An Iconic Movie Franchise Is Becoming A TV Series
Wilmer Valderrama will star as Zorro in a Disney+ series about the iconic character
Bryan Cogman has signed on as showrunner and executive producer for the new Disney+ Zorro series. The studio describes the reimagining of the classic tale (which previously had Antonio Banderas in the lead) as an epic adventure for a modern audience. The story is also rooted in the diverse history of California and is filled with humor, sinister intrigue, romance, and swashbuckling thrills, Deadline reports.
Wilmer Valderrama, of That 70s Show fame, will star as Don Diego de la Vega and his titular alter ego. Along with the actor, the series is executive produced by former Disney Branded Entertainment President Gary Marsh under a multiyear production deal for his Disney General Entertainment banner. John Gertz of Zorro Productions Inc will also produce.
Zorro, which will air exclusively on Disney+, tells the story of a privileged caballero named Diego De La Vega. After returning to his hometown, El Pueblo de Los Angeles, due to a family tragedy, he discovers corruption and injustice plagues the area. This leads him to take up the mantle of the masked vigilante Zorro.
Although there have been several series based on the character created by Johnston McCulley in 1919, the latest iteration of Zorro is inspired by the 1950s version starring Guy Williams. Consisting of 78 episodes, the show aired between 1957 and 1959. Four additional hour-long installments were broadcast in the early 1960s.
Speaking about the new Zorro, President of Disney Branded Television Ayo Davis said the story will be a compelling period piece, told in a very modern telenovela style. “We look forward to delivering a culturally relevant and entertaining story with definitional characters that will connect with our viewers for generations to come,” he previously told Variety.
Excited about the series, which has been in development since 2021, Valderrama Zorro was the one character that made him (as a Latino) feel like he could also be a hero. “Bringing Zorro back after 60 years and being part of the legacy for other children to know they too can be heroes of their own stories is a dream come true,” he said via Variety.
The most famous version of the story is, arguably, 1998’s The Mask of Zorro. Directed by Martin Campbell, the story follows an older Don Diego de la Vega (Anthony Hopkins) who seeks to avenge the death of his wife and save his daughter. His quest leads him to Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas), who he trains to take his place as the masked vigilante.
The film was a box office hit, earning $250 million on a budget of just $95 million. A sequel, The Legend of Zorro, followed in 2005, starring Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. It was also directed by Martin Campbell. Meanwhile, the new series will be in good hands with Bryan Cogman.
The Zorro showrunner previously worked on the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones for eight seasons. He earned four Emmy Awards, a Hugo Award, and a Producer’s Guild of America Award for his efforts. He also worked as producer on the first installment of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and penned the screenplay for the remake of The Sword in the Stone.