Darna (Tagalog pronunciation: [daɾna]) is a fictional Filipino comics superhero created by writer Mars Ravelo and artist Nestor Redondo. The character's first appearance was in Pilipino Komiks (Ace Publications, Inc.) #77 on May 13, 1950. Darna is a retooling of Ravelo's earlier character, Varga, whose stories he wrote and illustrated himself. This character first appeared in Bulaklak Magazine, Volume 4, #17 on July 23, 1947. Ravelo left Bulaklak due to differences with the publication's editors. One of the most popular Filipino superheroes, Darna has appeared in many films and several television series through the decades which have far overshadowed her actual comics tenure.
|First appearance||Pilipino Komiks, #77 (May 13, 1950)|
|Created by||Mars Ravelo|
|Species||Transformed human /extra-terrestrial meld|
|Place of origin||Philippines|
|Team affiliations||Captain Barbell|
|Notable aliases||Daria (alternate mortal guise)|
The origin of Darna relates that she is a deceased extraterrestrial warrior magically manifesting herself through a woman from Earth, named Narda. After Narda swallows a magic white stone and shouts "Darna," she transforms into the mighty warrior Darna (Mango comics). As Darna, she stands up for those who cannot fend for themselves. She fights against both common criminals as well as greater forces of evil, most famously the snake-haired woman Valentina. She is often accompanied by her younger brother, Ding. Several alternate versions of Darna have been characterized over the years.
Darna's appearance is distinctive and iconic: she usually wears a red bikini or shorts with a gold star in each brassiere cap; red helmet with ruby encrusted gold winged medallion; gold bracelets; golden medallion belt with a loincloth in the middle; and almost knee-high red boots. Darna is widely considered as a Filipino cultural icon, and is considered to be the most celebrated superhero character in the Philippines.
The character has been adapted extensively and portrayed in other forms of media as well, including films and television series. Several actresses have portrayed Darna in motion pictures and TV series including Rosa del Rosario, Liza Moreno, Eva Montes, Gina Pareño, Vilma Santos, Lorna Tolentino, Rio Locsin, Sharon Cuneta, Nanette Medved, Anjanette Abayari, Regine Velasquez, Angel Locsin, and Marian Rivera.
Mars Ravelo created the first images of Darna before World War II, as the character's predecessor Varga. Mars Ravelo (1916-1988), a then young pioneering illustrator from Tanza, Cavite, thought of creating a female counterpart for Superman because he believed in the concept that America is “male” and the Philippines, then a colony of the US, is "female". Ravelo's inspiration for Darna's heroic qualities came from his childhood fascination with Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's Superman (first appearance on Action Comics, No. 1, June 30, 1938; debut as a newspaper comic strip on January 16, 1939). He didn’t want to use the term “Superwoman” so as not to plagiarize the Siegel and Shuster creation. So instead as inspired by Superman, Mars Ravelo originally referred to his superheroine as "Kamangha-manghang Dilag" (The Amazing Warrior Maiden) and combined the superhuman qualities of Superman with his own real life hero–his mother. The winged medallion on Darna's helmet is inspired by the emblem of the Philippine airforce as Mars Ravelo also dreamed of the opportunity to fly. The magic white stone concept is cultural iconography as Philippine folklore has many stories of brave young mortals whose courage and heart enable them to be worthy of magic amulets- the only thing in these stories that could even the odds against evil, supernatural forces./ref>
Mars, a young and struggling cartoonist then, brought his superheroine idea as the Philippines’ answer to Superman to various publications both in the Philippines and in the United States but was rejected because publishers kept telling him "female superheroes will not sell". So Ravelo shelved his concept for the duration of the war. Years after the war, Ravelo realized that the Filipinos were in need of a superhero so he again shopped his superheroine concept to publishers until one of them, Bulaklak Komiks ("Flower Comics") agreed to publish Ravelo's heroine that he now called "Varga" in 1947 (inspired by the Varga Girls series of illustrations) and the strip took off. Varga made her debut in Bulaklak Magazine, Vol. 4, #17 on July 23, 1947, which Mars both wrote and drew himself. In an interview, Ravelo revealed that he offered his creation first to Liwayway Magazine and then to other publications but was rejected several times. Had Liwayway Magazine not turned down the offer, she would have been the Philippines’ first komiks superhero.
Contrary to popular belief, Darna was not named after the magical Ibong Adarna (Adarna bird), which appears in a Philippine epic of the same name. In Bulaklak Magazine, Narda was already established as Varga's mortal identity. "Darna" was simply an anagram of "Narda". The concept and image of the character was based on the illustrations of Superman appearing on comic books brought by soldiers from the United States to the Philippines. It was the story of a mortal girl named Narda (named after one of Ravelo's childhood playmates), her brother Ding and their grandmother, Lola Asay, who lived in the town of Masambong when a falling star revealed itself to be a magic amulet that turns the little girl named Narda into the superheroine Varga.
The name Varga was under ownership of Bulaklak Magazine so when Ravelo left Bulaklak in 1949 after a falling out with its editor, Varga stayed behind. Ravelo took the concept to Pilipino Komiks and transformed it to "Darna". Although the concept remained the same, Ravelo assigned another artist, Nestor Redondo, to illustrate his creation. Darna's first adventure as DARNA was first serialized in the pages of Pilipino Komiks (Ace Publications, Inc.) #77 on May 13, 1950, where she was pitted against the sultry snake goddess, Valentina. Here, Narda, a young girl, swallows a stone, which has the word Darna on it, and transforms into Darna by shouting out the latter name. Likewise, Darna turns back into Narda by shouting her name. The stone, which was from the planet Marte, stays in her body. Her secret is known to her grandmother, and her brother Ding, who becomes her sidekick. The superheroine quickly gained popularity among Filipino comic book readers. The komik serial, written by Ravalo and illustrated by Redondo, ran for 28 issues.
On May 31, 1951, Darna made a crossover from comics to cinema even before the komiks serial was finished. Royal Publications under Fernando Poe Sr. produced the first Darna film starring Rosa Del Rosario as Narda/Darna. It was the last film directed by Fernando Poe, Sr. Since then, a number of actresses and actors have portrayed the superheroine on both cinema and television. Some made from 1973 onwards starred the future multi-awarded dramatic actress and politician Vilma Santos. In this incarnation, Darna's origin was changed. Narda herself became Darna, unlike the original in which she just "channeled" her. The stone came out of Narda's mouth every time she changes back and she had to swallow it every time she wanted to transform (a revision that became the standard for the following incarnations). Darna is not specified as coming from Marte and is mentioned simply as a "Warrior of Light". In this version, Narda was aged up from a child to her early teens, and only Ding was aware of her secret. This version of Darna became most people's idea of the character for about 3 decades. A catchphrase popularized by the films and said by Narda runs, "Ding, ang bato!" ("Ding, [give me] the stone!")
A TV series was also produced in 1977. Created by Ketchie Benedicto and aired on KBS 9, Darna! The TV Series starred another future multi-awarded dramatic actress, Lorna Tolentino, as Darna/Narda. Darna also had her own cartoon series in 1986 by GMA 7.
The Mango Comics miniseries
In 2003, a National Book Award-winning Darna limited miniseries was published by Mango Comics, with major input from Ravelo's family. DARNA is a three-part 50th Anniversary Issue (36 pages per issue, full-color, in English). The first part of the series was released on February 28, 2003, the second part on May 7, 2003, and the last part on December 13, 2003. With an all-new storyline of Bobby Yonzon and each issue drawn by a different, world-class artist, every one of this series is guaranteed to satisfy.
DARNA Issue #1: Darna finds herself faced with a familiar serpent-coiffed adversary who's sexier and deadlier than ever! Written by Boboy Yonzon, pencils by Ryan Orosco and inks by Gilbert Monsanto.
DARNA Issue #2: The action continues as Darna finally confronts her old nemesis, Valentina, and her superhuman snake companions. Her friends' lives hang in the balance as she fights to prevent the evil Valentina from enslaving the human race! Written by Boboy Yonzon, pencils by Lan Medina and inks by Gilbert Monsanto.
This version showed Narda as a college student who first found the stone 10 years before. However, the details of Darna's origin was changed again – Her race of "Adarna Warriors" originally came from the planet Tiamat, as did Valentina's the "Serpent Queens". Their respective peoples had warred for many years. On Tiamat, Darna's race used artificial wings. Because of the war between the Adarna Warriors and the Serpent Queens, they fled the planet Tiamat and went to the planet Nibiru, also known as Marte.
Here, Darna (both the name and the character) is explicitly linked to the Adarna bird (Ibong Adarna).
Fictional character biography
The story of Darna begins with a village girl named Narda who lives in the provincial town Barrio Masambong with his brother Ding. The siblings were orphaned and consequently adopted by their grandmother Lola Asay.
Narda loves to sing while her younger brother, Ding, plays the harmonica very well. Sometimes, Narda and Ding go from house to house and sing for the money to help their grandmother to support their daily needs.
While playing a game of "Hide and Seek" one night, Narda saw a shooting star in the night sky. The celestial object crashed into woods. Intrigued, Narda approached the site and came upon a gleaming white stone (revealed to be from the planet Marte, and containing the mystical essence of the Andranika inhabitants of same) with a strange name inscribed upon it. Impressed by its beauty, she picked it up and decided to keep it. When her playmates started looking for her, she immediately hid the white stone in her mouth to prevent her playmates from taking it from her.
The white stone came alive and went down her throat into her stomach. She began to experience psychic flashes that flooded her mind with alien images of worlds far away which caused her to fall unconscious. She was found by Lola Asay, who took her home and put her to bed.
When Narda woke up, she was back at home with her grandmother and her brother, Ding. They asked her what happened and she related her bizarre experience. When her grandmother asked her what the inscription was on the white stone she swallowed, Narda yelled ... "DARNA!"
Her grandmother and brother were both startled by a flash of light and smoke that filled the room. Where Narda once stood, there now was a tall, beautiful warrior woman. She explained to them that she was "Darna of the Planet Marte" and that she was sent to Earth to face the forces of darkness and hatred that afflicted the world. Narda was channeling the alien woman. After she assured them that she meant no harm, Darna changed back to Narda by saying the latter's name.
From then on, Darna became a constant protector of the innocent and helpless from a variety of threats and villains, the greatest superhuman champion of the Philippines, and has remained so to this day.
Darna's alter ego
Regardless of its many incarnations, the story of Darna begins with a village girl named Narda who finds a small white stone, a tiny meteorite from outer space. Narda swallows the stone and shouts "Darna," she becomes a mighty warrior ready to defend Earth from evil forces.
Mars Ravelo created a second alter-ego named Daria in "Si Darna at Planetman" serialized in Holiday Komiks in 1969. For the first time Darna transformed into Daria in the third issue of Si Darna at ang Planetman. Daria is a grown up version of Narda.
- Valentina ("goddess of the snakes/serpents")
- Kobra (Lord of Serpents)
- Babaeng Linta (Lutgarda the Leech Woman)
- Babaeng Tuod (Lucifera the Wood Witch; Lucifera the Tree Monster)
- The Planet Women
- Babaeng Lawin (Armida – the Robotic Hawk Woman)
- Babaeng Gagamba (Secretary Rizza Miranda at the Hospicio residence)
- Ms. Luna (Manananggal)
- Braguda (the Queen of Darkness and ruler of the Anomalkas, Planet Marte's Evil underground dwelling race)
- Nosforamus (Grim Reaper & right-hand man of Braguda)
- Dr. Zombie (Mad Scientist/Re-Animator of corpses)
- Black Mercury/Black Darna\
- Sulfura (Human Volcano)
- Molecula (Toxic Woman)
- Mambabarang (Lord of Insects and Pests)
Powers and abilities
Darna's original powers: enhanced levels of hand-to-hand fighting skills and excel in various forms of combat. flight, super strength, super speed and nigh-invulnerability . In the 2003 retcon, the latest releases of the comic, this is due to her psionic background. Thus a form of telekinesis enhances her speed and strength and allows her flight. Her skin has a high level of invulnerability because of her species. Her psionic abilities also allow her to exercise limited psionic influence or telepathy. For weapons, the ruby encrusted in the winged medallion on her helmet also augments her psionic abilities, allowing her to emit a powerful concussion blast and the medallions that make up her belt can be used like throwing stars (shuriken). In the 2005 TV series, she also has heat vision, lent by the ruby.
Narda transforms into Darna, and vice versa, by shouting out their respective names (Darna to become Darna, Narda to become Narda). First, however, Narda has to swallow the white stone, which conveniently comes out of her mouth every time Darna changes back into herself. However, it was not so in her comic incarnations, it started in Vilma Santos 1973 Lipad, Darna, Lipad! ( Fly, Darna, Fly. (see below). Without the stone in her mouth she can say the name of whichever form she is not using without automatically changing.
In the 2009 version, Darna's bracers can produce flames when Darna focuses her energy enough and cause friction by brushing both braces against each other.
The White Stone
The magical white stone is a small stone mineral that contains unknown properties that grants numerous abilities to whoever wears or swallows it. Its appearance usually takes form of a small white pebble that occasionally glows. This can be theorized that the stone is also a sentient material capable of feeling and judgement.
Although the original comicbook lore as written by Mars Ravelo himself does not go into detail about the origins of the magic white stone itself(other than the Darna entity contained within came from "The Planet Marte), other iterations of Darna that came up decades later did their own spins of how the magic white stone came to be.
Little is known about Darna's origin, but the stone came from heaven like a meteorite until it is immediately found by a little girl named Narda.
In the 2009 version, whoever inherits the stone and don the helm of Darna will inherit the following abilities:
- Superhuman Strength and Senses - The ability to enhance the physical strength of its bearer to unimaginable scales. This ability can be used to jump in unusual high distances and can be used to lift extremely heavy objects etc. This is the original ability Darna that was retained after the four original antagonist tried to absorbed the power of the stone.
- Shield / Superhuman Invulnerability - The White stone grants its bearer a strong defense barrier that can able to withstand strong attacks and blowws. When Narda was a child(not taking Darna's form), the stone summoned a barrier that protected her from a bullet. Then another one is when Babaeng Tuod absorbed this ability, her external skin became near-invulnerable, strong similar to that of an iron steel. This ability were later regain by Darna.
