Mars Ravelo’s comics superheroine Darna has been adapted to film and television series several times over 70 years, but seeing a new one come to life will always be a delight. Aside from getting new twists and plotlines, the actresses who play the coveted role intrigue fans and viewers the most.
As we await Darna’s flight in the upcoming ABS-CBN series this August 15, let’s look back on the talented actresses who had protected the world with the powers bestowed upon by the heroine’s magical white stone.
Rosa del Rosario
Rosa del Rosario portrayed Darna in the first two film adaptations.
“Darna,” the first film released in 1951 featured the origin story of the hero and her first battle with the evil snake-haired woman, Valentina. The second film, “Darna At Ang Babaing Lawin,” was released the following year. It was a continuation of Darna’s adventure, but this time facing a woman with hawk wings as her main nemesis.
More than 10 years later, it was time for a new face for Darna. Liza Moreno played the role in two movies in 1963. The first that came out was “Si Darna At Ang Impakta” where Darna fought a woman with a vile twin growing out of her back. The heroine was joined by her trusty sidekick and brother Ding. They continued the fight against evil in “Isputnik vs. Darna” where the heroine faced another supernatural being.
Two years after, Darna’s story was presented to audience once again but with a new enemy – a powerful woman who could manipulate plants to terrorize others. In the film “Darna At Ang Babaing Tuod,” Eva Montes was tasked to become Darna. This was her first starring role in a film.
Veteran actress Gina Pareño who we’ve seen act in the series FPJ's Ang Probinsyano was also Darna once in her life. Her film “Darna at ang Planetman” was the last Darna film to be released in the 60s. It featured Darna and Ding taking on aliens with an evil plot against Earth.
Award-winning actress Vilma Santos is perhaps one of the most well-known Darna actresses to this day. She starred in not one nor two but four Darna films. With her successful portrayal of Darna in “Lipad, Darna, Lipad!” (1973), “Darna and the Giants” (1973), “Darna vs The Planet Women” (1975), and ”Darna At Ding” (1980), Vilma further proved that she is indeed the “Star For All Seasons. “
Seasoned actress Lorna Tolentino brought Darna back but on the TV screens with the first series adaptation of “Darna.” Lorna began to venture into showbusiness in 1970, garnering several movie roles. But her first ever TV role was offered in 1977 when she’s just 14 years old. This was also the first time Darna donned a one-piece instead of the usual bikini. She was 14 years old at the time and was the first Darna to wear a one-piece instead of a two-piece costume.
Former model Rio Locsin also played Darna in the 1979 film “Bira, Darna, Bira!” She was 18 years old and still a rising star in the industry when she took on the role. Now a widely loved actress in her prime, she is set to appear in the latest Darna series of ABS-CBN as Roberta.
In the 1986 movie starring Edu Manzano, “Captain Barbell” shared the same world as Darna. Sharon Cuneta, who was gaining the moniker “Megastar” at the time, got the role of Darna and enticed fans to see her cameo in the film.
Model turned actress Nanette Medved was the top choice for Darna in the 1991 film helmed by Joel Lamangan. In this film, she faced two of Darna’s greatest enemies — Valentina and Impakta.
Nanette shared in a 2020 interview that the role of Darna showed her how inspiring such a character could be. She could see her audiences filled with hopes and dreams. After the role of Darna and some soul searching, Nanette decided to leave the entertainment industry and focus on philanthropy efforts and her advocacies. Truly, she has embodied Darna in her real life!
Actress and former beauty queen Anjanette Abayari was given the titular role in the 1994 film “Darna: Ang Pagbabalik.” This adaptation gives fans an interesting twist, as Darna lost her magical stone. With her nemesis Valentina on the loose, Anjanette’s Darna had to find a way to retrieve the stone and defeat the snake-haired woman.
Sharon Cuneta wasn’t the only singer-actress to play Darna alongside Captain Barbell. Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez also got the iconic role in the 2003 film adaptation of Captain Barbell, portrayed by Ramon 'Bong' Revilla Jr.
In ABS-CBN’s Mars Ravelo’s Darna, we have only seen the teaser and trailers, but it’s clear that we will witness two Darnas in one setting.
Iza Calzado plays Leonor, who is considered the First Darna. However, her unfortunate fate causes her life to end, and passes on the magical stone to her daughter, Narda.
Jane De Leon
Leonor’s daughter Narda in Mars Ravelo’s Darna takes on the responsibility of protecting Earth by fully awakening her powers with the magical stone passed on by her mother. This premier role was granted to the young and dedicated actress, Jane de Leon.
“Mars Ravelo’s Darna” will air on August 15 on Kapamilya Channel, A2Z, Jeepney TV, and TV5 and will also be available on Kapamilya Online Live, iWantTFC, and The Filipino Channel.