Heroes

Show Statistics

Season Awards Rating
4
29
7.6
Show Type Genres
Event Show
Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Pilot Scene Count Screenplay Scene Count

56

63

Significant Elements

Superpowers

Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the attempted DC Cinematic Universe, the Marvel tv shows, and all the other superhero media, there was Heroes. Now obviously there were shows (Smallville) and movies (X-men, Spiderman) that aired before Heroes, but it wasn’t a saturated market like it is today. Heroes used drama mixed with superpowers that were more of the spice than the main ingredient to create a mysterious drama that gave us an entertaining first season. If Heroes were to be pitched in today’s market, it wouldn’t have too many interested parties given the media both DC and Marvel are pumping out on television and on the big screen.

Diverse Cast

Heroes did not hold back on the diverse casting needed for its story, which took place with characters from all over the world. Like the eclipse being a global event, Heroes doesn’t focus its story locally, instead choosing to have a diverse cast with backgrounds ranging from Japanese, American and Indian. Having a diverse cast is certainly not new, but the distances between locations of the storylines and the uniqueness of characters having no prior relationship before connecting offers something different than most shows, where everyone is already acquainted on some level.

Comic Book

The show is written like a comic book marking chapters throughout its episodes. Even the pilot script has images inserted throughout. This is a homage to the origins of superpowers from the comic books/graphic novels that inspired the show and although it wasn’t based on a source material, its characters inspired its own brand of comics.

Main Characters

Claire Bennet

Description

CLAIRE BENNET, (17.)…Clair has “girl-next-door” looks, and to complete the cliche, she’s dressed in a CHEERLEADING OUTFIT.

Differences

No differences noted.

Peter Petrelli

Description

Ethan is a hospice nurse, hence the uniform. A warm and gentle soul, selfless, almost a saint.

Differences

Ethan Cambell was changed to Peter Petrelli.

Peter was changed from Nathan’s twin brother to younger brother.

Hiro Nakumura

Description

HIRO TANAKA, (24). Hiro is slight and nondescript in his short white sleeve shirt and black tie. A worker bee in sea of worker bees. However, Hiro has a hint of the nonconformist in him. A little “spike” to his hairstyle. His tie a little too thin. A small “punk” bracelet tucking out of his sleeve.

Differences

Hiro Tanaka was changed to Hiro Nakumura.

Mohinder Suresh

Description

WIDEN to meet Professor MOHINDER SURESH, (mid-30’s), a slightly nerdy East Indian academician standing in at the front this LECTURE HALL in an old, faded British colonial building.

Differences

No differences noted.

Other Characters

Nathan Petrelli

Nathan's name in the screenplay was Harrison Cambell and he was Peter's twin brother.

Isaac Mendez

No changes noted.

Noah Bennet

Noah was originally just named Horn Rimmed Glasses. Claire's dad, who they combined his character, was named Kent Bennet.

Simone Deveaux

Simone was originally named Stella in the screenplay.

Angela Petrelli

Angela was originally named Alice Cambell in the screenplay.

Ando

No changes noted.

Zach

Zach, Claire's friend, was originally a girl named Zoe in the screenplay.

Act Breakdown

Act One

Storylines

Peter thinks he can fly and has a destiny.
Mohinder finds out his father is murdered and goes to New York.
Niki is on the run from someone she owes money too.
Claire thinks she’s a freak and cannot be killed.

D.L. Hawkins

D.L’s storyline is cut from the aired pilot. D.L is eventually introduced later in the series with the same power, but as a secondary character in Niki’s story instead of a main character in his own. And to be quite honest, his storyline was the worst part of the script. D.L had several scenes of accidentally escaping prison because he would sleepwalk and then use his power to phase through the wall. There were no prison fights or anything intriguing besides him discovering his power.

Peter Petrelli

Peter has a few dream sequences cut from Act 1. However some of the dream sequences are shown in later acts. In the pilot, the old man is always sleeping and doesn’t interact with Peter.