- Ability Absorption - The White Stone grants the ability to its bearer to copy the most recent ability used by an enemy. This ability was used by the Babaeng Linta to fight Darna.
- Flight - The White stone grants the bearer the power to fly. This was later stolen by Babaeng Impakta but were later regain by Darna
- Speed - The White stone grants the power of augment speed and agility to unimaginable scales. This was later absorbed by Babaeng Lawin but were later regain by Darna
- Magic Glamouring - Whoever swallows the stone and transformed into Darna, the human will retain her original body features such as facial and body built, but a magic aura will conceal the true form of the bearer, making it seemed like Darna is not sharing the same face as it's bearer. Therefore, nobody can recognize Darna and the bearer as the same person.
Darna's costume has varied over time, although almost all of her costume incarnations have retained some form of red bikini with a gold star in each brassiere cap, red helmet with ruby encrusted gold winged medallion, gold bracelets, golden medallion belt with a loincloth in the middle, and almost knee-high red stiletto boots.
Darna is a character that fused together the concept of the superhero with the traditions of Philippine folklore. The yellow/gold stars come from the Philippine flag, the loincloth (bahag) is a visual inspiration from native costuming, and the agimat concept come from Filipino traditions. Philippine folklore has a tradition of presenting humble, pure hearted mortals that are awarded amulets that allow them to (in a way) transform their virtues into superpowers that allow them to battle supernatural evil.
In "Darna at ang Babaing Lawin" (1952), Rosa Del Rosario wore a red bikini with white stars, white loincloth and boots, and gold belt, bracelets and helmet.
In "Darna at Ang Babaing Tuod" (1964) starring then newcomer Eva Montes was the first Darna version in gold bikini and red-trimmed costume (traditionally, Darna wears red bikini with gold stars and winged insignia). Darna sports a new much shorter hairdo.
In "Darna at ang Planetman" (1969), Gina Pareño wore a light blue bikini with red stars, gold belt with red loincloth, gold bracelets, and red helmet with ruby encrusted gold winged medallion. By then, Ravelo had added another character to his Darna universe, Daria.
Sine Pilipino got then hot young star Vilma Santos to essay the role of Darna in "Lipad, Darna, Lipad!". But the problem was, Vilma was hesitant to wear the two-piece costume. So, during their photo shoot for the publicity photos of the new Darna film, she wore the Darna costume on top of her body stocking. Directors told her if she did not take it off, they will give the role to someone else. Vilma was finally convinced by producers Douglas Quijano and William Leary to lose the body stocking and wear just the costume on the day of the press conference. The press people were surprised on seeing how sexy Vilma was in her Darna costume, which was back to the original red bikini with gold stars including the red helmet with gold winged medallion, and gold boots, bracelets and belt with red loincloth.
- In "Darna and the Giants" (1974), Vilma wore a gold bikini with red stars, red loincloth, all gold helmet, belt, boots, bracelets and choker.
- In "Darna vs. the Planetwomen" (1975), Vilma wore a dark blue bikini with red stars, gold headpiece and belt, and red loincloth, boots, bracelets and choker.
- "Darna and Ding" (1980) was the last time Vilma played Darna. Her costume this time was sexier and more revealing. Vilma wore a shiny red bra with gold stars, shiny blue shorts, white loincloth, red and gold helmet with the gold winged medallion, and gold bracelets, belt and boots. This time Ding also had his own superhero costume together with his own superpowers. He wore red long-sleeved leotard and boots, and red helmet with gold winged medallion.
In 1977, Kitchie Benedicto of KBS-9 created Darna the TV Series with then young actress Lorna Tolentino as Darna/Narda. Also in this TV version, for the first time Darna wears a one-piece costume with gold stars instead of a two-piece, red helmet with a large star in the middle of the gold winged medallion, gold bracelets with red details, and gold belt with an even larger star in the middle.
In 1979, two Darna films were made. In the parody film "Darna, Kuno?" starring Dolphy, he wore an inflating red bikini with gold dots surrounding the gold stars, all gold helmet, belt and bracelets. Brenda Del Rio, a pregnant Darna, wore the two-piece costume as well. After giving, birth Darna came back with her baby also dressed up as Darna. Lotis Key also put on the costume minus the loincloth. In "Bira, Darna, Bira!" starring Rio Locsin, she wore the classic red bikini with gold stars, red helmet with an encircled star in the middle of the gold winged medallion, and gold star bracelets, boots and star-filled medallion belt with yellow loincloth, with the addition of a gold and red choker. This time, Ding also had his own superhero costume. He wore a red mask, long sleeve shirt and boots, and blue shorts.
In the film "Darna" (1991) produced by Viva Films, Nanette Medved wore a ruby encrusted winged medallion tiara instead of the classic helmet, red bikini with gold stars, ruby encrusted gold bracelets, ruby encrusted gold medallion belt with red loincloth, and red boots with ruby encrusted gold wing insignia. In "Darna: Ang Pagbabalik" (1994), Anjanette Abayari played Darna, instead of wings on the tiara, this Darna had two leaves entwined for a headpiece. The costume was still a red bikini with the gold stars adorned with red crystals in the middle. The bracelets remained gold, the gold belt was a bit different it had a large buckle but still with a red loincloth, and the boots had gold details in them. However, the Ravelos and majority of fans wish to preserve Darna's signature look with a few design tweaks here and there from time to time.
In a cameo role in Viva Films' "Captain Barbell" (1986) Sharon Cuneta appeared as Darna. She wore a red and blue one-piece costume (the top part was red while the bottom was blue and the stomach area had red and blue stripes) with gold stars, red helmet with ruby encrusted gold winged medallion, ruby encrusted gold medallion belt with red loincloth, ruby encrusted gold bracelets, and red boots. In the Premiere Productions remake of "Captain Barbell" (2003), Regine Velasquez made a cameo appearance as Darna. She wore a red and yellow one-piece costume (it looked like a gold-trimmed red bikini with the stomach part being yellow) with yellow stars, red helmet with white stone encrusted yellow winged medallion, white stone encrusted gold medallion belt with white loincloth, white stone encrusted gold bracelets, and red boots.
Lisa Macuja in Komiks CCP Ballet as Darna (1997) wore a red and turquoise sleeveless leotard (the stomach portion was white in color) with yellow stars, red helmet with yellow winged medallion, yellow belt with black loincloth, and yellow ballerina shoes while in Darna: The Ballet (2003) Kristine Crame and Kris Belle Paclibar who alternately played Darna wore the costume. There were two versions of the costume: (1) the traditional red bikini with gold stars, red helmet with gold winged medallion, red bracelet adorned with gold medallions, gold belt and loincloth, and red ballerina shoes adorned with gold medallions (the ballerina shoes looked like boots); and (2) red bra with gold dots surrounding the gold stars, yellow shorts, red helmet adorned with a seemingly large gold bird, red bracelets and belt both with gold embellishments, and red loincloth and boots.
Darna made another cameo this time in a series of Toyota Tamaraw FX commercials in 1997, with Anjanette Abayari, portraying Darna.
