After years of hype, more hype and the occasional production hiccup, Garth Ennis’ magnum opus Preacher finally gets a premiere screening date for SXSW 2016. For those unfamiliar with the work, Preacher was a limited series comic book published by Vertigo and it featured the raunchy misadventures of Jesse Custer (superpowered ex-Preacher extraordinaire), Tulip (jilted ex with a handcanon) and Cassidy (fiction’s best-worst vampire). The series used its gratuitous amounts of violence, sexual innuendo and pitch-black humor to answer such questions as: ‘what is the responsibility of God to man and vice versa’ and ‘does absolute power corrupt absolutely, if you aren’t an utter bastard’?
So comic book fans, rejoice! Garth Ennis mega-fans…curb your enthusiasm. Because apparently, the TV adaptation is not going to be the kind of show you were looking for…
Despite the initial vibe of the very first teaser trailer of the series (which filled our hearts with the kind of light-hearted grimness only an angry Scottsman in charge of his own comic book could produce), the team headed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are already considering alterations to the source material. Apparently despite their occasional dabbling with bolder, politically incorrect stories, they have found the comic book to be a bit…much for the small screen.
The producers and stars of the show tried to allay our fears however, during a Preacher panel at the 2016 Television Critics Association press tour. They attempted to allay the worst fears of fans by saying that while they have pitched ‘variations’ to the original, they will do everything in their power to remain as faithful as possible to Garth Ennis’ initial story idea. According to a quote by Seth Rogen, regarding a little discussion he had with the comic book writer:
“It didn’t seem, at first, that we should do it that way but then we talked to Garth. And Garth very much encouraged us to make a lot of small changes and to make it a good show first and foremost. Our big thing is we want fans who love the comic to get everything they want, but to also make some new twists and turns. And for them to be surprised and not know what to expect on a weekly basis.”
NerdBastards comic book experts cringed at the statement, fearing that perhaps this is putting the adaptation at further unnecessary changes. However, we found some small ray of hope when we got a better look at the cast. Dominic Cooper, the actor tasked with playing the perpretual cowboy and all around good guy Jesse Custer said that he was overwhelmed by the narrative and that he was “desperate to play him [Jesse Custer] when I first read the script.”
Ruth Negga, the actress tasked with portraying Tulip O’Hare, said that he loved the “terrible but brilliant” idea behind the story, while Joseph Gilgun, the face of Ireland’s least favorite son Cassidy, claimed that he was in love with the idea of the unsexy, bad-at-making-life choices vampire. The approach sounds reasonable and we assume that it checks out…but what about Arseface? Will he also show up in the show to woo us with his incomprehensible gargle?
The answer is a resounding YES. Eugene, Son of Hugo of the Roots will definitely be appearing in the series, played by Ian Coletti. According to the developers, the character will have to undergo certain minor alterations to his makeup to make him seem more “sympathetic”. We don’t know how you could make an abused kid living in a podunk town without a future and driven to attempt suicide after being goaded by his only junkie bestie sadder, but by Vurt, we bet that they will try!
One last worrying fact to ruin your day however, is a recent tidbit that we have uncovered after a teensy bit of online sleuthing: apparently, the pilot episode that is scheduled to be aired will not follow issue 1 of the series. According to what we have seen (and the ocassional slip from the production team) the pilot episode will instead be an introduction into comicbookdom’s favorite priest and his motley crew, instead of an actual intro to the story. Furthermore, some of the aforementioned small changes will also include certain parts of the comic book’s meta getting the axe.
Oh and the show will be aired by AMC. We predict that it will involve one great season, one sucky second season, two mediocre seasons and then it should kick ass around the end. In the meantime, we’ve got this trailer to light the way: