Back in July, we reported that FX is bringing Powers back to life, reworking the original pilot that the network passed on in 2011, based on the comic book series by Brian Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming. FX president John Landgraf revealed at the TCA winter press tour that the show is still in active development.
"We've been through so many incarnations. 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."
The original pilot starred Jason Patric as Detective Christian Walker and Lucy Punch as Detective Deena Pilgrim, who solve crimes created by those with super-human abilities, in a world where "powers" are commonplace. John Landgraf revealed that he wants the show to be unlike anything we've seen on television before, hoping it has the same impact as The Walking Dead does on AMC.
"What it's always come down to for me is I know the underlying material is absolutely great. I know Brian 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 would argue that what (Robert) Kirkman and his collaborators have done at Walking Dead has brought something to the table that didn't exist before and that movies weren't doing. 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."
Powers is still quite a long ways away, even if they can nail the script down just right.