The city of Townsville isn’t going to be saved anytime soon after The CW’s live action Powerpuff Girls has been officially canceled even before its release. Enough titled Powerpuffsthe canned series joins the controversial ones Bat woman as yet another female-led superhero saga that was canceled by Warner Bros. Discovery, although it’s currently in production. Once in production, in fact, it was Powerpuffs already wrapped up the pilot episode, but it proved to be an unexpected hurdle the show was never able to overcome.
It’s not every day that a high-profile series like this is removed after a significant amount of money and resources has been allocated to it. So what actually happened? Well, things spiraled into this series from the start. Reason for PowerpuffsThis cancellation can be primarily attributed to criticism from the cartoon’s fan base, the initial pilot episode being scrapped, the pilot episode’s controversial scenario released online, the departure of key cast members, and a full year of silence.
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Fans of ‘The Powerpuff Girls’ Disliked the Live-Action Adaptation
Since its first episode aired in 1998, Powerpuff Girls has amassed a dedicated following. That’s partly because it’s another animation marvel from an industry legend Genddy Tartakovskywhich his excellent resume includes SamuraiJack, Dexter’s Lab, Main, Star Wars: The Clone Wars 2003, those Hotel Transylvania movies, and more. The groundbreaking Cartoon Network series effortlessly combines comic book iconography with anime-style animation, made even better by its unique visual style, wholly unique sense of humor, and a wealth of deeply memorable and likable characters.
It’s no surprise that Warner Bros. Discovery would be keen to reboot the beloved series. Not only is there a current renaissance of superhero content, but there’s also a lot of interest in bringing recognizable cartoons to live action. Disney knows this full well with their many live-action remakes, and even Dreamworks is jumping in on the bandwagon with a planned live-action reimagining of How to train your dragon.
It’s a development that has disappointed animation fans, who thought that most of the original cartoons had no reason to carry over to live-action. This is not an unfounded sentiment, as even with the most expensive special effects, sometimes live-action just can’t quite replicate the unique tone and style of an animated project. Not to mention, anime fans have felt the full power of bad adaptations over the years, including examples Dragon Ball Evolution, Death noteAnd Bebop Cowboy. Simply put, fans Powerpuffs Girlssupposed to be the core target audience Powerpuffsskeptical of The CW reboot.
‘Powerpuff’ Completed Pilot Episode Discarded
Active production Powerpuffs at first it seemed to work fine. It soon became clear that the series was going to be more mature Powerpuff Girls, both literally and figuratively. That’s evident with the trio’s much older but still solid cast to play the titular hero. They include SHIELD agents star Chloe Bennett as Blossom in charge, Descendants franchise star Cameron Pigeon as the naïve Bubbles, and newcomer Yana Perrault as the formidable Buttercup. Also attached to those players Scrub star Donald Faison as the girl’s surrogate father, Professor Utonium, too Karate Boy Part III star Robin Alive as the secretary to the Mayor of Townsville, Sara Bellum, who is the girls’ mother figure and Utonium’s ex-girlfriend in this iteration. The most confusing casting of all is Hello Tomorrow!‘S Nicholas Podany as Joseph ‘Jojo’ Mondel Jr. — a seemingly human version of the franchise’s iconic big bad, the green monkey Mojo Jojo, but we’ll expand on that more later. Finally, the veteran voice actor Tom Kenny will reportedly reprise his role as the show’s narrator.
Once filming of the pilot begins, the photo sets come online. Based on the photos alone, it looks like the cast is in high spirits, smiling for the cameras that got an early look at the new series. However, all may not be as it seems, as just months after production wrapped, it was announced that the entire pilot being filmed was scrapped and the script was rewritten. It’s a move rarely seen in the industry, but only slightly more common in the superhero genre, such as NBC’s cancellation. Mighty woman rebooted and Freeform’s Secret Warrior project. The reason for this cancellation was not explained, but subsequent online leaks will shed more light on why the pilot was cancelled.
Leaked ‘Powerpuff’ Pilot Script Throws More Doubts at the Series
Following the announcement that the pilot for Powerpuffs being built from the ground up, the script allegedly was released online just days later. As with the leaked scenario, there are doubts as to whether the document is legit. The scenario seemed confirmed to be real when Dove Cameron confirmed that the script had leaked online about a month later. The script in question can still be found online via archive sites, but the real question is: Is it any good?
Well … it does have some seasoning, but not too much sugar and it’s all good. The pilot script basically tries to do the same thing that CW does with Archie IPs with Riverdale, takes this established cheerful character and makes it a lot darker. While we are not talking Velma levels of nihilism, the pilot is filled with dark social commentary that feels inappropriate Powerpuff Girls. To give a quick summary of what these characters do as adults, Blossom suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Bubbles is an alcoholic, and Buttercup is an unfaithful sex addict. It’s a complex issue that, frankly, the pilot doesn’t address with much class or meaningful commentary. Even worse though is the mistreatment of Professor Utonium, who has gone from a naïve but kind man who only wants a family to a self-centered, irredeemable, fame-obsessed egotistical who has gone so far as to make tragedy for profit. monetary.
Even stranger was Mojo Jojo’s direction of the script. See, the series seemed to imply that it was a continuation of the animated cartoon, but that was thrown out the window when Mojo was introduced. Instead, the evil genius of the iconic green primate splits between two human characters, Dr. Joseph “Mojo” Mondel and his son, Dr. Joseph “Mojo” Mondel Jr. on the Powerpuff Girls for allegedly killing her father, a violent death being the reason for Blossom’s PTSD. The script ends with the twist that Mojo Sr. not dead but recently turned into a monkey, potentially making for a more accurate depiction. Still… just… why?
Sara Bellum is the only character that looks like an improvement over the original. Instead of being a literal talking body on the show, she does a lot more as the girls’ mother figure. He’s really the only remaining good in the show’s cutthroat portrayal. Still, it’s unfair to judge the entire series on the pilot episode, considering it’s only the first chapter of an eight- to 20-part series. The context of what else is planned is of course important, but pilots are called pilots because they guide the direction of a show, so a series can live or die based on first impressions. According to The CW officials and those who read the leaked script, this wasn’t the first impression they were hoping for.
The cancellation of the pilot and the leak of the pilot script was already a critical blow to the prospective series. Unfortunately, the show ran into hat trick problems when the show’s main star, Chloe Bennett, left the series. According to a Variety report, Bennett’s departure was allegedly due to schedule conflicts, as he was unable to commit to shooting an entirely new conflict. Maybe it is, but it’s sure to stir up more controversy surrounding the already controversial upcoming series.
Nearly Two Years of Silence Sealed the Fate of ‘Powerpuff
A full year of bad press was followed by a much worse year Powerpuffs — no press. No updates, no filming details, not even an announcement of a replacement for Chloe Bennett. This is the most obvious warning sign for a project that went into development hell and was ultimately cancelled. That indeed proved to be the case Powerpuffs.
Even with controversial concepts, production problems, scripts that seem to go wrong, woes, and a year of silence, it’s really impossible to know if Powerpuffs will be a hit or not. Maybe the context of the series would have been fundamentally different or better executed on film. Unfortunately, that uncertainty will remain that way for the foreseeable future, with the famous heroes remaining in the animated world they came from.
If you want to watch the original Powerpuff Girls series to compensate for the cancellation of the reboot, the full show is available to stream on the Max.