The general consensus in the fandom, whether you liked Shadowhunters or not, seems to be that it’s a notch better than the movie.
Exec Producer Ed Decter talked to The Hollywood Reporter, and explained why adapting a grand saga like The Mortal Instruments into a TV show works better. One of the coolest bits is that Ed acknowledges the extended Shadow World – The Dark Artifices and more – as a source to fill up the world of the show.
Are you going to continue to stay true to the book all season long, or will you make any changes to the story?
We’re not changing the giant, essential truths that we all love about the series, but we’re getting to some of those things in different way. For instance, Luke isn’t a cop in the books. He owned a rare book store, which we didn’t feel was active enough and involved enough for a television series. It worked fine in the novels, of course.
Are there characters you couldn’t fit into the show that were in the books, or did you add any new characters?
It’s not really completely new but we have some characters that are amalgams of several characters in the books. In the novel, you can have 27 characters rattling around in a chapter if you want but just to not confuse the viewer and have an enormous cast every week, we combined certain things. Simon didn’t have a girlfriend at the beginning of the book but we combined a fan of his that we meet later in the books with a band member of his and created the character Maureen. We did that to condense the story, and we eventually get to all the things that happen to Simon and all the exciting things and huge transformations that he goes through, and we get to them in a slightly different way. Honestly, the books are everywhere in the writers’ room. We’ve also read the auxiliary series, The Dark Artifices, The Magnus Bane Chronicles, all to find little details or props we might need from those.
What lessons did you learn from the film franchise’s failure that you’re going to apply to the TV show?
I didn’t work on the movie, but what we learned was that just trying to compress this very big saga into an hour and a half was not the right approach. Having nothing to do with the execution of the movie, having just to do with the big concept of it, since it’s a really big world and that’s what it makes it great for television. We can go on and on and on infinitely renewing itself, whereas for a film, compressing it down took away from the wonder of each part of it. And in no way are we comparing ourselves to Chris Nolan, but trying to aspire to do what he did to the Batman franchise — which was taking a franchise that wasn’t that old and making it dark, sexy, unexpected — that was our goal with this show.
Is the first season going to follow the structure of the first book?
We’re not locked to season one is book one and season two is book two. For instance, book two takes place over the span of a week. Probably, season two is going to be more books two and three. There’s really no advantage to being locked to exactly the book structure because obviously the mediums are so different. We’re borrowing from all the books and using solutions in book six for some things here, but we’re doling out the general giant story in the same manner that she did, in the same order and sequence she did.
Read the full interview here.