BIRDS OF PREY TV SERIES | The story behind the show's cancellation.
BIRDS OF PREY TV SERIES | The story behind the show's cancellation.
STARLING | A page from an unpublished Birds of Prey issue by George Pérez.
I think this was meant to be the issue where we were supposed to meet Starling’s Uncle Earl, but this story never saw the light of day because DC editorial made changes at the last minute, Artist George Pérez had this to say on his facebook page:
Since I’m no longer working at DC, and with all the changes that have happened since I was first given this story, I think I’m pretty safe in assuming that these pages will never get published. I was told that the story was all ready to go when I agreed to do this, but the editors decided that plot changes needed to be made and thus I could only produce these 8 pages and waited for months for the revisions that never came. I finally had to find other work and this story just got forgotten to death. While not much really happens in these pages, I did try to add some visual pizzazz where I could. If nothing else, it’s a good conversation starter for those who like to ponder what could have been.
There were some revisions to be made with the first page, so I started on Page 2. I modeled the lead female here after a dear friend named Miracole Burns. I feel bad that she never got to make it into print here, but I will make it up to her in SHE-DEVILS, wherein she is one of the title characters.
Shame indeed we never got to see this on page. The artwork looks gorgeous.
Petition for a revamp of Birds of Prey.
It could be so awesome the second time around.
UGHH. C’mon, DC, get off your ass and give me a better show.
Huntress | Helena Bertinelli/Helena Wayne
Though I think Huntress is one of those characters that could work better on a TV show for the fact that it would be easier to expand her cast.
In a Helena Wayne TV show you could bring in Power Girl, Fury, Nightwing, Black Canary, maybe even Barbara as Oracle instead of Batgirl, Renee Montoya, Kate Kane, possibly even Helena Bertinelli, most of the Justice Society, etc.
They tried that once with Birds of Prey on The WB/CW, and the show got cancelled before it could finish a whole season.
The Birds of Prey TV show got cancelled on various factors that ranged from constantly changing the show’s schedule to not handling the characters correctly, to poor execution of ideas, and overall bad writing in an attempt to bank on the success of Smallville.
If the show and characters had been written and developed more closely to their comic book counterparts it could have actually been successful. For example, if season one had been fronted by both Dinah Laurel Lance (Black Canary) and Barbara Gordon (Oracle) as the lead characters, and the writers actually focused on building the relationship between these two characters, that would have been the hook that would have brought in not just fans of the comic book but the mainstream audience as well.
If the WB/CW especially wanted to bank on Batman’s popularity with audience members without actually using him, it was actually smart of them to use the Helena Wayne version of the Huntress for that direct connection to the Batman mythos. However, she should not have been the main focus of the show and should’ve been introduced a little later on and in a minor role to not take away focus from Dinah and Barbara.
At best, at least for season one, Helena Wayne and the existence of the Huntress should have been hinted at or referenced throughout the show before actually introducing the character in both of her identities to audience members. To keep audience members interested in the character, it would have also been smart to treat the two identities as separate entities by introducing them at separate times and by writing her ‘Helena Wayne’ personality differently from her ‘Huntress’ personality. That way you could actually build towards the revelation that Helena Wayne is the Huntress. I would have saved that development for the second half of season one though, and the revelation for the finale. By season two, I would have made Helena Wayne a full cast member.
That being said, I do think a Huntress/Wayne TV show could actually succeed, but as I said before, it NEEDS to be done right. There needs to be less focus on trying to make the characters ‘more appealing’ and more emphasis on translating the existing material to screen and developing the character’s story to the mainstream audience.
The key to any successful story is to in fact tell a good story. Take the time to develop the characters, take the time to build their mythology.
I did feel that the show got some things wrong about Helena Wayne, mostly in establishing that Bruce was never a part of her life, nor made any effort to be a part of her life which I feel is completely out of character for him. If he knows he has a daughter, Bruce is the kind of person who would try to be a part of her life even if she may not be too receptive at first.
Another thing that they got wrong at the time was making Helena Wayne’s personality too similar to Helena Bertinelli’s in the comics, though that’s probably a moot point to make today. Other than that, I actually felt Ashley Scott was a great Huntress, and I especially loved Dina Meyer as Oracle. One of the reasons I wanted the show to succeed was largely for those two things alone. It featured Helena Wayne in a medium outside of the comics in a time where she was out of continuity (ironically enough Helena Bertinelli is also appearing in a show while out of continuity), and the fact that Barbara as Oracle was seen outside of the comics for the first time was especially significant because it was very well done.
Unfortunately Black Canary is a character I wish they would have made more similar to the comic book version. I did like that we did get Dinah Drake as the first Black Canary (though I think she was renamed Carolyn for the show), but I do wish they would have made Dinah Lance an adult and Barbara’s best friend like in the comics. To date the only Black Canary I’ve seen on telly that was considerably faithful to the comic book version was the one that appeared on Smallville.
As for whether or not I prefer Ashley’s Scott’s Huntress to Jessica De Gouw’s Huntress, most definitely. The few things that the Birds of Prey show got wrong about Helena Wayne doesn’t even amount to how badly the creators for Arrow butchered Helena Bertinelli’s character for the sake of providing Oliver with conflict.
If anything, the Helena Wayne that appeared on Birds of Prey was a more faithful characterisation of Helena Bertinelli than the Helena Bertinelli that appeared on Arrow.
Helena: “Today can be your birthday, Make a wish”
Guy: “I wish for you to be happy, becasue that’s what you gave me”
Birds of Prey - Three Birds and a Baby
Just a few of Helena Bertinelli’s friends and allies that I miss and are currently, not in action.
