If you have been a regular visitor here at Screen Wipe and were here early in 2015 you will have noticed that a good number of my posts in the early days were to promote and encourage people to watch and support a new show called Forever.
One of the best things from the ABC stable in quite some time, it starred much loved and often overlooked Welsh Actor Ioan Gruffudd and a raft of other actors familiar to audiences of Law and Order, Bones and Orange is the New Black.
Forever threw the police procedural format on it's head. It's quality casting and interesting Historical set pieces made it a breath of fresh air in a sea of mediocrity
The premise is simple. A Doctor dies onboard a slave transport ship after attempting to protect a slave from an overly violent captain and after a miraculous resurrection finds he cannot die and so through much life experience and a brilliant mind brings his own expertise to modern day crimes in Present Day New York as a Medical Examiner.
I strongly urge all readers to drift back to those early posts to familiarise themselves with the Show's brilliance; as you will see I thought really rather highly of it...
Plot, cast and premise were all superb, but after a (sadly fruitless) battle to the death in an attempt to save the show, it was axed after just one season and the fans have been left bereft.
Well fear not Foreverists !! Two rather fine fellows have taken it upon themselves to ensure the Forever Legacy (like Henry Himself ) will live on in the hearts of us devoted fans!
Forever returns in Graphic Novel Format thanks to the creative efforts of Jeff Sack and Brian O'Marra.
Jeff has been an ardent supporter of the Blog and so I find it in my power to quiz him on where this wonderful thing evolved from; and what we, the Forever fans can expect from this exciting project...
Me: Jeff, we have talked about Forever often and the quality of the show is self evident; despite it's untimely cancellation, but where did the idea for this extension of the universe Matt Miller created, come from?
Jeff: Emma, Brian O'Marra was the father of this idea. The network Forever aired on ABC announced their intention to cancel the freshman series after one season after the season finale aired. This resulted in heart-broken fans across the globe and leaving Matt Miller's story in a state of flux.
Fans of the series were left with an unresolved situation. Detective Jo Martinez realized her colleague Dr. Henry Morgan had a huge secret that he was keeping from her and most of the planet, that he's immortal. In the final scene of the episode, Jo confronts Morgan with evidence she wants answers for. The series ends with Henry uttering the familiar words "It's A Long Story!"
Knowing that the fan-base felt cheated and left in the dark, Brian decided to resolve that thread. What you and other readers will get to read on January 5, is Brian's vision of neatly tying up that thread. The rest of Chapter One revolves around concepts that the two of us came up with and sets the tone for upcoming chapters.
Chapter Two is a joint effort. It takes the mansion that Matt Miller created and adds some new wings, primarily in the past as we explore the history of the Morgan family lineage.
Me: Tell us about the creative process, how does the collaboration between you and Brian work? Do you write first and Brian illustrate or do you work together
Jeff: We've found that the process that works best for us, is for me to write the story and Brian then comes up with the perfect image to bring those words to life. Mr. O'Mara has a penchant for finding the perfect scene for each cell, I think he's got the skills to direct a TV show or Movie.
Me: One of Forever's strengths was, the use of flashbacks to inform Henry's sleuthing in the present day, how are historical events being used in your work? How are you illustrating these with limited access to images that might push your own narratives on?
Jeff: Emma, I would go as far to say that the Flashback concept utilized through the series was a major reason that Forever was indeed a "magical" series. I'm not a fan of standard procedural series, I need a hook to draw me in. That was what made me check out the series on the ABC website a month before it got broadcast on TV.
So needless to say, Brian and I are taking full advantage of that aspect of the series. Our story begins in the 1600's with the patriarch of the Morgan Clan. Because this is Fan-Art/Fan-Fiction and is intended only as a tribute to the Magical story created by Matt Miller and company and brought to life by an incredible cast, Brian takes the liberty of borrowing cells from other sources.
Please let me make this clear, the purpose of this venture is strictly for entertainment value and as a tribute to an amazing story that was taken from us long before it's time. Brian and I don't own any rights to any images that we use or have any claim to the series or it's characters, even the ones that I'm creating. This is a tribute to Matt Miller and hopefully a present for the fans. There are too many stories remaining in Forever for the concept to die. We will never earn a penny on this project, this is indeed "A Labor Of Love!"
