Not long ago I broke the news that Bryan Singer was working on adapting Red Sonja as an television series and that it was like to go to either one of the pay cable channels or streaming service because of mature content. Hollywood seems to be grabbing from comics left and right and where Marvel and DC have the most, they are definitely not the only game in town. This got me to thinking about Dynamite Entertainment, who publishes Red Sonja, and some of the other properties they have.
The publisher does some licensed properties, but looking at the ones they own specifically, the first to pop into my mind is Jennifer Blood. A female vigilante in the same vein as the Punisher. She’s a house wife by day and killer by night with family ties to the mob. The character was created back in 2011 by Garth Ennis and Adriano Batista. She has appeared in 64 comics so far including three series of her own and some crossovers.
The reason I think the series would translate well into television is that unlike The Punisher, she’s not one dimensional. She’s not just a killing machine. She’s a stay-at-home wife with a normal family and the responsibilities that come with it. Making dinner, PTA meetings, helping with homework, etc. But she also has a deep, burning desire for revenge against the men who killed her parents. This type of duality would help create drama. Frank Castle has nothing left when he starts his crusade. Jennifer has more to lose and as much reason to not follow through on her crusade. Television would allow the writers to build the world around her in both the good and the bad. The more normal her day life is the more tense what she does at night becomes.
To make the series work, you have to get the casting of three characters right. The first of course is Jennifer. She has to be someone who can play both the normal happy mom who is good with her kids and has genuine love for her family. But she also has to show the steely determination of someone who has been working towards revenge for years and years. She also has to be someone who you’d accept as being physically dangerous. As much as I like the idea of casting a new name, I’m actually thinking this would be a good starring vehicle for Gina Carano. There is no doubt she has the physicality to play the role, but I think she is looking for a chance to show off her acting ability and this could work.
And of course the villain has to be strong as well for a series to work. In this case she is going after her uncles and Pete Blute is the one she saves for last. He’s the one who took her and her mom in and ended up confessing in his sleep to killing her dad. As she works her way through the brothers, Pete has to be the confident leader. Charming enough that Jennifer (born Jessica Blute) believed her cared for her and her mom so the betrayal hurts even worse. I think it would need someone with gravitas as well, someone like Ron Perlman or Clancy Brown.
And the final important casting would be Andrew Fellows, her husband. He is older than her. He was her accountancy teacher and needs to be someone special enough to make her put aside her desires for revenge enough to let love in. Somebody like James Denton or Bradley Whitford. Someone who can pull off the professor/teacher thing but also, when the whole mob thing blows back onto their family, will be believable when he stands up to the danger.
Now I think, with a good showrunner, this could be a good franchise for someone like Amazon Prime. Netflix has their comic franchises with the Marvel deal. Amazon wants to compete with Netflix and where their series like Bosch, Transparent and Mozart In The Jungle are doing well, they have nothing to compare to Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Etc. Here they could jump into the comic book world without having to worry about costumes and tell a story that is somewhere between The Punisher and the Sopranos. And you have Garth Ennis source material to work from. But that’s just my take.