Back in November 2006, it was announced that the super-violent comic called Preacher would be turned into a one-hours series on HBO. This was exciting to fans of the Garth Ennis comic book series as it promised all the necessary violence and a whole lot more than two hours of content a movie adaptation would have provided.
Now, those dreams have been slaughtered as Mark Steven Johnson (Daredevil, Ghost Rider), who was trying to get the project going, has told Comics Continuum that the new head of HBO decided he didn’t like it.
We were budgeting and everything and it was getting really close to going, but the new head of HBO felt it was just too dark and too violent and too controversial. Which, of course, is kind of the point!
HBO also offered Johnson the chance to re-do everything and try and tone it down, but he decided to just pass on it all together.
“It was a very faithful adaptation of the first few books, nearly word for word. They offered me the chance to redevelop it but I refused. I’ve learned my lesson on that front and I won’t do it again. So I’m afraid it’s dead at HBO.”
I’m not familiar with Preacher, but I know it’s supposed to be really violent. Of course I was a massive fan of Rome and I’ve seen some of HBO’s other shows, so them saying this was too violent seems a little crazy. Either this would be really THAT much more violent than any humans should see, or the new head at HBO is on a straight path to destroying the reputation for brilliant shows that HBO has grown.
It would be great to see a comic have a series on a movie channel, so this was something I was looking forward to. Maybe Showtime or someone else will try and snatch the property away, or maybe HBO will find someone else to do it less violently. But Johnson said he suspects that the comic might eventually make its way onto the big screen.
I’ve heard someone is in the process of getting the rights to turn it into a feature film. I hope that happens. But I hope it happens as a series of movies as one movie couldn’t do it justice. I really love that story and I dedicated a lot of my time to honor Garth’s work. But it wasn’t meant to be.
I know some people who have seen Daredevil and Ghost Rider would take a less-violent version from someone else over the accurately-violent Mark Steven Johnson version any day, so this news might not be so bad after all.
It seems likely that one way or another, some form of Preacher will arise. No promises on its quality are to be found.