The upcoming Freeform premiere of The Mortal Instruments series adaptation Shadowhunters must have fans of the book series a combination of excited to see the story play out on screen and worried about whether every moment will be as great as they remember it. And even though the show won't be a page-for-page remake, how close Shadowhunters is to The Mortal Instruments books should be a pleasant surprise for the anxious readers. Freeform (formerly ABC Family) is making some key choices that will excite both new fans and ones who are deeply familiar with Clary, Simon, Jace, and the rest of the Shadowhunters.
From just the first looks at the upcoming series, it will obviously take a lot of inspiration from the book series, the way any good adaptation should, but according to star Katherine McNamara's comments to Bustle, there will also be some differences. Since the show has the benefit of knowing where the book series is planning to go, it can incorporate details that don't become clear until the second or third books. However, McNamara promises that the adaptation will have everything that's really important to book readers — and even says that she's a fan of the books too! In her words to Bustle, "The overarching skeleton of the story is still the same. We took extra care to be true the characters [...] I think it’s a great, fun new perspective on the story and it serves the medium of television very well," McNamara says. Sounds pretty good!
The Cast Did Their Research
Like I said, McNamara says that her biggest research tool was reading the books. And actors Harry Shum, Jr. and Matthew Daddario, who play Magnus and Alec, respectively, are very aware of their characters' romantic chemistry in the book series, and seem ready to use and abuse that fact in order to both please and torture Malec 'shippers.
The Author Approves
Cassandra Clare, who wrote The Mortal Instruments series, has given the show her blessing. She told The Boston Globe, "I haven’t been very involved in the show, so not too much traveling. I went up to the set, which is always fun, getting to watch the cast and crew work and create a whole world on screen." It sounds like she liked what she got the chance to see. And, even though there are showrunners and a stable of Freeform writers creating the show's episodes instead of Clare, don't worry — J.K. Rowling never wrote the script to a single Harry Potter adaptation and fans love those movies.
The Characters Are The Same
The same core characters, Clary, Simon, Jace, Alec, and the rest of the Shadowhunters will be adapted in all their glory to the screen — and watching them interact will make any longtime book fan excited. Other supporting characters have been introduced a little earlier, or tweaked slightly for TV, but the core ensemble of characters are taken directly from the Mortal Instruments novels.
They Are Not Shying Away From The Supernatural
TV shows have budgets, but this one is still making efforts to include all of Clare's supernatural creatures. Already previews show there are Shadowhunters and Darkworlders/demons, warlocks, werewolves, and vampires. It's going to be just as layered as the books, and might even be a little dense when it first premieres.
Clary's Hair Is Bright
Like Harry Potter's scar or Katniss Everdeen's mockingjay pin, Clary's bright red hair is a trademark. One of the clues that the cinematic adaptation was going to be heading in its own direction was that Clary was basically a brunette. On the show, they've given her the distinct, bright, vibrant hair color she was written to have.
The Creators Are Only Changing Elements To Make The Show Better
Some things work better on the page than on screen, and in order for Shadowhunters to become a good show in its own right, it needs to make a few changes from the book series. But, executive producer Ed Decter promised the Fresno Bee that, "We love the books, and that’s what got us involved with the project to begin with. But, we still have had a version of it out there, so we wanted to have surprises both for the real hardcore fans, we want to have a lot of surprises." So, don't worry Mortal Instruments readers, Shadowhunters is built for the fans.
Image: John Medland/ABC (5); Giphy