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The Most Notable Difference Between Warrior Nun And The Original Comics

With shows such as "The Umbrella Academy," the Henry Cavill starring "The Witcher," and the Iko Uwais series "Wu Assassins," Netflix has carved out a niche for itself with action fantasy stories. One of the more notable entries from the streaming service in that genre has been the TV series "Warrior Nun."

Created by Simon Barry, the show (which shares a surprising connection with the "Metal Gear Solid" video game series by featuring actor David Hayter) is an adaptation of the comic series "Warrior Nun Areala," which was created by Ben Dunn. Both the comics and the show focus on a group called the Order of the Cruciform Sword, a segment of the Catholic Church comprised of nuns who take up arms to fight against demons and other evil forces, giving them the titular name of warrior nuns.

However, despite being an adaptation of the comics, "Warrior Nun" has opted to make a few changes. Some of these are in place to adapt the story to a different medium, while others are made for artistic or storytelling reasons. As Barry said in an exclusive interview with Looper, "We knew early on that we weren't going to duplicate the books as a TV show because there were just things that were very hard to pull off from just a filming point of view and also somatically."

Here are the most notable difference between "Warrior Nun" and the comics.

The comics have a different main character altogether

The most significant change between "Warrior Nun Areala" and "Warrior Nun" is the main character. "Warrior Nun Areala" focuses on Sister Shannon Masters, a full-fledged member of the Order of the Cruciform Sword, which is composed of the titular warrior nuns and priests who conduct magic to help them. Shannon is a trained warrior nun in the Order when the story begins.

"Warrior Nun" focuses on Ava Silva (Alba Baptista), a character not present in "Warrior Nun Areala." Unlike Shannon, Ava is an outsider to the Order, unaware of its existence until she is infused with power that proves useful to the organization. Ava is also younger in the show than Shannon. While Shannon's age is not specified in the comics, she is already a trained warrior when she first accesses her new powers in "Warrior Nun Areala." Ava is just 19 at the beginning of "Warrior Nun." 

Shannon's powers in "Warrior Nun Areala" come from a Valkyrie originally called Auria, who chooses an avatar in every generation to fight demonic forces. Her first avatar was Sister Areala, and it is Areala who recognizes Shannon as the chosen avatar of her generation. The Valkyrie, now also named Areala, confirms her designation as the avatar and grants Shannon her powers.

By comparison, Ava is a tetraplegic who's dead at the beginning of "Warrior Nun." Nuns from the Order hide a divine object in her corpse, causing her to be resurrected and granting her abilities. Shannon appears briefly in the pilot, played by Melina Matthews, but succumbs to injuries sustained in her latest fight.

Barry spoke about his rationale behind the change

Showrunner Simon Barry spoke about what he liked about the comics in an interview with CBR. "I was immediately taken with the attitude and the in-your-face kind of tone of the books," Barry said. "I saw a lot of potential in the mythology of the books and the characters and I also liked that it didn't take itself too seriously; it was having fun but it still had these stakes of good and evil."

As reported by Filmand, Barry built upon this while speaking at Freakcon in 2019 (via Google Translate). Barry noted that he didn't intend for the TV show to be a faithful remake of the comics, "But we will use the mythology of that universe to tell our story." Barry continued, "There are several stories in his universe, but you don't have to tell them all."

In the CBR interview, Barry also spoke about another major change from the comics: the setting. While "Warrior Nun Areala" is set in New York, the events of "Warrior Nun" take place in modern-day Spain. According to Barry, the show needed a sense of history that was readily available in Spain, which also helped add a sense of grounding to the more outlandish elements of the series. "The thing about Spain is there's such history in every direction with the churches and castles and landscape, and it just felt right," Barry also added, "I think the age and the history that's always kind of there in the visuals really helped the show feel a little bit more rooted."