After losing the two series that built the foundation for the network as a haven for original programming (Mad Men and Breaking Bad, that is), AMC has been trying for the past couple of years to find new and exciting series to hopefully mimic the success of those other shows. Of course they still have their flagship series, The Walking Dead, and some smaller hits like Better Call Saul and Fear the Walking Dead—which, tellingly, are spinoffs, not originals—the network has yet to find the “next big thing.” Enter: Preacher.
An adaptation of Garth Ennis’ gleefully violent graphic novel about a Southern pastor imbued with special powers has been in development for years, but it turns out This Is the End filmmakers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg were the ones to finally make it a reality as an upcoming AMC drama series.
The show doesn’t premiere until later this year, but Rogen, Goldberg, and showrunner Sam Catlin were onhand at the Television Critics Association yesterday to discuss their adaptation, and one thing is very clear: this is not a straight translation of Ennis’ graphic novel:
“It didn’t seem, at first, that we should do it that way,” said Goldberg. “And then we talked with Garth, and Garth very much encouraged us to make a lot of small changes and to make it a good show first and foremost. Our big thing is we want fans who love the comic to get everything they want but also make some new twists and turns.”
Rogen echoed Goldberg’s comments and emphasized the fact that they, too, are massive fans of the comic:
“And for them to be surprised and not know what to expect on a weekly basis. So that was really something that was important to us is to make, again, a good show… I mean, we are fans of the comic. We love the comic, and we are going to make a show we like. So we hope that that translates to people who love the comic as well. But, again, our first and foremost goal is to make a great, entertaining, fun television show that, if you’ve never heard of the comic book, you love. We talked a lot about that.”
Catlin added that the show will have plenty of Easter Egg-type references that fans of the comic will appreciate, but won’t confuse or overwhelm those not familiar with the source material. However, just like with The Walking Dead, Rogen said they hope to sometimes surprise comic readers by putting a twist on certain events:
“There’s tons of stuff in the comic that we hope to include, and again, we also hope to subvert lovers of the comic’s expectations at times, and then, hopefully make them love everything that we deliver in the end, and to have both of those things would be an ideal scenario.”
All involved emphasized once again that no one, including Ennis, thought it was a good idea to translate the comic directly, and Rogen closed the panel by explaining why he thinks a TV series was the best vehicle for an adaptation:
“Many people far more talented than us tried to turn this into a movie and just didn’t, and I don’t think it was them. I think it was the format they were trying to make it in. And we just got lucky that we were the guys around when someone decided to turn it into a TV show.”
While an airdate hasn’t been finalized, I imagine we’ll see Preacher premiere by summer on AMC. Look for much more of Collider’s TCA coverage from Preacher (via Allison Keene and Haleigh Foutch) very soon.