Darna is a Philippine drama/fantasy series adapted from Mars Ravelo's fictional superheroine of the same name; directed by Dominic Zapata and Don Michael Perez and developed by Jun Lana. It is the third series based on the Darna graphic novels by Mars Ravelo. It stars Marian Rivera as the title role and her alter-ego Narda, with Iwa Moto as her main nemesis Valentina, and Mark Anthony Fernandez as Eduardo.
The series had premiered on August 10, 2009 on GMA Network and ended on February 19, 2010, and also featured the return of the other four villains originally created by Ravelo himself. The first season consists of 70 episodes, as well as the second season, with 140 episodes all in all.
Filipino comics legend Mars Ravelo created the Asia's first superheroine in 1947 named Varga. She first appeared in Bulaklak Magazine on July 23, 1947 and quickly became popular amongst its readers. Ravelo wrote and illustrated the stories. As a human, Varga was known as the little girl named "Narda" which Ravelo based on the name of his boy playmate. In her superhuman form, she fought against common criminals, as well as greater forces of evil. And just like any other superhero, Varga stood up for those who could not fend for themselves.
Having differences with the editors of Bulaklak Magazine in 1949, Ravelo decided to take his creation elsewhere. Unfortunately, the superheroine's name, "Varga" belonged to Bulaklak Magazine. His creation's name was changed to "Darna".
Mars Ravelo re-launched his creation in Pilipino Komiks on May 13, 1950 as Darna - the mighty warrior from the planet Marte. Both Varga and Darna are, in essence, the same character except for their superheroine names. To revamp his creation, Ravelo assigned newcomer then, Nestor Redondo to illustrate the new comic. Darna's fame quickly grew starting with Filipino comics readers, but she did not become a household name until the following year.
On May 31, 1951 Filipinos witnessed the first movie adaptation of the superheroine, in Fernando Poe Senior's Royal Films Production -- "DARNA" starring Manila's golden age movie queen Rosa del Rosario as Darna and Cristina Aragon as Valentina, while Mila Nimfa portrayed Narda. The movie was a huge box office success.
From then on, numerous hit movies and TV shows were made and only portrayed by the Philippines' biggest stars. Endless versions of Darna were also serialized in different comic books.
Darna's powers include flight, super strength, super speed, enhanced stamina and hearing, and near-invulnerability due to her psionic abilities. She uses telekinesis to enhance all of her abilities. Her invulnerability is due to her alien origin. Due to her psionic powers, she also has limited telepathy. She transforms into her hero form by shouting... "Darna!" and back to her human form by shouting her name... "Narda!"
The winged medallion on her helmet contains a precious red stone (just like ruby) that enhances her psionic abilities. It also allows her to fire a psionic blast and fire lasers from her eyes. The medallions on her belt can be thrown like shuriken. Sometimes she uses her bracelets to deflect bullets.
Enemies Demon Woman- a conjoined monster, she has elastic arms and strength, in the mean time, she absorbed Darna's power of Flight Hawk Woman - a cybernetic woman, her metal wings allows her the power of flight and proportionate strength of a hawk, she gained Darna's incredible speed Tree Woman - a powerful elemental who can control plants at her own will, she can manipulate her size, and has great strength. The leech lady - a monster, that can summon leeches at her own will, she has enhanced Senses and strength, and long extending tentacles and Extending nose she uses to sip blood, she can also mimic anyone she touchesDarna (May 31, 1951)
Darna at ang Babaing Lawin (Darna and the Hawkwoman) - August 15, 1952
Si Darna at ang Impakta (Darna and the Evil Twins) - June 27, 1963
Isputnik vs. Darna - August 12, 1963
Darna at ang Babaing Tuod (Darna and the Tree Monster) - April 14, 1965
Darna at ang Planetman (Darna and the Planetman) - January 18, 1969
Lipad, Darna, Lipad! (Fly, Darna, Fly!) - March 23, 1973
Darna and the Giants - December 22, 1973
Darna vs The Planet Women - December 22, 1973
Darna Kuno? (A parody of Darna) - March 30, 1979
Bira, Darna, Bira! (Go, Darna, Go!) - June 15, 1979
Darna and Ding - February 8, 1980
Darna - December 25, 1991
Darna Ang Pagbabalik (Darna The Return) - June 9, 1994
In the late 80's, actress Lorna Tolentino wore the coveted red and gold suit for a TV series in RPN 9
In 2005, GMA Network brings back the superheroine with Angel Locsin as the lead role which made her a big star (See Darna 2005 series). The network confirms that the rights of Darna is still theirs along with Captain Barbell and Dyesebel.
January 2008, it was announced that GMA Network decided to make another version of the show but this time, it will be along with Captain Barbell. But due to schedule conflicts of Richard Gutierrez, everything was shelved. Angel Locsin, the first TV Darna, has transferred to ABS-CBN, the rival station of GMA Network in 2007.
Late 2008, GMA Network, along with the Ravelo's copyright holders of the character, has unanimously chosen Primetime Queen Marian Rivera as Darna/Narda. 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. The Ravelo's said in an interview that Marian Rivera is the sexiest and most beautiful actress to play Darna.
Mark Herras was considered for the lead male role of Eduardo, but Mark Anthony Fernandez won the part.