Peter’s storyline is spread out throughout the pilot instead of bunched in the first act. This is due to the elimination of D.L. Hawkins storyline, which gave more flexibility for arrangement of scenes.

Mohinder Suresh

In the original screenplay, Mohinder is fired by the dean for teaching topics that are considered fringe science.
In the aired pilot, Mohinder’s colleague tells him his father has died.

This change, although small, is important and had a lot of rippling effects throughout the series. Mohinder’s motivation is completely changed. Instead of going to New York because he was fired and on the run, he goes to New York to find his father’s research and to find out if there was any foul play involved in his father’s death. His father was researching the phenomenon of human evolution, tying back to what Mohinder was teaching and why an external group is after his work.

Narration by Mohinder is added to start the show.

Niki Sanders

Niki’s story stays exactly the same in Act One, except Micah is not a typical kid. He’s more composed and intelligent than the script implies.

Claire Bennet

Claire’s storyline stays the same in Act One with minor changes. She jumps off equipment instead of a cliff and her friend is a guy named Zack instead of a girl named Zoe.

Act Two

Storylines

Hiro discovers he has the power to stop time.
Niki finds out Micah has been kicked out of school due to financial reasons and turns to an old friend for help.
Peter talks to his politician brother about his dream and bails his mother out of jail for shoplifting.
Claire rescues a firefighter from a train wreck fire.

Hiro Nakumura

Hiros storyline stays the exact same throughout the pilot.  

Niki Sanders

Niki’s storyline had a few changes in Act Two, but it made the story fundamentally better and highlighted the motivation of Niki.

 First, in the screenplay, Micah is kicked out of school because the school can’t help him. This is a horrible reason given that it’s a private school with a paid tuition. The pilot changes the reason to Niki’s checks are bouncing, so no payment has actually been made. Not only does it highlight the money problem Niki is running from, but it makes the audience more sympathetic and understanding of the need to be a cam girl as she is trying to give her son the best education opportunity.

The other change is that Niki destroys a mirror in the principle’s waiting room after her alter ego reflection mocks her. Although it is unlikely the principle would go after her, it’s still a loose end. Instead Niki looks and yells at her reflection in a fish tank, causing no physical damage and no further consequences.

Claire Bennet

In the screenplay, Claire rescues someone from a burning building. Afterwards she is questioned why she doesn’t have any injuries. In the pilot, the fire is a train crash not a building fire. Claire still rescues someone and one of the fireman checks her for injuries, but the scene of the accident is crazy enough that she can slip away without further interrogation.

 

I’m guessing the type of accident was changed because Isaac painted a picture of the train crash which he sees compared side to side with on the television news. A building fire would be just as easy to capture in painting, but a train wreck looks more distinguishing.

Peter Petrelli

The scene of Peter telling Nathan about his dream is the same, but Nathan name drops Mr. Linderman, an important character later on, right before Peter arrives. There’s a slight difference in Nathan’s demeanor towards Peter. In the screenplay, he’s angry at Peter for acting crazy and interfering in his life. In the pilot, Nathan is the older brother and instead of being angry, he humors Peter but is still ultimately annoyed at Peter’s crazy theories.
 
Peter and Angela’s conversation is paired with Nathan and Peter releasing her instead of in two separate locations. Angela is less harsh on Peter. In the screenplay she tells him that she never expected him to amount to much. In the pilot, she just tells him to start living his life.

Act Three

Storylines

Mohinder finds father’s research and puts together a research board.
Peter rejects a job offer from Nathan and crosses paths with Mohinder.
Niki is taken hostage and knocked out, but her alter ego kills both men.
Hiro and Ando discuss superpowers in a bar.
The eclipse is seen by all characters.

Mohinder Suresh

Due to the added part of Mohinder’s father dying, more scenes of Mohinder in New York are added. Originally he just randomly showed up as Peter’s taxi driver, but it was added that he actually went to his father’s old apartment and saw all his files. Mohinder finding a tape labelled “Sylar” is also added, foreshadowing what would turn out to be one of the series best characters.

