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Fox Buys Superhero TV Pilot From ‘Chronicle’ Screenwriter… Kind Of

What happens when you bring the writer behind the movie Chronicle and the producer of the Showtime political thriller Homeland together? According to reports, the answer is “a superhero crime drama that’s been already been bought by the Fox network.” There’s only one problem, says Max Landis: There aren’t any superheroes in the show.The Hollywood Reporter broke the story yesterday that Landis, the screenwriter of Chronicle (and writer of a story in next month’s Action Comics Annual #1 from DC Comics), and producer Howard Gordon have sold Vigilant to Fox, a pilot described by the website as “a ‘superhero’ origin story told through the unlikely point of view of a smart 20-year-old woman who happens to be a social outcast.” The description continues, “After an honorable veteran detective is brutally coerced into working for the corrupt head of Internal Affairs, the detective’s daughter plans her revenge by creating a fictional vigilante persona to take on the criminal elements within he police department and city.”

However, Landis has problems with the use of the word “superhero.” Responding to the report on Twitter, he wrote “I’m going to restate this because I don’t know who wrote the announcement, but: Vigilant is not a ‘superhero’ show in ANY traditional sense. Comparing it to ‘The Cape’ or ‘Powers’ or ‘Arrow’ or ‘Smallville’ is…just not accurate. No disrespect to those shows [but] Vigilant comes at the whole equation of what a ‘vigilante’ in a very different way. It has more in common with The Wire than Smallville” (Tweet 1, Tweet 2, Tweet 3).

He went on, “On a similar note, it weirded me out when people called Chronicle a ‘superhero movie.’ Chronicle is like…Carrie, basically. No heroes. It’s a sign of the times; these days super-powers and vigilantes are just automatically lumped in with ‘superheroes.’ If Firestarter came out in 2013, they’d call it ‘Stephen King’s Superhero Thriller.’ The superhero trope is so blurry at this point” (Tweet 1, Tweet 2, Tweet 3).

Okay, got it. Not a superhero thing, but something more in tune with Firestarter. Fine. So, in other words, Vigilant is going to feature a character with some form of supernatural powers who will try to enact their idea of justice through a fictional vigilante persona. Even if the tone of the show is more akin to The Wire than Smallville, doesn’t that still make it a pretty superhero-ish set-up?

Vigilant has been received a script order plus penalty from Fox, which pretty much ensures that it’ll be made, even if it doesn’t get aired. Landis will write the script, with no director having been named as yet.

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