Since the series first launched in 1995, there have been multiple attempts to adapt Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s supernatural Western comic Preacher. Despite the source material’s acclaim, the various film and television projects never quite found traction – due in large part to budgetary concerns and the controversial subject matter.
AMC announced their own plans to adapt Preacher in 2014 with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the team behind This is the End. The network quickly ordered a pilot for the series and Dominic Cooper (Agent Carter) was cast as Reverend Jesse Custer, the lead role in the series. Rogen later announced the project had earned a ten-episode first season, set to premiere in mid-2016.
Speaking with Crave, Rogen offered an update on the series and its progress. The project is still in preproduction, but Rogen is enthusiastic about the material so far.
“It’s coming along great! The writers are in Los Angeles in a big room, writing away, trying to plan the series. We’re trying to plan the whole season before we start shooting and writing it. So our hope is to start filming in February and I think we’ll start airing sometime next summer, basically.”
While a Preacher adaptation was in the works at HBO, the initial goal was to base each episode on a single issue of the comic. Every episode would be an hour long, based shot-for-shot on the comics produced by Ennis and Dillon. When Rogen was asked if he had a similar plan, he quickly dismissed the notion.
“No, we are changing the specifics of how the narrative is unfolding. A lot of the building blocks we are not changing, a lot of the characters we’re keeping, but we want to make a show that if you’re a fan of the comic, you don’t know what to expect. “
While the core series is 66 issues long, there were 75 total issues produced during the run. This includes five one-shot issues focusing on different supporting characters and a four-issue miniseries about one of the comic’s most infamous antagonists: The Saint of Killers. Rogen admitted that not all of the characters will work on television, but they want to include as much of the supplemental material as possible.
“I mean, there’s some things that even Garth will argue, is quick to admit that we probably should not even attempt to put on television. There’s some characters, we’re talking about maybe we combine these two into one person. But to us, the tangential element is one of our favorite things… That’s something we wholeheartedly intend on indulging in because it’s one of the best parts about the comic.”
Preacher has a number of controversial supporting characters, from the meat-obsessed Odin Quincannon to the inbred descendant of Jesus Christ. It’s easy to see why some of these characters will have to be altered to make it to the small screen. However, the series has already shown a willingness to embrace some of the stranger side characters, such as Arseface.
It’s clear from Rogen’s words that the source material is not only highly respected, but well-loved by the people behind the project. As long as there’s a way for the creators to organically include the weirdest aspects of the Preacher comics, it’s likely you’ll see them show up in the series.
Preacher is expected to air on AMC in Summer 2016