In one of the issues by Super Action Komiks Darna was illustrated differently. This time she's wearing a chest and stomach-bearing red-trimmed blue one-piece with red shoulder pads, ruby encrusted gold winged medallion tiara, blue bracelets and belt, blue knee guards with yellow wings, and red boots.
Mango Comics 2003 miniseries/Angel Locsin's Darna look is also considered one of Darna's many 'official' costumes just as the original by Nestor Redondo is. Angel wore the traditional red bikini with gold stars, red helmet with the gold winged medallion, gold medallion bracelets, golden medallion belt with white loincloth in the middle, and gold-trimmed red boots. She had four helmets: (1) a1 red helmet with gold winged medallion for publicity photos of the TV series and Robitussin ad; (2) another red helmet with gold winged medallion for publicity photos of the TV series; (3) a red helmet with the ruby encrusted gold winged medallion for publicity photos of the TV series; and (4) another red helmet with the ruby encrusted gold winged medallion which she usually wore in the TV series. Angel wore the same costume in a 2006 Robitussin LiquiGel TV advertisement. In the 2005 TV series Katrina Halili also wore a Darna costume as the villain Black Darna. As the name implies, her costume was similar to Darna but in all black and gold.
Marian Rivera's Darna costume was built by fashion designer Pepsi Herrera based on the style guide costume design created by artist Bong Leal. Marian wore the traditional red bikini with gold stars but now gold-trimmed, gold-trimmed red helmet with the ruby encrusted gold winged medallion, gold bracelets and now with gold arm cuffs, golden medallion belt with gold-trimmed yellow loincloth in the middle, and gold-trimmed red stiletto boots. Darna is currently sporting this incarnation of the costume.
In the 2010 Sinenovela: Mars Ravelo's Trudis Liit television series (episode 37), Jillian Ward (who also played Captain Barbell's sidekick, Lelay/Super Tiny, in the 2011 Captain Barbell TV series) wore the traditional Darna costume while Pauleen Luna wore a Valentina costume similar to the one worn by Alessandra De Rossi in the 2005 Darna TV series. In a dream sequence Jillian portrayed Darna and defeated Valentina portrayed by Pauleen.
In other media
Darna films (1951-1994)
|Year||Title||Directed by||Produced by||Played Darna / Narda|
|1951||Darna||Fernando Poe, Sr.||Royal Films||Rosa Del Rosario / Mila Nimfa|
|1952||Darna at ang Babaing Lawin||Carlos Vander Toloso||Royal Films||Rosa Del Rosario / Mila Nimfa|
|1963||Si Darna at ang Impakta||Danilo Santiago||Peoples Pictures, Inc.||Liza Moreno|
|1964||Isputnik vs. Darna||Natoy Catindíg||Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions||Liza Moreno|
|1965||Darna at ang Babaing Tuod||Cirio H. Santiago||Premiere Productions||Eva Montes / Connie Angeles|
|1969||Si Darna at ang Planetman||Marcelino Navarro||Vera Perez Productions||Gina Pareño (also played Daria) / Gina Alajar|
|1973||Lipad, Darna, Lipad!||Emmanuel Borlaza, Elwood Perez and Joey Gosiengfiao||Sine Pilipino||Vilma Santos|
|1974||Darna and the Giants||Maning Borlaza||Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions||Vilma Santos|
|1975||Darna vs the Planet Women||Aramando Garces||Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions||Vilma Santos|
|1979||Darna, Kuno? (A parody film of Darna)||Luciano B. Carlos||Regal Films||Dolphy, Brenda Del Rio and Lotis Key|
|1979||Bira, Darna, Bira!||Tito Sanchez||MBM Productions||Rio Locsin|
|1980||Darna at Ding||J. Erastheo Navoa and Cloyd Robinson||D'Wonder Films||Vilma Santos|
|1991||Darna||Joel Lamangan||Viva Films||Nanette Medved (Francine Prieto played the young Narda)|
|1994||Mars Ravelo's Darna! Ang Pagbabalik||Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes||Viva Films||Anjanette Abayari|
|2020||Darna||Jerrold Tarog||Star Cinema||Jane de Leon|
Darna in the 1950s
Over the years, Darna has appeared in many films. The superheroine’s popularity skyrocketed in 1951, when Royal Films produced a film version. Since then, a total of 14 films have been made portraying Darna and endless serialized stories in different comic books followed. Two Darna films were made by Royal Films, both starring Rosa del Rosario in Darna (1951) and Darna at ang Babaing Lawin (1952). A year after Darna was first serialized in 1950 in Bulaklak Komiks, Filipinos witnessed the first marvelous flight of Darna in the big screen. The Fernando Poe Sr. directorial starred Rosa Del Rosario as Darna and Cristina Aragon as the supervillain Valentina, while Mila Nimfa portrayed the young Narda and Manuel Ubaldo played the role of Ding, Narda’s little brother. The film was a huge box-office success. The 1952 film was based on Darna at ang Babaing Lawin (Pilipino Komiks No.120 January 5, 1952). In Eric Cueto's interview with Rosa in the Official Mars Ravelo Darna website, she revealed that in her flying scenes in Darna, she was actually flying over Quiapo with the aid of a helicopter. She was suspended in the air with help of cables attached to her body and the helicopter. All her flying scenes were shot at night to hide the cables. She nearly crashed on Quiapo church in one of her flying scenes.
Darna in the 1960s
In the early 1960s, two more Darna films were made, starring Liza Moreno as Darna with Danilo Jurado as Ding in Si Darna at ang Impakta (1963) produced by People's Pictures, Inc. It was very atmospheric and true to its comics serial roots. Darna's origin is once again retold on the big screen. The role of Roma was first played by Gina Alonzo who also played Lucy ang Babaeng Tuod in Si Darna at ang Babaing Tuod (1965) while Paquito Salcedo played the evil twin.
A new Pinoy superhero was introduced in 1963, Ang Babaeng Isputnik, portrayed by Nida Blanca and directed by Efren Reyes. It was immediately followed by Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions's Isputnik vs. Darna a year later. Liza Moreno starred again as Darna and was pitted against another superhero named Isputnik played by Nida Blanca.
In 1965, Cirio H. Santiago, who eventually became one of the most influential Filipino directors here and abroad, directed the first Darna film in full color produced by People's Pictures Inc., Si Darna at and Babaing Tuod was shown to the public—this time then newcomer Eva Montes was tapped for the role. Eva also played Dyesebel's daughter, Alona, in the 1964 film Anak ni Dyesebel. This version was vastly different from Ravelo's original tale. This was also the only Darna film that focused more on the villain than on the hero. Darna appeared in the film only three times. In one of her later interviews, Eva revealed that this was because Gina Alonzo, who played the villain Lucilla, ang Babaing Tuod, was being groomed by People's Pictures, Inc. to be its next big star.
Gina Pareño portrayed the role in Vera Perez Productions' own version of Darna in Si Darna at ang Planetman (1969). In the film, Gina Pareño played both Darna and Daria, while Narda was played by the young Gina Alajar. Darna also fell in love for the first time in this film. She fell for a man who turned out to be the Planetman whom she had to defeat.
