This past week a report came out claiming that a Mass Effect television show was currently being discussed between Amazon Studios and Electronic Arts, the parent company of BioWare. Fans were quick to respond in excitement over the possibility of the Mass Effect trilogy being adapted for television. However, as fans are wont to do, excitement broke down into a more detail-focused discourse. One of the main subjects of concern is the role and casting of Mass Effect protagonist Commander Shepard.
The biggest issue is, of course, that Commander Shepard isn't an easily defined character. Everyone who played Mass Effect likely had a different version of Commander Shepard. Whether it's the binary choices of masculine Shepard or feminine Shepard, or Paragon Shepard and Renegade Shepard, or dynamic story-dependent choices surrounding crewmates' survival or romance, Shepard's path is unique to each player. Casting such a role is no simple matter.
One common thread shared by many Mass Effect fans is that femShep should be the protagonist of an adaptation, for many reasons. One reason is that femShep was originally created as the canon Shepard by BioWare. Another is that Jennifer Hale's performance as femShep is very highly regarded. Another reason people are pushing for femShep is in response to Henry Cavill previously teasing his association with a Mass Effect show, something many would prefer not to happen.
Former BioWare writer David Gaider chimed in on the subject of a Mass Effect show, describing himself as cringing at the thought. His issue is that Mass Effect's Shepard is intended to be a blank slate, with much of the narrative work offloaded onto the game's companions. In that regard, Mass Effect deserves to be an enable show where the companions take much of the spotlight, but most fans can see how a studio would instead prioritize a big star in Shepard's role, making for a completely different type of Mass Effect experience.
Needless to say, the fandom is flustered and worried over the possibility of a Mass Effect show. That, in turn, represents another attitude within the fandom. Many fans are already distancing themselves from the possibility of a Mass Effect show, describing it as too difficult or even going so far as saying it's doomed to fail.
Video game television shows and movies have a troublesome past. Many such projects fail or disappoint even if they succeed. There are examples otherwise, though. The Sonic the Hedgehog movie and The Witcher show both have been warmly received, though perhaps not by their core video game audiences. Whether or not Mass Effect will even try to appease video game audiences is another matter entirely.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
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