Updated: Here's the first trailer for Powers, which premiered at NYCC Saturday afternoon. Contains mature language and some graphic imagery.
Orginal report: Powers is going from the printed page to the small screen in an all-new TV series from an unlikely source - PlayStation. Sony Pictures Television is bringing the series to live, distributing it exclusively on the PlayStation Network, and came to New York Comic Con with cast and crew to show the first look at the TV series. With a trailer promised by creator and writer Brian Michael Bendis, and an air of mystery over Sony's first direct-to-Playstation live action series promised to be lifted, the Empire Stage was filled to capacity.
Geoff Keighley moderated the panel, and started by bringing out Brian Michael Bendis. "This has been fourteen years coming, today. i know some of you have been with the book since its first issue. Your loud internet voice helped make the decision for PlayStation and Sony to go right to series on this, so thank you."
With that, Bendis introduced the debut trailer for Powers.
The trailer features narration by Sharito Copley's Det. Christian Walker, and the introduction of Det Deena Pilgrim, his partner, as played by Susan Heyward. There are some foul words. And it ended with word that the show is free with PlayStation Plus subscription on a slide at the end of the trailer.
Logan Browning, Zora on the show was the first cast to come out. Calista as played by Olesya Rulin was next. Susan Heyward took the stage, followed by Noah Taylor and Eddie Izzard.
Copley could not attend, but sent a video message thanking the fans.
The series will be "feisty and rated R, sometimes a hard R," Bendis said, just as the comic book is.
"The whole time we were developing it at other places, it was nice and the cast was great but there was something a little off. When Sony came to us and said they wanted to start a network with Powers as the first show, it was very exciting to us."
"This is a real televison show," Bendis said, "A big budget, and David Slade is directing the pilot, Charlie Huston is showrunning. He's coming at Powers season 1 as a ten chapter crime novel." Huston is an acclaimed crime novelist himself.
Izzard is very excited to play Wolfe, as he's able to "take him to a different place. And it's super powers in the real world - we're not trying to save the world or destroy the world, we're just the same f*ckers in the same f*cked up world. It's more about celebrity."
"Mike and I never wanted a word for word adaptation," Bendis said of the series. "We want it to examine things in its own way. Charlie cherry picked things from the books that make the best TV show, and we are so happy with it." Izzard said, "Yeah, it's the essence of the books."
Calista is a bit older in the show than when she was introduced in the book. "I've never played anyone this complex," Rulin said. "Getting to develop her, having so much creative freedom, it's incredibly rare and I can't be more grateful for that."
Casting Susan as Deena was the next topic Keighley brought up. "We need to look at real and hyper real with these actors," Bendis said, "You need to believe Deena is a cop from a long line of cops, and can both be on the ground with a cocked eyebrow going "listen..." She'll ask the questions that the audience would ask. We cast the absolute best actor in the job."
Heyward said Deena will "be introduced in a place when she's somewhat wounded. She's coming to the Powers division looking for a new home. I identify with that search, trying to find a place where you can be yourself. When I actually got a call back, I researched the comic deeper, and got to see how far she travels. It's so tough to get a full, dimensional character, especially as a woman. The courage to go out and be strong in the face of all this fear."
Walker used to be a Power, and now is a regular human. "He was kind of the Charlie Sheen of superheroes in his heyday, as Charlie likes to say it," Bendis said. "Now he's down here. When Deena meets him, like a cop, like a detective, she's always working him and working the case. He knows all about Powers but not a great cop."
Heyward pointed out that "usually if a cop is that close to a case he would get pulled off it, too!"
Bendis praised the chemistry between Heyward and Copley, and she chimed in.
"He's incredibly inventive and incredibly playful. Him coming form the celebrity power culture and Deena coming form on the ground makes a lot of sparks."
Rulin added that her work with him has been great, that he's in a mentor role "both as an actress and as the character."
Noah Taylor's Johnny Royale is a "huge thrill," as he's a big comic book fan. "I love comic book villains, so this is a dream role. he's a very conflicted character, a smooth devil, a fiendishly brilliant criminal mastermind... he's a bad motherf*cker!"
"Typecasting." Izzard deadpanned.
"I love doing this, I love working with this cast, they're incredible," Taylor continued.