Isaac Mendez

 

Originally introduced in Act One of the screenplay, Isaac finally makes his first appearance in Act 3. His storyline stays relatively the same with a few scenes combined.

The scene of Isaac destroying his painting and telling Simone off in the script are combined into one scene in the pilot. In the script, Isaac tells Simone about his future paintings by showing a winning horse race he predicted through his paintings. In the pilot, he shows her a picture of a terrorist attack he painted before it happened. 

In the script, Isaac handcuffs himself when Simone leaves. He doesn’t do this in the pilot, but it is made clear he doesn’t want to do drugs anymore.

Peter Petrelli

A scene is added of Nathan offering Peter a job to help him campaign, but Peter rejects it.

Niki Sanders

Originally in Act Four, Niki being caught by men in her home and then waking up after killing them is moved to the end of Act Three.

All Characters

The eclipse montage is pushed from Act 2 to the middle of Act 3 to establish a bit more of the characters. The eclipse itself is strange in that some people have their powers before it happens. Usually events cause the change, but in Hereoes that is never made clear especially with Claire healing before the eclipse takes place.
 

Act Four

Storylines

Peter and Simone save Isaac from an overdose.
Mohinder runs from Noah.
Claire has a family dinner and greets her dad.
Hiro teleports to Time Square in New York.

Peter Petrelli

Peter and Simone still find Isaac passed out, but there is no added drama of Isaac cutting off his arm. 

The ending of the screenplay is left open with Nathan holding on to Peter in the air. In the pilot, Peter’s hand slips and he falls.

Mohinder Suresh

Same as the script.

Hiro Nakumura

Same as the script.

Claire Bennet

The family dinner in Act Three was moved to Act Four.

Instead of telling her parents about her powers, the big reveal is that the man chasing Mohinder is Claire’s father. This was probably the smartest change made in the pilot. Combining Noah with Claire’s father added more mystery to the character and connected Claire to the overall story. 

Screenwriting Elements

Screenplay Images

A lot of screenwriters ask if they can use images in their screenplay. It’s not common, and I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you want an example of how to do it professionally, check out Heroes screenplay.

Foreign Language

 Hiro and Ando speak Japanese, but their dialogue is in English. Always use parenthesis to denote when someone is speaking another language.Keep in mind the language of the people reading your script.

Character Dreaming

Heroes has several dream states so if you’re wondering how to transition from someone dreaming to someone awake, check out Peter’s storyline.

Rated R

Although Heroes aired on NBC, the original pilot had swearing and nudity in it. It’s never a bad option to include, but don’t rely on it as crutch for the story. It was easily removed from Heroes, and it should be easily removed from your script, if needed.

Superpower Actions

Action scenes come inherently with superpowers, although there isn’t much action here. However there are scenes of powers being used such as Claire entering a burning building and Nathan flying to save Peter.  

Five Differences

1. Story Structure

Heroes story structure went through a lot of changes from script to screen. Cutting D.L Hawkins entire story line gave more room to expand scenes with the other characters. Comparing the two structures side by side, the pilot uses the first two acts to group scenes of the same character before alternating scenes in the final two acts. In the script, Act one only had grouped together scenes of the same character, and then took an alternating approach for the other three acts.

2. D.L. Hawkins Story Line Cut

D.L. Hawkins story was cut from the pilot and his character is not seen until later on in the series. The story itself was not interesting. With the remaining lead characters having no connection with one another, it made sense that either D.L. or Niki had to be a secondary character to the other. Niki’s storyline was more interesting and it had good pacing.

3. Noah combined with Claire's dad

Claire’s dad was originally named Kent and he had no significant part in the story. Combining him with the character chasing Mohinder put a lot more mystery in the overall storyline and added more depth to the character especially living with someone who has superpowers.

4. Names

Almost all names were changed from the script. I’m not sure the reasoning, but they likely tested them out with audiences until they found some that worked.

5. Fathers research

Mohinder goes from a scorned crazy scientist to a curious son looking for his fathers work. The research would go on throughout the series and is used as an explanation for why people suddenly have superpowers. 

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