When “The Walking Dead” became such a popular television show, it opened the door for other risky comic book properties to get a chance to see the light of day. One of these properties was the Garth Ennis comic series “Preacher.” The franchise had seen a lot of interest over the year, the biggest name attached being “Skyfall” director Sam Mendes. However, the material proved a little too risqué to get a green light.
“The Walking Dead” changed all that. AMC, seeing how popular “The Walking Dead” has been for them, stepped up and optioned “Preacher” to be made into a television series. However, much like “The Walking Dead,” the “Preacher” series won’t arrive in the exact same form that fans of the comics might remember.
“The Walking Dead”
When “The Walking Dead” came to AMC, it was a risk by the network that was known for prestige shows like “Mad Men” before the arrival of the zombie horror hit. The first thing showrunner Frank Darabont did was make some major changes to the original story. He introduced two characters that never appeared in the comics in Daryl and Merle, a decision which has paid dividends since Daryl is now one of the most popular. He also added some plot deviations, including a trip to Atlanta’s disease center, and kept one character alive for much longer than he survived in the comics. He made these major changes and fans of the comics remained surprised at twists and turns of the show.
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg
In maybe the most shocking news after AMC greenlit “Preacher,” the pilot episode went to the writing team of Seth Rogen and Adam Goldberg. The original author, Garth Ennis, was a gritty crime writer who knew no boundaries. However, Rogen and Goldberg are comedy writers responsible for movies like “Superbad” and “This is the End.” The one comic book property they were involved with, “The Green Hornet,” was critically derided.
However, Rogen appears to be a major fan. In an early comment after getting the writing job for “Preacher,” Rogen called “Preacher” one of his favorite stories and promised to bring The Saint of Killers, John Wayne and Arseface to life. However, in a recent interview with Slash Film, Rogen said “Preacher” needed to be changed somewhat for television. According to Rogen, he wants to make the television show something that would even surprise the fans of the comics.
“Preacher,” the comic, is about a small town Texas preacher named Jesse Custer. He is on the verge of losing his faith when something crashes into his church and kills his entire congregation. It turns out the creature is the Genesis, the offspring of an angel and a demon that escaped its captors and now resides in the body of Jesse, giving him the power to force obedience on anyone using the “Voice of God.” Jesse then learns that God has gone on the run after hearing that Genesis has escaped, and he sets out with an Irish vampire named Cassidy and his ex-girlfriend and current hit-girl Tulip to find God and force him to answer for leaving his children.
It is clear that there are things in the comics that could never be transferred to the small screen. Even with the cable television network, and the lengths that “The Walking Dead” has went to, there are still some areas that would remain taboo on television. There are also plenty of areas where the story could change. According to Seth Rogen, that is what will happen, and looking at how successful “The Walking Dead” has been while making changes, that is not a bad thing.