In case you’ve been living under a rock, news regarding The Mortal Instruments‘ transition from film franchise to television series has been the hot topic in the fandom this past week.
Cassandra Clare took to Tumblr to answer some more questions about The Mortal Instruments television series, including her thoughts on if the original film cast might return for the show, where they might pick up in regards to City of Bones or City of Ashes and the future of an Infernal Devices show.
On learning about TMI TV series:
Well, here’s the thing. I pretty much know what you do. I knew there was discussion about whether to continue with making TMI films or explore the avenue of television. I didn’t know about the definite decision, or who the writer/show runner would be until it was announced at Mipcom and reported in the Hollywood Reporter.
I have no idea what channel it will be on, or what countries it will be shown in (though I have seen some fretting that it will be “only in the US” which seems wildly unlikely since the production company isn’t even American) and no idea at all about …
On if the film’s cast will return for the television show:
So clearly the biggest question about the TV show is “Will they keep the same cast from the film?”
And the answer is unfortunately I don’t know.
I mean, I can look at the history of television. There are hundreds of movies that were adapted into television shows, some based on books (Friday Night Lights) some not (Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) I can think of only one where they kept anyone from the feature film, and that’s MASH, in which Radar was played by the same actor in the film and the show.
Now that I look at what I just said, I see I’ve made somewhat the same phrasing mistake I see all over, which is about whether they’ll “keep the cast” as if the cast definitively wanted to be in the show, when I am pretty sure none of us knows any such thing. So there’s that.
Now keep in mind I have absolutely no idea whether the cast wants to return, and no idea what the plans of the production company are — but usually the cast of a feature film changes when it becomes television because 1) movie actors often don’t want to do TV 2) contractual obligations can prevent it 3) they may have other commitments that would prevent them from being able to do something as time-consuming as television 4) the ages of the characters in the TV show may not be the same as the ages of the characters in the film 4) any of a million reasons. To be able to keep the same cast a million factors would need to line up perfectly: desires, times, contracts, availability, etc.
So I have no idea. The only position of authority I am speaking from here is as someone who used to work for an entertainment magazine and knows something about the business of TV and movies. That’s it.
On whether the show would start from City of Bones or pick up with City of Ashes:
I have no idea about this one. Buffy started up after the first movie, placing the events of the film squarely in the show’s past, and rarely referring to them (since they didn’t really track with the show.) Teen Wolf recaps the events of the film with a different spin. They could go either way, with the caveat that they’d have to start the show somewhere where people who’d never seen the film could understand it.
On having to wait for an Infernal Devices television series:
There was a rumor that TID was going to be a TV series. I never encountered a single piece of factual evidence that that was happening. (Like, for instance, in this case, when they are developing a TMI TV show, there are multiple articles about it.)
It’s only been about 2 years since TID ended – not much of a wait really. We live in an odd media moment where we expect everything to be fast-tracked, but that’s not really the norm. I think Game of Thrones and Outlander both took about 20 years to become television shows.
If there was a TMI series, and it was successful, it would dramatically increase the chances of a TID film or TV show. If you want a TID show or movie, this is the best news you could get, not the worst. Because I saw no signs a TID show was happening otherwise.
On getting to see characters from the books that didn’t make it into the movie:
One of the nice things about there being a TV show is the opportunity to see characters like Raphael, who was cut from the film, and Maia. I admire both those actresses and would certainly want Maia to be played by an actress of color.
On the fans’ concern about the television series changing things:
I understand being scared about the idea of a TV show instead of more films. You got used to the cast of the films and the look and settings. I like the film cast a lot. I like them as actors and as people.
However I do think that TMI is a better fit for TV than movies because it has a huge amount of backstory, which is nearly impossible to fit into a film, which is why for instance unless you read the books you would never have found out in the first film what the Mortal Cup actually did. TV gives you a chance to see the Circle in detail, the backstories of characters rendered visually, more time for more minor characters (like Magnus) etc. It really gives you time to wallow around in a world. And whatever actors they cast, if they were good choices, I am confident you you would come to love them as well, in the same way it is possible to love both Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes, or Martin Freeman and Lucy Liu and Jude Law as Watson. No one actor is ever the only one in the world who can interpret a character — that’s not how acting is supposed to work, really. Even when they are amazing and lovely, as the TMI cast was and is.
I’m not trying to convince anyone to like the idea of a TV series if you don’t. I’m just saying that as someone with no more control over the situation than you, I think this is a good thing. Maybe they would have made a City of Ashes movie. Maybe not. I’d rather know something is happening than not know if anything is happening. And in Hollywood, what breeds development is success. If a TV show were successful, they’d probably be more likely to make a CoA or TDA or TID movie, not less. If what you want is to see movies and TV of the books you like, than the worst thing that can happen isn’t a movie when you wanted a TV show or a TV show when you wanted a movie, or a radio play when you wanted a musical. It’s nothing.
Anyway, I’ll be going out this November to see the production company and TV folks, so I may have more information then. We will see!
Sounds like maybe we’ll hear some more news come next month!