Without a doubt, we Filipinos love to watch Darna movies or its TV adaptation. Thanks to the creative minds of writer Mars Ravelo and artist Nestor Redondo who introduced Darna in Philippine komiks back in 1947, Philippines has now its own lady superhero as the counterpart of Wonder Woman. But how much do you really know about Darna in the movies?
As of July 17, 2019, Star Magic artist Jane De Leon is the new Darna. She replaced Liza Soberano who announced in August 4 2018 that she has withdrawn from the project after she fractured her right index finger in an accident on the set of the now-defunct fantaserye “Bagani.” As we all know, Angel Locsin was initially doing the film but had to back out because of a back injury, But while we are waiting for more updates for this upcoming Darna film, below are some fun facts about the earlier Darna movies.
#1 The first Darna movie was directed by FPJ’s father
The very first Darna movie was released on May 31, 1951, and shown at the Clover theater in Manila. Yes, there is only one movie theater at that time. The original Darna was portrayed by Rosa Del Rosario, Narda was portrayed by then-child actress Mila Nimfa, Manuel Ubaldo as Ding, and Cristina Aragon as Valentina. The first Darna film was produced by Royal Productions and yes, it was directed by FPJ’s father, Fernando Poe Sr.
#2 There are already 14 Darna movies, 8 actresses and 1 actor
As of posting, there are already 14 Darna movies, wherein 8 actresses and one actor portrayed the role, Rosa Del Rosario (1951 and 1952), Liza Moreno (1963 and 1964), Eva Montes (1965), Gina Pareno (1969), Rio Locsin (1979), Vilma Santos (1973, 1974, 1975 and 1980), Nanette Medved (1991), and Anjanette Abayari (1994), and Dolphy (1979). And yes, you read it right, Comedy King Dolphy became Darna.
#3 Earlier Darna movies had Narda portrayed by a child actress
Many Filipinos know that Darna and Narda are both being portrayed in the movies and TV by the same actress. But in the earlier Darna movies that starred Rosa Del Rosario, Liza Moreno, Eva Montes, and Gina Pareno, Narda was portrayed by a child actress, simply because Narda is a young girl. In fact, Vilma Santos was the first Darna actress to also portray Narda in Lipad Darna Lipad because Narda has already become a teenager.
#4 Vilma Santos’ first Darna movie has 3 episodes
Lipad Darna Lipad is the first Darna movie of Vilma Santos and was released on March 23, 1973, and Ate Vi was only 19 that time. The first episode ( Ang Impakta) was directed by Maning Borlaza, the second episode (Ang Babaeng Ahas) was directed by Joey Goesiengfao, while the third one (Ang Babaeng Lawin) was directed by Elwood Perez. Vilma’s “Ding, ang bato!” became one of the most famous movie lines.
#5 One Darna movie focuses more on her villain
Fans love to watch Darna beating the villains. But what if you watch a Darna movie where the villain has more exposure than her? Well, that happened in 1965 when People’s Pictures released Darna at Ang Babaing Tuod, starring then newcomer Eva Montes, who appeared in the movie for three times only. In a later interview, she reportedly said the movie producer was grooming Gina Alonzo (the villain) to be his next big star. Watch Darna at Ang Babaing Tuod full movie here.
#6 Not all Darna actresses wear red bikini
Darna’s costume had a lot of variations over the decades. But typically, she wears a red helmet with winged golden medallion, a bra with a gold star in each cap, gold bracelets, a red bikini with golden medallion belt and a loincloth (bahag) in front, and a pair of red boots. However, Gina Pareño wore a light blue bikini in Darna at ang Planetman. Vilma Santos wore all gold in Darna and the Giants and blue shorts in Darna and Ding. Watch Darna and the Giants full movie here and Darna and Ding full movie here.
#7 Darna falls in love for the first time
As beautiful as she is, Darna could not help but attract suitors. But because of her huge responsibilities, she should not fall in love. But in the 1965 movie ‘Darna at ang Planetman’, Gina Pareño as Darna falls in love with a man (Vic Vargas), who eventually became Planetman and the main villain in the movie. In addition, an additional character Daria was introduced in the movie and was also portrayed by Gina Pareño.
#8 Darna gets pregnant
Obviously, Darna also should not get pregnant. But in the 1979 parody comedy movie Darna Kuno, Darna (Brenda del Rio) was impregnated by Japanese anime robots Voltes V and Mazinger Z. Thanks to Dondon (played by Comedy King Dolphy), Darna transferred her superpowers to him so people can be protected by evil forces. By the way, Dolphy’s leading lady Lotis Key also became Darna in that movie. Watch Darna Kuno full movie here.
#9 Darna Dances the Swing
Darna is the most celebrated superhero and the busiest woman in Pinoy movies, and she has no time for fancy activities. But no, not for Vilma Santos in the 1975 movie ‘Darna vs the Planet Women’. In a particular scene, Darna was in the costume party and a male character portrayed by Ronnie Henares invited her dance. Darna was hesitant at first but later accepted the offer. In real life, Ronnie Henares became Vilma’s boyfriend.
#10 Darna movie directed by Joel Lamangan
Joel Lamangan is known for his award-winning films including The Flor Contemplacion Story, Sidhi, Mano Po 6, and Felix Manalo, and has won three FAMAS Best Director awards. But before that, he directed the Darna movie in 1991, starring Nanette Medved and Atong Redillas, who earned a FAMAS Best Child Actor for his role as Ding. Vilma Santos is dubbed as the best Darna, but critics agree that Joel Lamangan’s movie as the best Darna movie. Watch Darna full movie here.
* Darna played cameo roles in two Captain Barbell movies Megastar Sharon Cuneta as Darna in the 1986 movie, starring Edu Manzano and Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez as Darna in the 2003 version, starring Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. Both are of them planned to do a Darna full movie each but the projects were later canceled.
* Comedian Chiquito was the first male Darna, not Dolphy. However, he appeared as Darna only in a cameo role in the 1975 movie Teribol Dobol, which also stars Vilma Santos.
* Darna was also featured in three TV series adaptations – Lorna Tolentino in 1997, Angel Locsin in 2005, and Marian Rivera in 2009.
* Darna is not copied from Wonder Woman. The first Darna drawing was created in 1939 and first appeared in public via Bulaklak Magazine on July 23 1947. On the other hand, Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston and first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in October 1941. Therefore, Darna is 2 years older than Wonder Woman.
Below is the complete list of Darna movies (As of September 2018).
* Darna (1951)
* Darna at ang Babaing Lawin (1952)
* Si Darna at ang Impakta (1963)
* Isputnik vs Darna (1964)
* Darna at ang Babaing Tuod (1965)
* Darna at ang Planetman (1969)
* Lipad Darna Lipad (1973)
* Darna and the Giants (1974)
* Darna vs the Planet Women (1975)
* Bira Darna Bira (1979)
* Dolphy Darna Kuno (1979)
* Darna at Ding (1980)
* Darna (1991)
* Darna Ang Pagbabalik (1994)
Related Post: Pinoy Child Actors Who Played Ding in Darna Movies