Dennis Trillo, who previously played Efren in 2005 TV series, portrayed Pancho, Narda's childhood friend from orphanage and love interest.
Darna tells the story of Narda (Marian Rivera), an attractive young woman who grows up in an orphanage and lives a happy, quiet and simple life until she becomes the heiress of a stone that gives her super powers.
Narda eventually meets her childhood sweetheart Eduardo (Mark Anthony Fernandez) at the same orphanage. Hopes of nurturing romantic relationship between the two went kaput after Narda's friend, Valentina, fell for Eduardo.
Narda then learns that she is the anointed one chosen to save the world from evil forces. Nursing a broken heart, Narda declines because she believes that a simple and crippled woman like her cannot take such a huge responsibility.
The four Villains are revealed to be encased in hail-blocks, but Dr.Morgan Quickly acquires them, another scientist behind stated that Leech Woman is the most powerful creature among the four, based on the Military files, later the four managed to escape.
The Town was devastated by the arrival of the Villains: Hawk Woman, Demon Woman, Tree Woman, and The Leech Woman, they wreak havoc in the town, they want to see Darna but instead was faced by The Keeper of The Stone. the Villains stated that they will only stop if the Guardian will give them the Stone's power, The Guardian agreed for the sake of the people.
Eventually, the Guardian and the Villains meet at the forest. There, the Villains absorbed and gained Darna's abilities, however the darkness consumes them and they are imprisoned in a portal.
Now the limp Narda faced the Guardian and accepts the Stone, she will become the greatest opponent of evil lurking on our World, she also must retrieve her stolen powers before it's too late.Marian Rivera as Narda / Darna (Seasons 1 & 2)
Mark Anthony Fernandez as Eduardo / Black Rider (Seasons 1 & 2)
Dennis Trillo as Pancho (Season 2)
Iwa Moto as Valentina / Babaeng Ahas (Seasons 1 & 2)
Nadine Samonte as Roma / Babaeng Impakta / Babaeng Lawin (Regular season 1, guest star season 2)
Ehra Madrigal as Armida / Babaeng Lawin (Season 1 only)
Francine Prieto as Lucifera / Babaeng Tuod (Season 1 only)
Maggie Wilson as Octavia Moran / "Lutgarda Morales"/ Babaeng Linta (Season 1 only)
Rochelle Pangilinan as Deborah Santos / Babaeng Mananangggal (Season 2 only)
Jackie Rice as Helena / Helga / Babaeng Demonyita (Season 2 only)
Akihiro Sato as Vladimir / Lalaking Bampira (Season 2 only)
Maureen Larrazabal as Dina Arcilla / Babaeng Bampira (Season 2 minor villain)
Katrina Halili as Serpina / Babaeng Anakonda / Valentina (second body)(Season 2 only)
Paolo Contis played to characters which are:
Kobra / Hari ng mga Ahas (Season 1)
Zandro / Lalaking Ahas (Seasons 1 & 2)
Regine Velasquez as Elektra the Planet Woman (Season 2 only)
Angel Aquino as Tagapangalaga ng Bato ("The Keeper of the Stone")/The Original Darna (Season 1 & 2)
Roxanne Barcelo as Aleli (Seasons 1 & 2)
Robert Villar as Carding "Ding" Santos (Seasons 1 & 2)
Rufa Mae Quinto as Francesca (Regular season 1, recurring season 2)
Raymart Santiago as Crisanto (Seasons 1 & 2)
Alfred Vargas as Gabriel (Regular season 1, recurring season 2)
Krista Kleiner as Liberty (Season 1 only)
Polo Ravales as Shiro (Season 1 only)
Caridad Sanchez as Loleng
Celia Rodriguez as Perfecta
Mike "Pekto" Narcisa as Jerry
John Feir as Tomas
Eddie Garcia as Padre Mateo
Ricky Davao as Dr. Morgan
Gabby Eigenmann as Apollo
Bearwin Meily as Watson
Renz Valerio as Young Eduardo
Jestoni Alarcon as Simon
Rita Avila as Alicia
Angeli Nicole Sanoy as Young Narda
John Apacible† as Nestor
Janice de Belen as Aling Consuelo
Sweet Ramos as Young Valentina
Allan "Mura" Padua as Impy
Sabrina Man as Young Serpina
Hayden Kho as Danny
Darna opened with rave reviews, writer Nestor Torre of Philippine Daily Inquirer described the pilot episode as "loud and livid". Torre continues to mention "...two performances stand out because they’re 'different'. The first is Janice de Belen’s portrayal of Consuelo, the mother of Valentina. De Belen’s characterization is outstanding, because it’s deeply felt, while not being over-the-top..." and "the other interesting performance thus far is turned in by Iwa Moto as Valentina. With some help from creative scripting, her character is more tragic and conflicted than past versions of the story had it".
Jun Lana's script was also praised by Torre for creating "Valentina’s terrible secret initially pains her rather than turns her into a vengeful monster, and the ostracism she suffers adds enormously to her loneliness and grief, which are alleviated only by her only friend, Narda. Of course, the ironic twist to all this is that Narda will eventually morph into superheroine Darna, with whom Valentina must fight to the death." Lana told Manila Bulletin that this version of Darna will be "totally different" especially with the characters, he mentions "what if Narda doesn't want to become Darna?" - a subject never touched upon in other versions of the graphic novel.