NEW YORK – Sony PlayStation is looking to make a splash in streaming television, and to that end, they're launching a series “inspired” by the graphic novel series “Powers.” Today, they took to the Empire Stage at New York Comic-Con to talk to us about the show.
There were no big casting announcement today, we know who has been cast in “Powers,” and we have (recently) gotten to see some stills (like the one above). However, the footage shown today was in fact the first footage that has been made public.
As for that cast, Sharlto Copley, who plays the male lead, Detective Christian Walker, was not in evidence as he's currently filming. The female lead however, Susan Heyward, who stars as Deena Pilgrim, was there for the panel.
Also in New York were stars Noah Taylor (Johnny Royalle), Olesya Rulin (Calista), Logan Browning (Zora), Eddie Izzard (Wolfe), and executive producer/co-creator of the graphic novels, Brian Michael Bendis. Artist Michael Avon Oeming put in a guest appearance part way through as well.
Right off the top, one of the important things to know about the series, as indicated above and which they made abundantly clear during the panel, is that the “Powers” you know isn't necessarily the “Powers” you're going to get on PlayStation. They are cherry-picking things that they like, and doing some things differently. Eddie Izzard said that the series will be heading in a “slightly different direction” from the comic books. It isn't an “interpretation,” it's an “impression.”
For instance, Zora is the most changed character from the book. There, she is one of the great powers, here she is just learning all about it. These are Zora's “formative years.”
Overall, the panel explained that what we're getting in season one is a 10 chapter crime novel, with each episode being a chapter. Deena acts the stand-in for the audience. She had been working in the sheriff's office, but not being the most tactful of individuals has had to find a new home in the Powers division. She is a good detective while Copley's Walker isn't quite as proficient. Having previously had superpowers himself, Walker does have some pretty valuable insider knowledge which is why he's there.
Everyone on the dais, unsurprisingly, was very high on the show and their characters. We were told that the chemistry has been great. Noah Taylor, whom some may remember as Locke on “Game of Thrones,” described Johnny Royalle as a “dream role,” and “a man with a plan.” Izzard described Wolfe as “charming,” “beguiling,” and “f*cked up as hell.”
Do not expect much of Wolfe though early on in the series. Izzard told us that he's only done two scenes so far, and that said scenes have been with the character in jail. One of the things he filmed was for the first episode and the other for the third. As they are still shooting episode three, perhaps he'll have more than one scene in it, but he is wholly absent from the second episode.
As for that all-important first footage mentioned above, right off the bat, it was clear that PlayStation isn't going to be toning down language. Bendis described it as “R” rated, and at some points “Hard R.” There were several four letter words spoken by Copley in that first bit of footage.
Without seeing a full episode (or more), it was a little hard to tell exactly what we're going to get with the show. That feeling was only enhanced when we were told that they only know roughly where they're headed at this point.
No premiere date was given for the series, but they made it quite clear that you're going to have to have a PlayStation Plus account to watch the full season. Only the first episode will be made available to anyone with a PlayStation and the full first season won't be distributed any other way than to those with PlayStation Plus accounts.
Whether it was a joke or not was a little hard to tell, but when someone asked about what sort of music will be used in the series, the answer came back that we should expect to see Sony artists. While they may have gotten leniency with language, and whether or not it was a joke, it did appear as though other aspects were being relatively controlled.
The fans at the panel were clearly already sold. The trailer and one other clip we got, while not hugely in depth, were definitely intriguing. We don't yet know much about the crime novel we're getting, so what we saw was really trying to judge a book (graphic novel) by its cover. Time will tell.