Darna in the 1970s and 1980s: Vilma's Darna
In the 1970s films with Vilma Santos as Darna are iconic, influencing people’s perception of the character for some 30 years afterwards. In these films, Darna is already a teenager and she has to swallow the stone each time she transforms, as it comes out of her mouth whenever she changes back to Narda. Her home planet was not named. Lipad, Darna, Lipad! (1973) is the first and only trilogy of the superheroine. On March 23, 1973, Darna breaks all box-office record. It was the highest grossing Darna film in Philippine film history and considered a turning point in Vilma's career. On the opening day of the film, the cast gave away free Darna dolls. Coca-Cola also promoted the film by giving away Darna characters mask. It was also the first Darna film where Darna and Narda were played by the same actress. Unfortunately, there is no existing copy left of this classic film. The line “Ding, ang bato!” (“Ding, [give me] the stone!") from the film "Lipad, Darna, Lipad", became a favorite catchphrase, though it was not in the original komiks. The film had three episodes: (1) "Impakta" directed by Maning Borlaza. It starred Gloria Romero as Miss Luna, a school teacher who has a dark secret. She is actually a flying flesh eater creature at night; (2) "Babaing Ahas" directed by Elwood Perez. It starred Celia Rodriguez as Valentina, a campy supermodel/gorgon. One scene has the actress naked in bed being caressed by a dozen snakes; and (3) "Babaing Lawin" (Hawk Woman) starring Liza Lorena as Babaing Lawin and Rod Dasco as Aguila directed by Joey Gosiengfiao.
Vilma starred in three more Darna films: Darna and the Giants (1974)" and Darna vs. the Planetwomen (1975), which were both under Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions, and Darna and Ding (1980) with child wonder Niño Muhlach as Ding under Niño Muhlach's D'Wonder Films.
Darna and the Giants was the continuation of Vilma's first Darna film and Darna again wore the red and gold bikini costume. The giants were played by Divina Valencia and Ike Lozada. Helen Gamboa played the villainess Alien Warrior Queen X3X. X3X together with her alien minions terrorizes Narda's village and captures several of the townsfolk and transforming them into mindless giants who go on a rampage across the countryside in the hopes of conquering the Earth.
Darna vs. the Planetwomen was a rebooted version of the Darna origin, with Vilma's Narda this time portrayed as a crippled teenager who was given a magical stone by a mysterious source. The Planet Women, a band of bikini-clad space amazons who are each coded with a different shade of primary-hued body paint consisted on Noche, Elektra played by Rossana Ortiz (come armed with a shopping list of Earth scientists whom they plan to abduct, setting stage for the most of the film's action, which involves Darna's efforts to thwart those abductions), Orang played by Eva Linda, Maia and Kara.
Darna and Ding was the last time Vilma played Darna. For the first time, Ding was mentioned in the title. The film begins with a pre-credit sequence recounting Darna's origin. Apparently the notion of Darna's alter-ego having a bum leg, introduced in "Darna vs. the Planet Women", has since been abandoned. In this film, Darna was joined by Ding who now has his own superpowers. Niño also played Darna in this film. Also, Lito Anzurez stole the magic stone and transformed into Darna. Dr. Irene Vontesberg played by Marissa Delgado in an eye-flashing performance addressing a past injustice by raising the recently dead and setting them upon the villagers. This provides for a lot of creepy moments. Veronica Jones played Babaeng Lawin. As is typical of the series, "Darna and Ding" shows Narda's tiny rural village to be the locus of every imaginable kind of extraterrestrial, criminal and paranormal activity—and shambling, green slime slobbering ghouls. Vilma displayed her faux kung fu skills, but then it takes a darker turn, with one of the cons gunning down an innocent bystander. Much as with Dr. Vontesberg, there seems to be a tragic dimension to Lei Ming, as she follows many of her acts of evil with extended crying jags. Darna and Ding's final episode sees the pair following a trail of missing children to the doorstep of Lei Ming, an evil Chinese sorceress played—in a yet another eye-flashing performance by Celia.
Darna in the 1970s: the male Darnas
Chiquito was the first male Darna in Philippine films. In Vilma Santos' film "Terribol Dobol" (1974), he played the superhero in a short scene. He was considered the arch-rival of Comedy King Dolphy, who later on also played Darna and Captain Barbell. In 1979, Regal Films made a spoof of the Darna films titled "Darna, Kuno?". In this film, there were actually three Darnas: Dolphy, Brenda del Rio and Lotis Key. Brenda's part was first offered to Vilma Santos. The story is about a poor underdog man played by Dolphy. The real Darna played by '70s starlet Brenda Del Rio got pregnant by Japanese anime robots Mazinger Z and Voltes V. Because of the pregnancy someone had to take Darna’s place temporarily as the superheroine. Darna let the character of Dolphy borrow her magical stone and will take it back as soon as she gives birth. Dolphy as Darna Kuno also encountered different kinds of Filipino folklore characters like tikbalangs (half-man and half-horse creatures), aswangs and many more. Lotis Key as Annabel also put on the Darna costume minus the sash. She found out the truth about Darna Kuno's secret identity and stole the magical stone. At the end of the film, Dolphy and Lotis battled a group of aliens and defeated them. The real Darna came back with her baby also dressed up as Darna and took back her stone. A few months after Dolphy's Darna parody, MBM Productions presented its own Darna film, “Bira, Darna, Bira!” starring Rio Locsin. This is the only Darna film that did not do well in box-office. Narda also became a high-class model in this film.
Darna in the 1990s
Viva Films produced another film adaptation simply titled Darna (1991), and was directed by Joel Lamangan. Half-Russian, half-Filipina actress Nanette Medved played the Darna role. Then nine-year-old Francine Prieto (under her real name Anna Marie Falcon; she also starred in the 2009 Darna TV series as Babaeng Tuod) played the young Narda. Nanette portrayed Narda as a model working in Manila and Darna with reference to Wonder Woman's ability to block bullets with her bracelets. This started the accusation that Darna was a Wonder Woman rip-off. Darna's costume was also altered in this film. From the helmet that Darna used to wear in past films, she now wore a tiara with wings. She had two brothers in this film, Ding and Dong.
After appearing in a TV commercial for an automobile company as Darna (with fellow beauty queens Alma Concepcion and Daisy Reyes, both also wearing Darna costumes), Filipina-American and dethroned Bb. Pilipinas-Universe 1991 Anjanette Abayari was chosen by Viva Films to play its latest version of Darna in "Darna: Ang Pagbabalik" (1994). Anjanette's Darna The DVD was released in Hong Kong and the rest of Asia and has English subtitles as well as Chinese subtitles, making it one of the most accessible of the Darna films (dialogue is still in the original Filipino). The film was also responsible for finally naming Narda's grandmother; Narda referred to her as "Lola Isabel" (Grandmother Isabel), and it is part of her continuity now. Although the grandmother was named Lola Asay in the early versions of the comics serial, she wasn't named in the previous film. Anjanette appeared again as Darna in a cameo in "Ang Pagbabalik ni Pedro Penduko" (1994) starring Janno Gibbs.
Cameos and abandoned projects
In a cameo role of Viva Films' "Captain Barbell" (1986) starring Herbert Bautista and Edu Manzano, Sharon Cuneta appeared as Darna. It was supposed to be Cuneta's promotion for her own full-length Darna film. However, she declined the project later due to the excessive requirements of the role. Back then, there were no invisible wires to lift Darna in the air, so an actress would need to lie down, head first, while a long piece of iron would hold her tight on both sides of her body.
