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SYFY WIRE San Diego Comic-Con 2019

SDCC 2019: Nancy Drew cast and crew talk bringing the iconic sleuth into present day

By Donnie Lederer
Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew has been solving mysteries since her creation in 1930. From kidnappings to murder to everything in between, Nancy was one of the original "Meddling Kids." This fall, the story of Nancy Drew is updated for 2019 when the new series premieres on the CW. An 18-year-old Nancy is about to head off to college when a family tragedy keeps her home. As Nancy is known to do, she becomes embroiled in a murder investigation in which she is both a witness and a suspect.

The cast and creators found themselves in Ballroom 20 at San Diego Comic-Con Thursday to screen the first episode and hold a panel discussion with TV Guide's Damian Holbrook. Here's what mysteries he was able to unravel:

When asked what their first experiences with the character were, producers Noga Landau and Melinda Hsu-Taylor admitted they were big fans of the books growing up, "I lived in Maine, and I felt very isolated. I enjoyed fiction that involved inclusion, and Nancy spoke to that." Producer Stephanie Savage was a huge fan of the 70's television show starring Pamela Sue Martin (who also has a recurring role on the series.)

After talking about the past, the conversation moved to the present, and how they were able to make Nancy Drew, who's been around for 90 years, relevant going into 2020. "We made sure the show had all the things we loved about Nancy Drew," said Savage, "but we also delve into her dark side. What makes her want to investigate the unknown?" 

"Nancy isn't perfect," adds Landau, "she's had a tremendous loss, and her life is complicated now." Her relationships symbolize these complications. Unlike his book counterpart, Tunji Kasim's Ned "Nick Nickerson" isn't the character we know from the books, "He's not this 'hometown boy.' He has a lot of skeletons in his closet," Kasim said. He also noted the diversity within his fellow castmates, "I love how [the diversity] is very 2019, and it's unapologetic about it."

Speaking with Nancy herself, Kennedy McCann, how she learned she was up for the role was a very "Comic-Con story" to tell, "I received a text while playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends," McCann said, "Then I read the script and told my friends 'I'm going to be Nancy Drew.' This [character] was my voice.

During the pilot screening, there were a few moments where things revealed themselves to Nancy, which a detective of her stature should have been able to figure out. Hsu-Taylor addressed this, "Nancy isn't perfect. When it comes to the people she cares about, and she does have some blind spots. However, she's Nancy Drew, and she won't be behind the audience in knowing things for long."

The supernatural will play into the series but to a point. The series will delve into the lore of seaside towns, the "creepy stuff" according to Landau. However, if we are looking for a replacement for the Winchesters, it won't be here. Nancy and her friends will not be fighting Demogorgons or vampires in this series. However, on the other side, it won't be a "Scooby-Doo" reveal at the end. "The myths they touch upon within the series are authentic to them," said Savage.

You will be able to figure out if that's true or not, or if it's just another mystery for Nancy to solve when Nancy Drew premieres Oct. 9 on The CW.

Click here for SYFY WIRE’s full coverage of San Diego Comic-Con 2019, including up-to-the-minute news, exclusive interviews, and videos.