All of the friendships and alliances she formed are now gone, thanks to the
unnecessary mess of areboot.
(In case you’re wondering why Black Canary is here, it’s because the current BC is Dinah Drake, not Dinah Lance. And as for Barbara, she’s currently around as Batgirl, but Oracle doesn’t exist. Well, at least not as a human being.)
…But Helena Bertinelli doesn’t even exist anymore. In the reboot Helena Bertinelli was secretly Helena Wayne the whole time. Which, I refuse to accept. Nope. The currently Black Canary isn’t Dinah Lance? I’m just going to go cry.
No, she does exist. In the first issue of World’s Finest it clearly states that Helena Bertinelli was alive and an actual person. That is until Paul Levitz decided to coldly kill her off.
It’s not known whether or not she was The Huntress in this universe, but she *does* exist.
And besides, I was referring to pre-reboot Helena and her friends and not Helena Bertinelli as she currently stands.
It was confirmed in Worlds’ Finest #9 that the Huntress of the New 52 mainstream universe has always been Helena Wayne and that the Huntress costume itself was specifically designed by Wayne.
When she became “Helena Bertinelli” has not yet been established (I assume this happened much later), but it was established that Helena Wayne became the Huntress the year after she arrived on Earth-1, making her roughly 17-years-old when she first took up the mantel.
On to the main topic, this is a gorgeous photoset. I especially love the ones with Oracle and Renee Montoya, particularly for the texture in the latter’s case.
DC announced this morning that Birds of Prey will be going in a new direction, so new that the writer they announced in December is already off the book. Indie writer Jim Zub had been announced as taking over the book with issue 17 from Duane Swierczynski. But with the solicits for April hitting this morning DC revealed to CBR that Christy Marx would instead be writing the book. Zub also told readers on his blog he was off the book.
I was looking forward to Zub’s take on the book but I can’t complain about his successor, Christy Marx, who has been doing good work on Sword of Sorcery’s Amethyst.
But it does give me another thing to put on the list of “what the heck is going on with DC editorial?”. The company also today announced Robert Vendetti was off Constantine to be replaced by Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes. Again can’t complain there (expecially as the team is writing Justice League Dark). And of course late last year DC removed Gail Simone off of Batgirl only to put her back on the book.
I trust Christy Marx will do a great on Birds, but I am sad to see Jim Zubkavich go before he had a chance to submit a script. :/
Let’s hope the direction DC is taking the Birds is a good one.
I am sad to see Duane Swierczynski go since I’ve been loving his take on this series and especially love Starling, but this interview with Jim Zubkavich with CBR makes me hopeful it’ll still be a good series:
Before we get into the specifics of your story, I wondered what impression you have of the “Birds” as a team and a franchise from the outside. We’re at the point now where the team has a lot of history under its belt as well as a few different incarnations. What’s the strongest hook for you in working on a (usually) all-female team in the DCU? Any previous runs that will influence what you do here?
I know I’m not a writer people would have expected to pick up the torch on “Birds of Prey,” but that’s part of what makes it such an exciting challenge. I know I have a lot to prove.
I read through the older “Birds of Prey” issues quite extensively as I was tightening up my pitch and what struck me most wasn’t a particular plotline as much as it was the quality of characterization that’s punctuated “Birds of Prey.” The series really sings when readers care about the cast and root for them, issue after issue.
Gail Simone and Chuck Dixon’s best “Birds of Prey” issues had a wonderful sense of personality and camaraderie that went hand-in-hand with top-notch action and drama. I’m not here to retread stories that have been told before and there are distinct differences between the past and this new incarnation of the team, but I‘m looking to keep that character/action balance at the core of the series because I feel that’s what makes it such a special series.
When it comes to the cast of the book, I’m sure there are a few things that are under wraps as Duane Swierczynski ties up the many threads of his run in the coming months. But I’m betting one assumption we can make is that Black Canary and Batgirl will play a central role in the series. Since Barbara and Dinah have formed the backbone of “Birds” since its inception, what’s your take on their relationship today, and how do they share a role in the book overall?
Black Canary and Batgirl are definitely a big part of my plans and character relationships as a whole are crucial to me in “Birds of Prey.” Before I started generating specific story threads for the series, I put together a character “matrix” for the cast – who they are, how they feel about each other and what could change as the story moves forward. Going through that process and digging into each character’s personality gave me a lot more confidence. It acts as a baseline to build from so that no matter what scenario I throw the team into I can gauge their reactions based on where things are in each character’s development.
Dinah’s an optimist who keeps ending up on the wrong side of conflict. She’s a fighter who doesn’t know how to stop even when, by all rights, she should give up. In the New 52 she’s the glue that holds the “Birds of Prey” together. That leadership role is at the core of Dinah’s personality, whether she wants it or not.
Batgirl in the New 52 wants to be a part of the Birds and support Dinah’s vision for a team that looks out for each other, but she’s quite used to “going it alone”, especially since she has her own solo series. Barbara will struggle with that “individual vs. team” dynamic and the choices she makes, especially after bringing Strix to the team, will affect everyone.
I hope Duane finds more work and Birds won’t be the last we’ll see of him. Nevertheless I am looking forward to Jim’s take on the Birds and am positive it’s going to be great.
Are you real?
Birds of Prey #91.
It’s nice that out of all of the Birds, Helena was the focus of this little retrospective that briefly details her history.
This is one of my favourite stories as well. I also did appreciate that this page explicitly acknowledged that Helena Wayne existed even though it was also reinforcing the problem of erasing Wayne’s autonomy.