Adaptation is always a tricky thing. Even if a specific sequence, storyline or character worked as a comic book, there is the likelihood that it will not effectively translate to the screen. There are also other instances where some aspect of characters are simply too controversial that they are left out completely. Showrunners Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage had this exact problem when it came to the character of Nico Minoru. Because the character needed to draw harm herself to activate her Staff of One abilities in the comics, the showrunners had to face a difficult challenge of whether they needed to include it. Actress Lyrica Okano, who will play the character in the show, revealed in an NYCC interview that this aspect was left out entirely.
That’s one thing that’s been tweaked. Nico does not cut herself. I think for good reason for the show. There’s going to be a lot of young teenagers who are going to be watching the show and we don’t want to promote anything like self-harming because that’s very serious. There is an element of drawing blood, though, I will say.
It makes sense that such a controversial topic would be left out. The main demographic of the show are young teens, where cutting is a rather difficult topic to approach. As Polygon points out, the Netflix show of 13 Reasons Why had to face a similar issue, as it’s storyline was about teenage suicide. Okano did reveal that drawing blood will still be integrated into the show, but she did not point out why exactly. It will be interesting to see how they will handle this part of her powers and what other surprise changes they have in store for us.
What do you think about this change? Do you agree with their decision?