Dear Ed Decter,
It’s Alyssa again. Amidst all of the excitement following the official pickup ofShadowhunters (congrats, by the way), I have to admit that I’m feeling some stuff I wish I wasn’t feeling. Worry. Concern. Anxiety. I wish I could just relax and be happy about the great prospect of having a show, but one thing makes that impossible: the script.
Now, I know that the author’s said that she was told that the script that’s been floating around, the one that’s up on Showfax and SidesExpress and a million other places, wasn’t going to be used. That she’d been told the character Natalie was going away. Thing is, since then we’ve seen the script be updated online and everywhere. And it’s basically the same script it was before with small changes. Now while we’re sure it isn’t the final draft, why bother updating a script that you’re not using? Seems suspicious.
We’re really all hoping, Ed and writers, that you’re not telling the author untruths, and us untruths, to get everyone onside. Because fans will only stay onside as long as they think you’re being straight with them and respectful of the books. Lying is not ever the way to go.
As a fan of this series I’m protective of the characters and the story when it’s in the adaptation process, as Shadowhunters currently is. As is the rest of the fandom. This is a series that we’ve dedicated ourselves to, grown with and love.
The fact of the matter is that we don’t know what’s going to happen plot-wise and character-wise with the show in the long run. But we’ve put our blind faith in you to not betray us. But there are some pretty discouraging aspects of the “updated” pilot that make me really worry about how you will approach Shadowhunters.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s not changes that I’m worried about. Those are inevitable and to be expected. But it’s the underlying theme, the plot and the essence of the characters that worries me. I hope you don’t feel like I’m attacking you, but I feel like I’m doing my duty to the fandom in trying to voice my concern and disappointment about certain aspects of the show. Better to voice my opinion now while there’s still a fighting chance before filming begins.
Here are my concerns about the script and suggestions as to how they can be remedied:
Theme of Strong Women
The Mortal Instruments is a series for women, about women; women who are strong and don’t need to take their clothes off to get what they want. In the first version of the script, Isabelle was a stripper. Who thought that was a good idea? Isabelle is a Shadowhunter; a warrior. She does not need to resort to stripping to get what she wants. Show her — and the other women — a little more respect than that. Clary and Maureen expose their breasts to get into a bar. Clary would never do that. (Maureen is a child in the books, so who wants to even go there.) In the pilot, Clary is stripped of her clothes and given Isabelle’s sexy clothes to wear. Except the clothes thing is totally removed from its context in the book AND movie, where Clary is dressed up by Isabelle in fancy clothes to go to Magnus’s party, and now makes no sense and doesn’t connect to anything. Why wouldn’t she just put back on her regular clothes and then change when she got home? Why is the Isabelle-clothes-makeover thing happening HERE? It seems like there’s no reason except to make Clary naked. It’s not sexy, it’s gross.
Alec and Isabelle
In every version of the script we have seen, Alec and Isabelle barely exist. Alec and Isabelle are not minor characters. They are beloved fan favorite characters that fans love and can relate to. You see, Alec and Isabelle were neglected in the film. We never really got to see what kind of characters there were. How Alec, is sensible, kind and thoughtful, and Isabelle is strong, vulnerable and loving. You need to use Alec and Isabelle like the main characters they are. With the additions of new original characters it looks as if Alec and Isabelle risk getting shoved aside again. Don’t do it. Because I and many other fans will stop watching if you do.
Jace and The Rune
The one good thing I have to say is that at least Jace isn’t applying the healing rune to Clary’s upper thigh as she lays there unconscious. Because that was downright disturbing and so not like Jace. The thing is, this pilot Jace still isn’t like Jace. We miss his smart obnoxious comments from the club scene. We miss him being impressed Clary killed the Ravener. We miss Clary slapping him and the way he takes it because he knows he deserves it. Not showing fans the things they love can be just as bad as putting in things they’ll hate. Now maybe Jace does these things in later episodes. Maybe he’s sarcastic in later episodes. But you have one chance to get us on board, and that’s the pilot. And right now Jace is not Jace.
After the fandom voiced their negative opinion at the addition of Simon’s girlfriend, Natalie, it seemed as if you’d listened to the fans and gotten rid of her. Only, all you did was replace her name with Maureen, an actual character from the series. Come on, we’re not stupid! Right now Maureen is a Mary Sue. Clary loves her. Simon is dating her. Luke and Jocelyn know her. She’s in practically every scene. It’s one thing to have her show up once or twice. Having the whole pilot revolve around her is a recipe for sending fans like us running!
We hate the idea of Simon having a girlfriend. It makes him having feelings for Clary gross and evil. It makes him an asshole. And it very much makes him not our Simon.
This Valentine makes movie Valentine seem calm. Look, if you don’t know, movie Valentine is a joke in the fandom. Even people who were sad that a second movie wasn’t being made were glad to get a second chance at a real Valentine. This guy is nuttier than Cobra Commander. He just kills everyone in sight. Maybe he would work as a villain in a show for little kids. But we want our book Valentine.
Believe it or not we fans are really invested in the magic of the world. We care about the runes. About Downworlders. Nowhere in the script is it explained what Shadowhunters are, what they do, what Downworlders are, how the runes work, what warlocks can do. Instead there is a lot of stuff where Clary gets a magical lavender pendant from Dot because Dot is really important. Clary gets marked on her neck even though Shadowhunters never mark anyone on their neck. And what’s a “warlock potion”? Why are steles weapons? This script reads like no one who wrote it ever read the book, they just saw the movie. And the movie didn’t do all that well. You really need to be diverging from it way, way, way more than you are.
The first lesson you need to learn about this fandom is that we are a powerful one. We get things done. It’s a testament to the fandom’s long-standing reign and dedication to the series. This fandom has been around since 2007. We’re in it until the end.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, please give us a reason to love this show. This show is being made because of the fans, so the fans should be in mind when you’re writing it. You already have an audience who’s ready to support you if you succeed or can as easily tear you down if you fail us.
We all essentially want the same thing: a successful show. But for the show to be successful it isn’t dependent only upon new fans; it’s dependent upon the long time fans who care about its faithfulness to the source material. So I hope you choose to honor the fans that supported this show long before it was announced and will remain long after the television series is gone.
(One last thing: there are hundreds of Shadowhunters living in the Institute instead of the six that live there in the books? The Shadowhunters, who don’t even have electricity in the books, now do everything on iPads? Interested to see how you work that out. I wish I had faith. I really do.)
Alyssa from TMI Source