To say that the latest iteration of iconic Filipina super-heroine Darna in local TV has been a troubled production is now verging on understatement. In the past few years the project has gone through not just lead star casting changes but also directorial changes. That is to say nothing about the ongoing COVID pandemic and the fact that its planned network, ABS-CBN, remains shut down and thus might possibly air on cable and future simulcast deals. But determination is integral to any Kapamilya production, and the fact that a major casting was announced last week means “Mars Ravelo’s Darna: The TV Series” is still on.

As told by, actress Iza Calzado was announced by ABS-CBN to be part of its “Darna: The TV Series,” alongside lead star Jane De Leon. The real bombshell of the reveal was her role, something that gives this new retelling of the Mars Ravelo comic-book character yet another origin story. Calzado plays the “first Darna,” who will then give her super-powers to De Leon’s character: her daughter Narda. This “Mask of Zorro” twist gives the multiple-retread narrative a new spin, and for Iza this casting technically fulfills a dream role she had over a decade ago that never crystallized.

On an Instagram post this past Saturday, August 14, Calzado talked of how in childhood she saw Darna as a role to aim for in her acting career, one that nearly came true 17 years ago were it not for another actress to be cast. This was in the 2005 “Darna” TV series on GMA7, as recounted by Iza in a 2014 interview with Boy Abunda, two years after she transferred networks in 2012. She was considered by her former network to play Darna then, only to choose Angel Locsin, who would later become one of the prominent Kapuso-Kapamilya transferees.

The nearly two decades since that missed opportunity was in hindsight taken by Calzado as a journey towards returning to the role that she could have portrayed in her younger days. As she notes thus, “The journey to this has been 17 years for me with a lot of painful parts that I have come to accept with grace because I know this is part of my journey to becoming my own kind of Darna.” She called this return to the character as an example of divine timing, something that she believes to be real.

“Mars Ravelo’s Darna: The TV Series” has yet to be given a premiere date by ABS-CBN Entertainment, though it is sure to be carried on cable by Kapamilya Channel and A2Z, as well as simulcast for free TV on TV5.

Image courtesy of Philippine Star