His character, "in this world, he's very much concerned about kids having powers who are more about the beauty of the powers, as opposed to those who have become commercialized and have endorsements and such. He's a man with a plan."
Browning said she cried while watching the trailer for the first time. "This is so f*cking cool! I am still discovering the character. I talked to Charlie about the character, but just as me, Logan is discovering this world, Zora is discovering hers. She doesn't just want the fame that a lot of Powers get, she wants to be a hero. I'm just so excited!" she said while burying her face in the table.
Bendis explained that while in the book she's "one of the greats," in the show she'll be at the start of her career and facing important decisions.
Wolfe "is ancient, is dark. he has more powers than anyone seems to have. He's beguilling and charming and when we meet him he is f*cked up as hell. We start from that place, he's done very bad things," Izzard said. "I've been pitching Charlie and just mentioned it to Brian, that his theme tune should be the song Mona Lisa. There's been blood already - and I've only done two scenes!
"We've just started doing a thing, we are shooting this right now. We don't know what the f*ck - well, we know some of the f*ck, but not a lot of it," he said to laughs. He sang a bit of Mona Lisa to point how he thinks it ties to Wolfe. "He'll have an interesting and weird journey." He says that Walker and Johnny have a brotherly relationship and he is like a father to them.
Taylor said, "the strength of the story is the human relationships. Any genre - the Sopranos is outwardly about gangsters, but it's really about family. The same thing is here, the human story beyond the superhuman."
Michelle Forbes as Retro Girl got a shoutout. "I speak for Charlie, we are thrilled that Michelle has joined us," Bendis said. "She is bringing that power and gravitas that she brings to everything. She just gets it, she knows it. We get to build this whole world around her - she's the Beyonce of super heroes."
David Mack made illustrations in the style of 60s Vogue magazine, and there is a silver age version of her comics by the Allreds, and a David Marquez and Justin Ponsor modern age version. "You'll see these all on the show."
Bendis said, "There's a lot of people who made this happen. Everyone at Sony and PlayStation are amazing, but there's one person who none of this would happen if not for him and his name is Michael Avon Oeming," his co-creator.
Charlie "wanted Mike's voice on the show. So he decided that Mike's art would be the art used for Retro Girl's own animated series."
"I can definitely say this is awesome," Oeming said. "It's kind of akin to watching your kids grow up. I've gone through so many phases - the comic did that, too, we wrote it into a few corners where we thought we'd have to end it but then found a way out. The show has grown from that as an extension too."
Izzard made a joke about both of them using all three names, and Bendis revealed that they did that so they could see their whole name on the cover of the book, no joke.
Powers the comic is getting a new first issue, and a cover was shown with art by Oeming and colorist Nick Filardi.
Oeming's art will also be used as the art for an aspiring artist who is in the show.
Bendis is writing on the show, he's working on the last two episodes with Charlie and the writing room right after the convention.
Bendis teased that the story of the first season is "not the one from the first volume of the book, but it is off another story from the book."
A brief scene between Walker and Pilgrim was shown, with Walker talking about the um - sexual temporary transfer of powers.
A fan Q&A started next.
Q: Will there be flashbacks into Walker's previous life?
Bendis: "Yes. I'll even tell you when it is - Episode 5."
Q: How much superpowered action will we see on the series?
Bendis: "You'll see some, but it'll be handled like in the comics - we stay on the ground. One of my favorite dailies was someone zooming by Deena's head - so you'll see stuff, and you'll get some teases of that as we get closer to our debut this Winter."
Q: What will the music be like?
Bendis: "Some of the best Sony artists who've ever Sony'ed Sony."
Q: Distribution outside of PlayStation?
Bendis: "I think it's great that there are millions of PlayStations around the world. There may be something else but we don't know. And the first episode is free to anyone with a Playstation, you don't need anything else."
Izzard: "Yes, the first one's free. I believe heroin dealers do that."
Q: What's it like coming back to this material in a new form?
Bendis: "It's extremely surreal. As you get older and all that matters is living a life of experience - this very unique experience of being involved in the show is immensely special. Mike and I have had this intimate experience of creating this together alone in our room for many years, and adding this to that is amazing. If you can arrange this for yourself, I highly recommend it."