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Darna: The Philippine Superheroine's 2022 Remake

Photo Courtesy of ABS-CBN Entertainment


ABS-CBN Entertainment's latest TV series, "Darna," premiered on August 15, bringing the 2022 remake of the Philippine superheroine to life. Darna fans are looking forward to seeing how Philippine actress Jane De Leon performs in the iconic role.

Darna is a popular Philippine superhero who wears the iconic colors of red and yellow. Though her characteristics appear to be similar to those of Wonder Woman in the United States, Darna's creator, Mars Ravelo, did not base his character on Wonder Woman.

According to ABS-CBN, Ravelo began creating Varga, a female version of Superman, but lost the rights to the character when he left Bulaklak magazine, where the character was published; Ravelos shifted his perspective to create a new superheroine before the Wonder Woman comics were published, and was instead inspired by his mother and Filipino heritage to create the Darna we know today.

According to ABS-CBN, Filipino comics artist Nestor Redondo changed Ravelo's initial image of Darna (Varga), with a more feminine version of Varga wearing a two-piece costume with yellow stars from the Filipino flag and a winged medallion on her head instead of the turtleneck.

Darna is from Planet Marte (Planet Mars), and she lives on Earth as Narda after swallowing a magical white stone that grants her superpowers when she shouts "Darna!" She flees to Earth because evil forces are attempting to steal the stone or destroy her.

Darna is not your typical superheroine with the basic characteristics of saving people from danger. She is a long-lasting symbol of Philippine strength and culture. Darna was first released in the 1950s, amid World War II, providing hope and confidence to Filipinos who were severely impacted at the time. Darna has been a symbol of compassion and humility toward others in times of need for many years.

So, when ABS-CBN Entertainment announced the 2022 remake, the question was whether this Darna would live up to the country's expectations for their beloved superheroine, which had been building since her film debut in 1951.

This is a remake that began in 2012, and for the past ten years, production and the official announcement of who would play Darna have been back and forth. According to ABS-CBN, Angel Locsin, who played Darna in 2005, announced that she would reprise the role, but had to back out due to a spinal injury; Filipino actress Liza Soberano then announced that she would replace Locsin, only to back out due to an injury as well, leaving the door open for Jane De Leon.

Darna has been played by famous actresses in the Philippines who have grown in stature in the entertainment industry after showcasing their abilities in bringing Darna to life. While Darna was played by Angel Locsin in 2005, Marian Rivera, arguably one of the most famous Philippine entertainment stars, starred as Darna in the 2009 TV series, which became one of Rivera's career highlights.

Both of these actresses became well-known in the Philippine entertainment industry for playing this now iconic role. Their acting careers became more publicized over the years for their exceptional acting abilities to evoke emotion and truly embody their characters, especially when playing Darna.

Darna's newest version, Jane De Leon, has a lot to live up to. This is one of her first significant roles as the main lead in a Philippine television series. Not only is De Leon filling the shoes of Filipina superstars, but she also has to embrace this new representation of Darna in today's society while maintaining the values of compassion, hope, and courage found in a Filipino leader/hero.

The 2022 "Darna" TV series, which is already in its second week, did not disappoint in showcasing Jane De Leon as Darna in full costume during episode five on August 19. As she saves people from a building collapse, it is worth noting that the animations and stunt work have improved, especially since the entertainment industry in the Philippines did not have the most up-to-date special effects in comparison to the United States, for example.

It will also be interesting to see if the original storyline will be kept or updated, as well as the other characters from "Darna," such as Janella Salvador as the classic supervillain Valentina and Joshua Garcia as potential love interest Brian Robles.

As the series progresses, fans will see if this Darna captures their attention and reinforces the Filipino values that they admire in the superheroine. Darna is a beloved character who comes to life through the Filipinos she protects, and there is hope that ABS-CBN Entertainment will honor her in this new era.


Edited By: Dawlat Al Hennawy

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