Yesterday, Deadline reported that Endemol Shine Studios acquired Mirror’s Edge for the development of a television series based on the game.
The original Mirror’s Edge was released in 2008, but Mirror’s Edge Catalyst debuts the first week of June to reboot the series. Following Faith Connors — a Runner in the city of Glass who finds herself at odds with her friends, family, the Conglomerate, and the city’s other factions — Mirror’s Edge has the potential to be an impressive female-driven series, provided it’s done right.
A big part of what makes Mirror’s Edge so great is that it’s incredible to watch and play through. The Runners combine martial arts and next-level parkour abilities to carry out tasks throughout a city that’s made up of clean lines, mirrored windows, industrial components, and perfectly placed fixtures that are perfect for grabbing, spring boarding, sliding, and the like. The show is certainly going to have to find a way to capture the fluid motion and elegance of the Runners to be successful, but more than that, it’s going to have to do great things with its characters — most notably, Faith.
Kickass women make for great television, and Faith Connors is certainly capable of joining the ranks of exceptional female protagonists. But it’s vital that the team behind the show understand a few very important things.
Faith needs to be at the center of the show.
There are some great characters in Mirror’s Edge and we definitely want to see them in a television series, but one thing any adaptation should avoid doing is making anything or anyone other than Faith the central element. Shows and stories in general succeed on the strength of their characters more often than their concepts, and Faith is the character who’s going to make or break the show.
She needs to be the focus of the show. The world of Mirror’s Edge is big with a lot of moving parts, political ideals, and factions, but the way to explore the world should be through Faith’s eyes. It’s vital that she isn’t just a part of the show, but that she is the show, beyond any potential love interests or external forces.
She needs to be complex
Adapting video game characters can be difficult because, particularly with main playable characters, players tend to project a fair amount onto said characters. We get their backstories, we understand their motives and some of their moral code through dialogue, but a lot of the way we think about and understand characters comes from us.
That’s not the case with TV. These characters aren’t playable, so a Mirror’s Edge series is going to have to give us the complexity that we tend to give characters that we play. There need to be things to discover about Faith that we don’t already know. The best characters on television aren’t necessarily the ones who are easy to like, but the ones who have something to say, who have clear and compelling motivations, and who do things boldly. On that note:
She needs to kick ass
We aren’t looking for quiet, agreeable, and cooperative female heroes — we’re looking for female heroes who get shit done without waiting for permission. We don’t need to see women following the rules and being diplomatic, we need to see more women living bravely and loudly, taking up space, doing awesome shit, being radically female, and being unapologetic about it.
Women don’t exist to be likable, we exist to live meaningfully, whatever that means for us. Our characters should reflect that. Female characters don’t have to be agreeable to be protagonists. The role of complicated hero or anti-hero isn’t reserved solely for male characters.
If Faith Connors shows up to kick ass, audiences will love her. There’s always room for one more badass female hero on television.