WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 1 of Amazon's Hanna.
Amazon's Hanna makes quite a few changes from the 2011 film starring Saoirse Ronan, retelling the titular character's story as a young weapon the CIA lost. In this show, Esme Creed-Miles now takes on the titular role, with Joel Kinnaman replacing Eric Bana as Erik, the man who kidnapped and raised her.
Over eight episodes, the show presents us with an in-depth story detailing their evasion of the CIA, and deeper insight into the expansive super-soldier program it's running. However, the TV series does follow one of the film's major plot point, killing off a main character whose death feels like it came too early in the show's narrative.
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Game of Thrones did this in its first season, as well, killing off Sean Bean's Ned Stark. Yes, the HBO show was more or less sticking to George R.R. Martin's books at that point, but honestly, it was a death that could have been delayed a bit. Just when Ned discovered how truly deceitful the Lannisters were, and just as he was about to create waves for Westeros, he was beheaded in front his family. Of course, there were so many intriguing characters to come, especially within the Stark household, that you didn't really miss the character that much in the aftermath, but at the time of his death, Ned felt like someone who had a lot more story to tell.
Hanna leaves you with the same feeling as it builds to Erik's death in the finale, just when the young girl has seemingly shaken off the CIA for good. In the film, it was different because the chief operative hunting Hanna, Marissa (Cate Blanchett) killed Erik for keeping her away from her one-woman army. Here, however, after Marissa helps them escape a CIA stronghold and puts them on a road to freedom, the 'father' succumbs to bullet wounds from a previous shootout. Sadly, audiences kind of expected this "twist," but it feels so predictable, the desired impact i greatly diminished. We're hoping and waiting for a surprise, but it never comes.
Making things worse is that the liberties the series takes with the character actually makes for a better Erik, perfectly setting him up as an even more crucial player in a potential Season 2. The finale sets up an uneasy alliance with Marissa, the woman who was initially killing everyone to get to them. After the CIA deemed her incompetent, Marissa turns on them and decides Hanna and Erik are better off on their own. But this partnership, as quickly as it evolves, fades into nothingness with Erik's death.
It's a shame, because the dynamic between Marissa and Erik, former colleagues who tried to kill each other for the entire season, was so rich and had the potential to get even more nuanced. Having Marissa working on the inside of the CIA's Utrax Program with Erik wondering if she really is genuine feels like the team-up made to take the entire program down, but alas, the potential for this is now dead and buried -- literally.
Another missed opportunity is the lost chance to truly explore Hanna and Erik's relationship. By the season's end, Hanna erases the doubts she had in her mind about Erik, having found out he really was in love with her mom. While he wasn't her dad, genetically, the love and affection he had was genuine. We didn't get that in the movie, where Bana's Erik was a bit more cold and came off like a handler. But in the show, this fatherly bond is earned and organic, especially when you consider that in many ways, Hanna's still mentally an infant who needs Erik's helping to fit into society. He finally becomes the dad she always wanted, and he embraces she's more than blood, only for the series to pluck all this away. It feels cheap, and rushed.
What makes the loss even greater is the fact that Erik was one of the main characters in a series that doesn't have that many to begin with. He's part of the Holy Trinity of the show, along with Hanna and Marissa, and his overall journey just doesn't feel complete. It's a pity the series didn't find a way to have him stick around like it did for Marissa (Hanna murdered her in the film). Ultimately, just like Game of Thrones sans Ned Stark, we're now without the show's lead patriarch, a warrior with an unbreakable code, and an incorruptible hero whose philosophy shined bright enough for everyone to follow.
Created by David Farr, Hanna stars Esme Creed-Miles, Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman. The full season is available now on Amazon Prime Video.