- Powerpuff Girls creator Craig McCracken accurately predicted the failure of the live-action CW show, stating that turning them into adults would make them lose their identity as the Powerpuff Girls.
- The live-action adaptation faced numerous setbacks, including criticism of the leaked script and negative response to set photos, ultimately leading to the cancelation of the project.
- The CW’s attempt to replicate the success of dark shows like Riverdale with a disillusioned young adult take on Powerpuff Girls did not resonate with audiences, as McCracken had warned.
Powerpuff Girls creator Craig McCracken perfectly predicted the failure of the live-action CW show well before it happened. Back in August 2020, it was announced that a live-action version of Powerpuff Girls was in the works. The CW’s project would take a different approach than the popular Cartoon Network franchise, looking at Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup as disillusioned young adults. Despite some high-profile casting and filming taking place, the live-action adaptation never materialized. By July of this year, it was officially canceled.
In comments to the Los Angeles Times while looking back on the 25th anniversary of Powerpuff Girls, McCracken shared that he only had one meeting about the live-action CW series, and his assessment was straightforward. McCracken, who also revealed that he’s currently working on a revival of Powerpuff Girls with Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe, said in part, “If they’re adults, that’s just three super girls who don’t have to deal with being kids.” His full quote is below:
“I had one meeting with them and I told them, ‘When you turn them into adults, they’re no longer the Powerpuff Girls because if they’re adults, that’s just three super girls who don’t have to deal with being kids.’ That’s a completely different show.”
How The Live-Action Powerpuff Girls Fell Apart
The logline of the project described Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup as disillusioned young adults in their twenties. They’re resentful of losing their childhood for the sake of fighting crime. They’re faced with the choice of reuniting, however, when the world needs them more than ever. The live-action adaptation would’ve been produced by Warner Bros. Television Studios, with Heather Regnier (Sleepy Hollow) and Diablo Cody, who penned the screenplay for Juno, writing. The Arrowverse’s Sarah Schechter and Greg Berlanti were involved as executive producers.
A pilot moved forward in February 2021, with Chloe Bennet, Dove Cameron, and Yana Perrault cast as Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, respectively. Other actors were revealed, including Scrubs alum Donald Faison as Professor “Drake” Utonium. On May 24 of that same year, The CW announced that the pilot would have to be reworked. The script was leaked later that day, receiving a wave of criticism and mockery online. Mark Pedowitz, who was then the head of The CW, said the script would need to be largely rewritten. Photos from the Powerpuff Girls set also surfaced online, receiving a similarly negative response.
Bennet dropped out of the project by August 2021, citing scheduling conflicts. In May of this year, the adaptation was canceled by Nexstar, the new majority owner of The CW. Two months later, it was reported that Warner Bros. TV was no longer developing the live-action Powerpuff Girls, meaning that the series won’t be reworked for a different network or streaming service. The CW seemed interested in replicating the buzziness of the dark Riverdale, but as McCracken predicted, it fell flat.
Source: Los Angeles Times
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