In the Premiere Productions remake of "Captain Barbell" (2003), starring Ogie Alcasid and Bong Revilla, Asia's Songbird Regine Velasquez made a cameo appearance in a dream sequence as Darna which she reprised in her concert tour "The Singer and the Songwriter" the following year. The singer subsequently visited the U.S. as part of the tour, with one of the performance numbers had her wearing a two-piece Darna costume while singing the songs from the "Captain Barbell" film. Ogie Alcasid (who played Barbell's alter ego Enteng dubbed as the songwriter) accompanied her and wore the Captain Barbell costume during their song number. Like Cuneta, Velasquez was supposed to portray as Darna in her own full-length film but it was cancelled as well.
Darna TV series
1977 TV series
The comic book superheroine also found its way to the small screen. The first Darna TV series was created by Ketchie Benedicto and starred by Lorna Tolentino as Darna/Narda. It was aired on KBS 9 (RPN 9).
2005 TV series
In 2004, executives of GMA Network and Hugo Yonzon, current license holder of Darna and head of Mango Comics, signed a licensing agreement for a new Darna television series. In 2005, they tapped Angel Locsin to play Darna after the success of the TV series Mulawin where she played one of the lead roles. Locsin had to learn wushu, kung fu and other fighting techniques even as she mastered the art of flying and display Darna's superpowers. The second Darna series premiered in both the Philippines and Japan on April 11, 2005, and garnered a 47.1% rating according to the data gathered by market research company AGB, making it one of the highest rated pilot episode ever in Philippine television.
During the fourth episode, Locsin's Darna portrayal made TV history when it garnered 52.1% overnight ratings according to AGB, the highest rating yet for the show because this was the episode when Narda transforms into Darna for the first time. The television series directed by Dominic Zapata and Eric Quizon ended on Friday, November 25, 2005. Captain Barbell (wearing a costume similar to Bong Revilla's Captain Barbell) guest-starred in the last episode of the Darna TV series. He played a significant role by helping Darna. But his face was not shown, rather, only the "CB" sign on his chest was focused since GMA 7 has not decided yet who will take the role, and they intentionally did it to drum beat the promotions for the upcoming Captain Barbell TV series.
A lot of changes and new material were added for this incarnation of Darna. The show follows the original version's storyline with Narda finding the stone as a child, but she only becomes Darna and discovers her powers at age eighteen. It also follows the 2003 Mango Comics version in making Darna part of an alien race (the Adranika of Marte) who fought another alien race of serpent people (called the Anomalka) and the first to acknowledge the origins of the stone as coming from the planet Marte, instead of simply hinting it was a "gift from God" or something an angel gave Narda. A new other-dimensional world has been introduced—"Kanlungan Adran" (Adran's Cradle), a mystical world in another dimension created by the Adranika race of Marte and known only to a very few. Many new allies and enemies were invented for the show, as well as more backstory. Notably, Narda and Valentina (the product of hybrid impregnation of an Earth woman by an Anomalkan creature sent by Braguda) are half-sisters while Ding has been killed. In the story, the Black Darna is a result of Narda's release of all her pent-up emotions. Another Mars Ravelo's creation "Dyesebel" (portrayed by Ara Mina) made a guest appearance in the series for the very first time.
Four actresses who previously played Darna were involved in the TV series:
- Gina Pareño (Darna and the Planetman, 1969) appeared as Darna's grandmother.
- Rio Locsin (Bira, Darna, Bira, 1979) appeared as the wife of Dr. Zombie, one of the villains.
- Lorna Tolentino (Darna in 1977 TV series) portrayed Queen Adran of Marte.
- Regine Velasquez (portrayed Darna in Captain Barbell, 2003) sang the theme song of the series, "Di Na Nag-iisa" (composed by Jay Durias of South Border). She also provided the voice clip of shouting "Darna!" for use in the TV series.
2009 TV series
After the success of the second Darna TV series in 2005 with Angel Locsin as the lead role, GMA Network confirms that the rights of Darna is still theirs along with Captain Barbell and Dyesebel. On January 2008, it was announced that GMA Network decided to make another version of the Darna TV series but this time, it will be along with Captain Barbell. But due to schedule conflicts of Richard Gutierrez, everything was shelved. Also, Locsin has already transferred to ABS-CBN (the rival station of GMA Network) in 2007. "Captain Barbell Meets Darna" was a supposed primetime series which would have been aired on GMA but was later split into two series: The return of "Captain Barbell" for a second season and the reimagined version of "Darna".
GMA Network, along with the Ravelo's copyright holders of the character, has unanimously chosen Marian Rivera as Darna. It was said by Wilma Galvante, the SVP for Entertainment TV, in an interview that the new Darna should be a real star because it is a prime role. Mark Herras was considered for the lead male role of Eduardo, but Mark Anthony Fernandez won the part. Regine Velasquez (who previously portrayed Darna in the 2003 "Captain Barbell" film) was again involved in the series. Like the 2005 TV series, she also provided the voice clip of shouting "Darna!", and later played a villain called Elektra, the Planet Woman in the 2nd season.
GMA Network announced that the new styled Darna would be a mirror to Marian Rivera's personality, possibly featuring more comedy flavor into the drama plot. Rivera is best known for her roles as the leads in the Philippine adaptation of MariMar and another Mars Ravelo creation, Dyesebel. Marian went through rigid physical and mental training for her role and also started to train in the Chinese martial art wushu. She was about to start her fighting routines with an expert and also to be trained on harness. Unfortunately, it was postponed due to conflicts on schedule. Also, Galvante confirmed that Captain Barbell, another Mars Ravelo's creation, is going to be shown in the series. However, it did not push through, so a new character named Pancho (Narda's childhood friend from orphanage and love interest played by Dennis Trillo) was introduced instead.
The rebooted superhero TV series directed by Dominic Zapata and Don Michael Perez premiered on August 10, 2009. Marian Rivera soared high as Darna. The series' 44.1 percent pilot rating is Rivera's second highest primetime-series opening, after Dyesebel's 44.9%. But it cannot be denied that Locsin's version of Darna made history when it reached 52.1% on its fourth episode, where she appeared in a Darna costume for the first time. That figure was the highest rating achieved by any GMA-7 show at that time.
Song in a story depiction
- "Hindi Ako si Darna" (1998)
- Filipino version of "Superwoman" popularized by Karyn White
- Performed by: Jenine Desiderio
- "Narda" (2005)
- Composed and Performed by: Kamikazee (2009 TV series OST)
- "Mamaw" (2005)
- Performed by Michael V. (2009 TV series OST)
- "Time In" (2007)
- Performed by: Yeng Constantino
- "Di Na Nag-iisa" (2005)
- Performed by Regine Velasquez - Love theme from the 2005 Darna television series. This song was officially released by Universal Records in Regine Velasquez' Motion Picture Soundtrack, "Till I Met You". A 2nd version of "Di Na Nag-Iisa"(Acoustic version) appears on this same album.
- "Di Na Magigisa" (2005)
- Performed by Michael V.
