CBS Is Developing a ‘Zorro’ TV Series With a Female Lead

Lead Photo: 'The Mask of Zorro' still courtesy of Columbia
'The Mask of Zorro' still courtesy of Columbia
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Get out your masks and capes because everyone’s favorite (Anglo-created) Spanish Robin Hood is getting a TV reboot! That’s right, Zorro looks to be the next property to get the reboot treatment for television, coming in the wake of retreads of Charmed, Magnum P.I. and Party of Five.

The new take on Zorro is being developed by CBS Television Studios courtesy of the production company Propagate, the folks that brought us the Latina Charmed reboot on The CW earlier this year. NBC has bought the project (alongside Jorge Reyes’ Home), so if it’s picked up, the Zorro reboot would air on NBC.

The story is set to follow Z, a female descendant of a family of warriors who will (allegedly) don the mask to “protect the defenseless” in her community. The series, set in modern-day, is being overseen by Alfredo Barrios, Jr., who has written for the Latino-led reboot of Magnum P.I. that airs on CBS.

There isn’t anything known on the series beyond that but, if you know Zorro’s history it already sounds promising. Zorro was initially created in 1919 by pulp writer Johnston McCulley. Cut from the same cloth as the savior of Sherwood Forest, Zorro defended the poor and helpless in the pueblo of Los Angeles during the time when California was under Spanish rule. He was best known for wearing an all-black costume and carving a Z into everything with a sword.

Pop culture ran with Zorro and created an industry off him. White Anglo actors like Douglas Fairbanks and Tyrone Power played the character on film in the ’20s and ’40s and Guy Williams played the character for Disney in 1957. In 1998, Spanish actor Antonio Banderas played the character in The Mask of Zorro and would reprise the role in 2005.

Like most things, Zorro is a complicated figure because of how he’s been used as a stereotypical presentation of Spanish heritage and Latinidad throughout history, with his character falling somewhere in between this binary. Given the time frame of when his character lived, we can assume he is either born in Spain or in California of Spanish descent. In this reimagining, the fact that we’ll be seeing a woman in the lead is refreshing and the question is which Spanish or Latina actress (since she’s a descendant of Zorro) could take on the part? Though this is still in active development with no guarantees it will be greenlit, we can definitely start fan-casting!

Correction, November 14 at 12:15 p.m. ET: This post has been updated to clarify where Zorro would air and Alfredo Barrios Jr’s role on Magnum P.I.