Based on the legendary horror novel by William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist told the tale of a Greek-American Catholic Priest going through a crisis of faith, a Jesuit badass going up against the ancient Babylonian demon-king of the wind (and Hubert Farnsworth‘s bound servant) Pazuzu and fiction’s scariest possessed little girl, Regan McNeil. The book stirred up a lot of controversy on its 1971 release, especially considering that the author allegedly based most of the facts of the exorcism on an actual rite, performed on a 14-year-old boy with the assumed name of Roland Doe.
The series was stuck in development hell since 2012, when the first attempt to create a TV series was made, but now it seems that FOX have given the go-ahead to finally bring the classic to the small screen…
However, the good news isn’t all projectile vomit and demonic hissings. With Sean Durkin (director of Martha Marcy May Marlene) out of the development team, the series’ production was halted and Jeremy Slater (the man behind the 2015 Fantastic Four reboot) was hired to write the actual adaptation, along with executive producers James Robinson, David Robinson and Barbara Wall.
In case you missed it, Martha Marcy May Marlene was a psychological thriller telling the tale of Martha, a woman struggling to retain her sanity and adapt to the real world after having escaped an abusive cult in the boondocks (spoiler alert: it doesn’t go well, at all). You would think that Durkin would have been a perfect match and Slater will not do as stellar a job, perhaps keep in mind that the 2015 Fantastic Four film was ruined due to a lot of executive meddling behind the scenes during development. In fact, a lot of Slater‘s original material did not even make it to the silver screen in the first place, so there is the slimmest chance that this will not be a complete and utter disaster, after all.
Then again, the book has never had too much luck with adaptations. The 1973 original might have become a staple of the genre, but Exorcist II (1977), Exorcist III (1990), Exorcist: The Beginning (2004) and the catastrophic Dominion: A Prequel To The Exorcist (2005) weren’t exactly masterpieces to begin with, what with their premises being entirely based off random plot hooks in the original book and a lot of freestyle adaptations of Legion‘s (the novel’s sequel, published in 1983) source material.
So how will FOX approach a TV series’ worth of material in The Exorcist? Will they go all Legion and make an investigative crime series with a demonic twist in the end? Will they turn it into a flavor-of-the-month exorcism deal? Or will they simply shrug and go all Supernatural on the source material, even going as far as to adapt it for a teenage audience? If the pilot doesn’t go over well with the executives over at the network, we might never know.
If it does, then it might turn into another Minority Report and we all know how poorly that turned out. Then again, if it does, it might become an iconic show that is canceled for no good reason, just like Futurama. At least we can hope that A&E‘s Omen TV series, Damien will pull through…