- "Darna, Ikaw Na" (2020)
- Performed by Daryl Ong (2020 Movie OST)
Angel Locsin also appeared as Darna in a 2006 Robitussin LiquiGel TV advertisement wearing her Darna costume from the 2005 TV series. It was directed by Avid Liongoren. The story started with a giant monster attacking a village. Narda was about to transform into Darna but was interrupted by her cough so she shouted only half of the name (Dar ... ). She was then seen holding a LiquiGel capsule which she swallowed to transform into Darna. She rescued some bystander first before defeating the giant monster to death.
Darna has also been portrayed in ballet productions by Ballet Philippines. In 1997 Prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde first danced the part of Darna in Comics: The Ballet in celebration of Darna’s golden anniversary. Another ballet was produced in August 1–17, 2003 by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). In this version, entitled Darna: The Ballet, Kristine Crame and Kris Belle Paclibar alternately danced the part of Darna while the singing is done by Valentina (she has a haunting solo that, says Chin-Chin Gutierrez who plays the role alternating with Tex Ordoñez, speaks of loneliness and longing and shows that she’s not all bad) and her Boy Toys, the bad guys of the production. Mica Bernas played Narda.
The 50-year-old story of poor girl Narda transformed into super-heroine Darna gets a 21st-century shot in the arm, via not just updated production values but a new stage treatment.
"Why Darna? We need somebody that we can identify as our own, something that everyone can easily relate to," says director and librettist Chris Millado. "This dance musical will re-introduce a 50-year-old super-heroine. Now she’s a contemporary character, still on the side of good. Most importantly, she’s Filipino."
De La Salle College of St. Benilde's Arts and Culture Cluster of the School of Design and Arts mounted yet another version entitled DING, ANG BATO! in May 14 to 21, 2018, at the SDA Theater on Pablo Ocampo St. In this dance musical <marketing collateral materials >redux of “Darna” the quintessential Filipina super heroine grapples with the irascible serpent queen Valentina who used to be her childhood friend. Darna’s encounter with Valentina flung the two friends, now arch-enemies, into fantastic realms of urban dystopia that make them confront their brightest and darkest selves. The story is told from the point of view of Darna’s brother Ding, born deaf, who accompanies her in the journey of empowerment. This millennial version of “Darna” put audiences right in the middle of a heady theatrical brew of original Pinoy pop culture, energetic physical theater, poetic syncretism of sign language and dance, and inventive digital multimedia.Choreographed by Denisa Reyes and Ernest Mandap, Filipino Sign Language was seamlessly interwoven into the choreography. In fact, the whole production used sign language and spoken dialog without the necessity of an interpreter so that both hearing and deaf audiences could experience the narrative.
Director and Librettist Chris Millado, Choreographers Denisa Reyes & Ernest Mandap and Music Composer Ejay Yatco & Jef Flores – all award winning, led the collaboration between professional and student musical theater performers, dance majors, singers, and multimedia practitioners of the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde’s School of Design and Arts.
The production reunited the team with Benilde’s Dance Chair Christine Crame who deftly reprised the role of Darna from the production that first saw ‘flight’ at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Main Theater in 2003 and is now devised for contemporary audiences. Stage and TV actor Natasha Cabrera inhabits the role of Valentina. Olivia Bugayong alternates with Crame for Darna while Dani Idea alternates for Valentina.
Joining the stellar creative team are renowned arts professionals Tuxqs Rutaquio as Production Designer, Jay Aranda as Lighting Designer and Technical Director, Joee Mejias as Projection Designer, Aji Manalo as Sound Designer, and Sunita S. Mukhi as dramaturg, and artistic producer<marketing collaterals written by Benilde's Arts and Culture Cluster>.
Art and literature
Darna Komiks is a komiks magasin first published by Pilipino Komiks, Inc. and continued by Atlas Publishing Co., Inc. Its maiden issue appeared on February 3, 1968, with Ruben R. Marcelino as Editor. Its title was named after Darna, a komiks character created by the great Mars Ravelo.
In children’s literature, Edgar Samar wrote a story entitled “Uuwi na ang Nanay kong si Darna” which won the PBBY-Salanga Writer’s Prize in 2002 and was illustrated by Russell Molina, who won the PBBY Illustrator’s Prize.
As well as comics and films, Darna has also been the subject of a series of national stamps released in the Philippines. A number of great artists were included like Nestor Redondo. The Darna issue 3 cover that Gilbert Monsanto did for Mango comics was one of the images.
On-screen actresses and actors
Rosa del Rosario held the distinction of being the first actress to play the first Filipino superheroine on screen. Vilma Santos and Marian Rivera are the only two actresses who played two of Mars Ravelo's komiks characters respectively, namely Darna and Dyesebel with Vilma having played Darna four times. Vilma made a total of four films in a span of seven years playing both Narda and Darna.
Official list of actresses who played Darna
|No.||Actress||Title and Year||Notes|
|1||Rosa del Rosario||Darna (1951)|
Darna at ang Babaing Lawin (1952)
|2||Liza Moreno||Si Darna at ang Impakta (1963) |
Isputnik vs. Darna (1963)
|3||Eva Montes||Darna at ang Babaing Tuod (1965)|
|4||Gina Pareño||Darna at ang Planetman (1969)|
|5||Vilma Santos||Lipad, Darna, Lipad! (1973)|
Darna and the Giants (1973)
Darna vs the Planet Women (1975)
Darna and Ding (1980)
|6||Lorna Tolentino||Darna (1977)||TV series|
|7||Rio Locsin||Bira, Darna, Bira! (1979)|
|8||Sharon Cuneta||Captain Barbell (1986)||Cameo|
|9||Nanette Medved||Darna (1991)|
|10||Anjanette Abayari||Darna: Ang Pagbabalik (1994)|
|11||Regine Velasquez||Captain Barbell (2003)||Cameo|
|12||Angel Locsin||Mars Ravelo's Darna (2005)||TV series (170 episodes)|
|13||Marian Rivera||Mars Ravelo's Darna (2009)||TV series (140 episodes)|
|14||Jane de Leon||Darna (2020)||Pre-production|
- Chiquito in "Terribol Dobol" (1974) – the first male Darna.
- Dolphy in "Darna, Kuno?" (1979) – the second male Darna.
- Brenda del Rio in "Darna, Kuno?" (1979) – a pregnant Darna.
- Lotis Key in "Darna, Kuno?" (1979) – a fake Darna.
- Niño Muhlach in "Darna and Ding" (1980) – another male Darna.
- Katrina Halili in "Mars Ravelo's Darna" (2005 TV series)" – the first Black Darna.
- Tetchie Agbayani in "Hindi Ako Si Darna" (2017 theatre play) – an old Darna.
Darna under GMA Network
According to a news article in September 2004, GMA's Film division planned to produce a Darna film in addition to the 2005 TV series. Wilma Galvez of GMA 7 wanted a different actress for the film version and had reportedly offered the role to Regine Velasquez who previously portrayed Darna in "Captain Barbell" (2003). However, the production of the project did not come to fruition.