Me: Henry's lifespan provides quite the canon of Historical events to draw from, with such an expanse to plunder how have you decided where your story's backdrop will be?
Jeff: That's the beauty of the concept isn't it? We saw the Good Doctor in London, the United States, Paris and as a passenger on the Orient Express. There were also verbal references to other spots he visited. Once again it's a concept we intend to use to it's fullest. The early Morgan family revolved their lives around the sea. The story's set primarily in London and Glasgow, however trips to the West Indies for trading purposes was a regular part of their lives.
We also reveal that Henry's traveled across the globe in his 237-years on the planet. Beginning in Chapter Two Morgan becomes quite the name dropper, something that will become a staple of our series. Leading to a variety of "You knew (BLANK) Henry?" Many times Henry shows his disdain for historical figures.
Me: Forever's cast was also a massive strength of the show, it stands to reason that Abe will feature heavily in the world you have imagined, but how do you involve Jo, Mike, Lucas and Lieutenant Joanne Reese?
Jeff: Starting in Chapter Two, each chapter will be split rather evenly between revealing the history of the Morgan Clan and resolution of crimes by the regular cast in 2016. Jo and Henry have a different dynamic in these new chapters, so fans may see even more of her. Mike Hanson, Lucas and Lieutenant Reece will be prominently featured in each chapter.
Me: Will your storylines spring from a modern day Crime or will they remain rooted in the past?
Jeff: I'm going to respond rather cryptically to this question. Eventually the modern day story and the past intertwine.
Me: That's intriguing ... The relationship between Henry, Jo and his wives were part of the emotional heart of the show? Will we see more of the Love interests of Henry Morgan?
Jeff: I don't at present time see a reason to go back to the Nora storyline. I'm aware that many fans wanted to see her trial. I'm of the school that her story's concluded. Abigail will rejoin the series in Flashbacks, at some point we'll also explore Henry telling his son that he's immortal. Yes, new female characters will appear in Flashbacks in future chapters.
Me: Do you foresee this becoming a series or is it a one time Labour of Love?
Jeff: Well two chapters are already concluded so it will at least take the tale to that point. Chapter Three is already deeply in the planning stage. However Emma, it all comes down to the fans and if they feel that we are paying proper justice to Matt Miller's story.
Me: How do you hope your creation will be received?
Jeff: A ticker-tape parade in New York City and Brian and I knighted by Queen Elizabeth would be top-notch! We're not going to make you forget Matt Miller or the incredible story he brought to life embodied by an amazing cast. Nor will we attempt to, our purpose is to pay tribute to a story that millions of people loved and was snatched away too soon.
Me: I'll nominate you both for next year's New Year's Honours list. So now we know all about it, How can the fans access the material and when is your launch?
Jeff: Tuesday January 5, will be the launch of the Facebook page for "Forever And Ever" Chapter One. That will be joined on January 26, by Chapter Two. The first two chapters will be released in their entirety on those respective dates. Three weeks later Chapter Three will debut in a new format as we will release one page per day Monday through Friday. Much like the comic-strips in newspapers.
Me: Thanks Jeff, exciting times!! I wish you and Brian the best of luck with your endeavour. I am certain it will garner all manner of renewed interest in the Show that was so close to so many collective hearts and go some way to satisfy the hunger for more Henry an Co from the fans.
Jeff: We're hoping that Kevin Costner was correct in the movie "Field Of Dreams." If We Build It They Will Come! We have tried our best to retain the flavor of Matt Miller's Universe and the voices of his characters. The final verdict lies in the hands of the fans. Thanks for the opportunity to discuss this project Emma!
Me: My Absolute Pleasure!
Below, kindly supplied by Jeff and Brian is a teaser of what is to come. I hope you will enjoy it and support this exciting project that honours the work of cast and crew by widening the Forever universe for old fans and will surely be helping create new ones!
Forever is available to UK viewers on Sky Boxset on demand, and will soon be on release on DVD across the Globe!