Last we heard about the Greatest American Hero reboot around these parts, Phil Lord & Chris Miller were producing the pilot, with Dope director Rick Famuyiwa helming.
A lot can happen in two years! Not only are Lord & Miller gone (these guys love parting ways with franchise reboots, huh?), but the whole creative team has been swapped out: the pilot is now being overseen by Fresh Off the Boat‘s Rachna Fruchbom and Nahnatchka Khan, with Fruschbom scripting.
The most exciting change, though, is the identity of the eponymous Greatest American Hero: the 1981 series starred William Katt as hapless schoolteacher Ralph Hinkley*, who gains an unwieldy set of superpowers when he is given an extraterrestrial superhero suit (and promptly loses the instructions). But the 2018 iteration will star New Girl scene-stealer Hannah Simone, playing (according to Deadline) “Meera, a 30-year-old woman who loves tequila and karaoke and has spent her life searching and failing to find meaning, much to the chagrin of her traditional Indian-American family. An inexplicable event occurs that will change the course of Meera’s life forever: she is entrusted with a super suit to protect the planet. Meera may have finally found purpose, but the world has never been in more unreliable hands.”
This all sounds swell, though one wonders what value the 37-year-old property holds for the younger audience the show is targeting. Shit, the title is practically problematic at this point. But if they exist, you can probably count on the old school Greatest American Hero fans (GAHBros? GAHbronis?) to start decrying this update any minute now. Also, some fun trivia: ABC attempted to gender-swap the concept as far back as 1986, but that pilot (renamed The Greatest American Heroine, natch) never aired. If only there was some way to see it today.
Correct us if we’re wrong (actually, correct Deadline, since we’re stealing this from them), but this is believed to be the first instance of a woman of color portraying the lead of a live-action TV superhero.**
*As I noted in 2015, the show became the brief subject of controversy in its first season: Katt's character was named Ralph Hinkley, and 12 days after the show premiered would-be assassin John Hinckley shot President Ronald Reagan. The character's name was hastily changed to "Hanley" for the remainder of the first season, then changed back again for season two. Oh, the '80s.
**I think Eartha Kitt’s Catwoman was pretty conflicted, tbh, and should get an honorable mention.