After the end of the Captain Barbell 2006 TV series, GMA 7 aired a teaser hinting the coming of a joint series, "Captain Barbell Meets Darna". The Internet Movie Database website (www.imdb.com) posted the same title – "Captain Barbell Meets Darna" – which would supposedly led by Dingdong Dantes and Karylle sometime in late 2007, but it did not materialize. In January 2008, it was announced that GMA Network decided to make another version of the Darna TV series but this time, it would be along with Captain Barbell. It would have starred by Richard Gutierrez as Captain Barbell and either Rhian Ramos, Jackie Rice or Marian Rivera as Darna. But due to schedule conflicts of Richard Gutierrez who was busy with other projects, everything was shelved. Also, Angel Locsin has already transferred to the rival network ABS-CBN in 2007. It didn’t materialize as well. "Captain Barbell Meets Darna" was a supposed primetime series which would have been aired on GMA but was later split into two series: The return of Captain Barbell for a second season where Richard Gutierrez reprised the role of Captain Barbell and the reimagined version of Darna where Marian Rivera portrayed Darna.
Darna under ABS-CBN
In 2013, The Ravelo family gave ABS-CBN the rights to the characters created by Mars Ravelo in an agreement in 2013. ABS-CBN officially acquired the exclusive rights to 13 Mars Ravelo titles including Dyesebel, Darna, and Captain Barbell. Darna was first announced in 2013 by Star Cinema, and Erik Matti was revealed to direct the film. In October 2013, Star Cinema managing director Malou Santos confirmed that actress Angel Locsin, who portrayed Darna in the 2005 GMA teleserye, would be reprising the role of the iconic superhero in an upcoming Darna film produced by the ABS-CBN film outfit and Reality Entertainment, five months after the network earned the rights to Darna and 12 other Ravelo characters. During an interview with ABS-CBN, Angel said that the yet untitled Darna film was one of the biggest projects ever done by the film company.
Two years later, Locsin pulled out of the Darna project. On October 26, 2015, Locsin stated on her Instagram account that she could no longer play Darna. According to a press statement from ABS-CBN, the actress was dealing with health concerns. Angel developed a disc bulge in her spine due to strenuous training. On July 2016, Star Cinema has refrained in making any casting announcements. Matti has also opted to move on to a new project for the time being instead of pushing for "Darna" to continue production. On the photo posted on The Rodmagaru Show, it is confirmed that Darna has continued in production.
Angel Locsin was supposed to reprise her role as Darna. However, Locsin developed a disc bulge in her spine and was soon considered a minor handicap because of her injury; as a result she chose to leave the project. Locsin also clarified on her Instagram account that ABS-CBN had already chosen the actress for Darna, but did not mention her name. On an interview with Spot.ph, Matti said that they have already found an actress for the role but still it isn't final. On September 1, on a dinner get-together hosted by ABS-CBN President-CEO Carlo Katigbak for the officer and members of Professional Artist Managers, Inc. (PAMI) and with other business unit heads of ABS-CBN network, Malou Santos officially confirmed that Locsin will reprise her role as Darna. ABS-CBN executives had been eyeing Locsin to reprise the role as they could not find any other suitable actress to replace her. Thus, they waited until Locsin was fully healed and given clearance for the role. However, in March 2017, Locsin stated that she will be unable to play the title role and had dropped out of the project due to health and safety reasons. Meanwhile, twelve actresses were considered as replacements for Locsin. Such included the likes of Liza Soberano, Nadine Lustre, Julia Montes, Sarah Geronimo, Maja Salvador, Pia Wurtzbach, Arci Muñoz, Jessy Mendiola, KC Concepcion, Yassi Pressman, Anne Curtis, Kathryn Bernardo and Ritz Azul. In May 2017, it was announced that Liza Soberano will replace Locsin. But, in April 2019, Soberano decided to withdraw the project due to a finger bone injury she acquired during production for the network's 2018 TV series Bagani Meanwhile, ABS-CBN had begun casting on a new actress. In July 2019, it was announced that Jane de Leon will replace Soberano.
|Varga||Bulaklak Magazine Vol. 4 #17 (July 23, 1947); #1 (1947-1948)|
|Darna||Pilipino Komiks #1-28; #77 (May 13, 1950); #78 (May 27, 1950); #81 (July 8, 1950);#87 (September 30, 1950); #99 (March 17, 1951)|
|Darna at ang Babaing Lawin||Pilipino Komiks #120 (1951-January 5, 1952)|
|Darna at ang Impakta||Kenkoy Komiks (Sept. 12, 1962-1963)|
|Darna at ang Babaing Tuod||Liwayway Magazine (May 25, 1964 – 1965)|
|Darna||Darna Komiks-Magasin #27 (February 3, 1969); #964 (October 12, 1967)|
|Darna at ang Babaing Linta||Darna Komiks-Magasin #3 (March 3, 1968 – 1969)|
|Darna at ang Planetman||Holiday Komiks-Magasin (Oct. 1968-1969)|
|Darna and the Time Machine||Kampeon Komiks (1975)|
|Darna Versus Santanina Dayabolika||Kampeon Komiks (1977-1978)|
|Darna at ang Black Widow||Ravelo Magazine (Feb. 14, 1980-1981)|
|Darna vs. Dyangga||Darna Komiks (Jan. 21, 1985)|
|Darna at ang Taong Diablo||(Nov. 11, 1985)|
|Darna at ang Hiwaga ng Nawawalang Hukay||Darna Komiks (June 1986)|
|Darna and the Genie||Darna Komiks (Jan. 8,1980)|
|Darna vs. the Warlock||Darna Komiks (June 25, 1990)|
|Darna sa Gitna ng Pag-ibig at Panganib||Darna Komiks (Aug. 3, 1991)|
|Darna||Darna Komiks #1217 (Aug. 17, 1992)|
|Darna vs. Zumarna||Darna Komiks #1275 (September 27, 1993)|
|Darna vs. the Black Mercury||Darna Komiks (Feb. 14, 1994)|
|Darna Ang Pagbabalik||Darna Komiks (April-Dec. 4, 1995)|
|Darna vs. Araknido||Darna Komiks Magazine (Aug. 12, 1996)|
|Darna at ang Toxic Monster||Super Action Komics #7 (1999)|
|Darna sa Bingit ng Panganib||Super Action Komics (1999)|
|Paano Kung May Tatlong Darna?||Super Action Komics|
|Darna||Mango Comics #1 (Feb. 28, 2003); #2 (May 7, 2003); #3 (Dec. 13, 2003)|
|Pilipino Komiks||Pilipino Komiks #119 (December 22, 1951)|
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- "IN PHOTOS: 13 actresses who played Darna". ABS-CBN News. ABS-CBN Corporation. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- Ernee Lawagan. "Ernee's Corner". Retrieved 10 June 2015.
- History Archived 2012-07-07 at the Wayback Machine marsravelodarna.net
- Ernee Lawagan. "Ernee's Corner". Retrieved 10 June 2015.
- Ernee Lawagan. "Ernee's Corner". Retrieved 10 June 2015.
- Varga internationalhero.co.uk
- DARNA 1950 REVISITED: UNANG LABAS (THE ORIGIN OF DARNA) video48
- The Birth of Pinoy Superheroes Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine pep.ph
- Darna (1977) TV series superheroeslives.com
- Darna supersexyheroines.com
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