I’m pretty sure there’s a sign at CW headquarters that says “When in doubt, Hunger Games.” The teen network has, by my count, three shows similar to The Hunger Games in the works: One is a reality show (yes, really), one is set in a dystopia where young women compete to be Queen, and one is a Robin Hood reboot that sounds remarkably similar to Katniss’ Mockingjay plotline. But apparently three is the magic number, because CW president Mark Peodwitz has said that their potential Battle Royale series—based on a Japanese film and manga about teens forced to kill each other by a dystopian government—isn’t happening.
Thank God. Seeing “Battle Royale” and “The CW” in the same sentence practically made me break out in hives.
Pedowitz said that “At this time we are not planning to do anything with Battle Royale” before going on to clarify that they were never really serious about doing it in the first place: “Nothing occurred. There was nothing to talk about.”
As HitFix points out,
That’s a minor step back from what Pedowitz said in July, when he noted, “It’s amazing what happens when you have just a phone call and a discussion. We’d love to do it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to make a deal with the producers, and we’ll see where it goes. But at this point in time, it’s just a discussion for development.”
I find it hard to believe that anyone at the CW ever thought they’d seriously be able to pull a Battle Royale show off. Seriously, have they seen/read it? There’s the extreme violence, for one thing, though that could always be toned down or filmed in a less gory way. But the resonance of Battle Royale, and what sets it apart from The Hunger Games (or The Hunger Games from it… whatever, I’m tired of the “rip-off” conversation), is that the kids forced to kill each other in Battle Royale are classmates. There are friendships, rivalries, secret adorable crushes and the like that come with them into the arena. It’s really rough emotionally, and I think it’s a fair assumption that the CW would shy away from that in favor of more schmaltzy “forbidden romance” stuff.
But it’s a moot point, because it’s not happening. At least not for a while. (Way to cover your bases with the “at this time,” Pedowitz.)