to need a new game plan and a new set of leaders.
Suddenly I have a real bad feeling about Negan still being alive.
Batman is coming to The CW! OK, not Batman, but the next best thing — or, in some eyes, a better thing. Here’s the poop:
As all CW viewers know, “Arrow” and “The Flash” enjoyed a crossover in 2014, which has since become an annual tradition. When “Legends of Tomorrow” and “Supergirl” premiered on the network, those shows joined the crossover as well.
This year will add a character who doesn’t have her own show, on The CW or anywhere else. But we won’t hold that against her, because she does have her own comic book.
It’s Batwoman. No, not the lame 1950s version Katherine “Kathy” Kane, the ex-circus-acrobat heiress who fought crime with gimmicks based on makeup and mooned romantically over Batman. She was written out of the canon in the 1980s as being irredeemably silly.
We’re talking about the 2006 version, who is a first cousin — and a crimefighting equal — of Bruce Wayne. Katherine “Kate” Kane is a former West Point cadet with a black-and-red outfit and alarmingly pale skin. She’s also, rather famously, DC’s highest-profile lesbian character.
So no Batman … yet. However, The CW’s Batwoman, like her comic book inspiration, operates in Gotham City, which adds that city to the Arrowverse. That’s not to be confused with “Gotham,” the Bat-origin show on a different network, which expires next year. But it is the Gotham City of Bat-fame just the same. You know the place — it’s crawling with great villains and lots of other Bat-inspired vigilantes.
And where there’s a Gotham, can a Batman be far behind? The CW crossover, which will give us that answer, is scheduled for December episodes of “Arrow,” “Legends of Tomorrow” “Supergirl” and “The Flash.”
The new Syfy show “Krypton” has challenged its viewers with a Super-moral quandary.
Set two generations before Superman, “Krypton” stars Super-grandfather Seg-El as a 20-something, who meets two time travelers. One is Adam Strange, known to comics fans as a hero, who warns that Seg must allow Brainiac to steal the city of Kandor, which will result in the destruction of Krypton — and the creation of the greatest hero in the universe, Superman. The other is General Dru-Zod, known to comics and movie fans as an evil tyrant, who wants Seg-El to save Kandor (and everyone Seg knows and loves), and therefore Krypton … so that he can rule the planet.
There’s another problem. Zod’s mother is Seg’s girlfiend, Lyta-Zod, which we knew from the start. But Dru-Zod’s father has now been revealed to be Seg himself, connecting General Zod to Kal-El by blood for the first time.
You and I know that Adam is right, and that we desperately need for history to proceed as it is supposed to. But how can Seg choose death and destruction on the unproven claim of a self-professed time traveler, over life and hope and the entreaties of his own son? How can the viewer be asked to root for the annihilation of an entire planet? Surely, as Superman always says, there’s got to be another way.
Worse, the Season 1 finale showed Seg being sucked into the Phantom Zone with Brainiac, changing the sigil on Superman’s future cape from the House of El … to the House of Zod. Uh oh.
“Krypton” and all its moral dilemmas returns in 2019.
Home on the strange
Recent episodes of “Supergirl” have introduced two big parts of the character’s comic book lore. One is the Legion of Super-Heroes, in the form of Mon-El, Brainiac 5 and Imra “Saturn Girl” Ardeen. The other is Argo City, Kara’s home city from Krypton, and Alura, her mother.
Supergirl joined the Legion of Super-Heroes in 1961, and it was a major part of the character’s first iteration — one many fans recall fondly. Oddly, in the comics, Supergirl’s 31st century romance was with Brainiac 5, not Mon-El. And Brainy was a proper shade of green, not blue. Details, details.
That story element seems destined to stick around. Argo City is another matter.
“Supergirl” doesn’t close its third season until June 18, so we don’t know if Argo will be around for the long term. It could be destined for death — because that has precedent. On TV and in the comics, Argo survived Krypton’s destruction due to a protective dome (which in the comics was built by Supergirl’s father, Zor-El). But in the comics, the ground later turned radioactive, which was why Supergirl’s parents were forced to send her to Earth.
But that’s not all! In the comics, Zor-El and Alura survived in another dimension, until Kara rescued them in 1964. This scenario, where Kara had two sets of parents stretching her between two different heritages, is similar to the one on TV, with her birth mother, Alura, alive and well on Argo, and her adopted mother, Eliza Danvers, alive on Earth.
That sort of thing makes for good drama. Let’s just hope the Worldkillers don’t end this triangle prematurely.
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