Why YouTube Star Hannah Hart Is Remaking a 1970s Cult Superhero Series

Rides the wave of premium digital content

Sid and Marty Krofft's 1976 cult superhero series, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, is getting an update from the most unlikely of places: YouTube stars.

Legendary Digital, multichannel network Fullscreen and Marty Krofft himself worked together on a reboot of the series that continues a trend of creators from the YouTube ecosystem—in this case two of the most popular in the space, Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart—teaming up for premium content. Which means fans who are used to seeing their favorite stars free will be asked to pay up.

The film will be released on all major digital platforms through Legendary Digital, part of Legendary Pictures, which is behind blockbusters The Dark Knight, Man of Steel and Jurassic World. A 12-episode serialized version will play on Fullscreen's subscription service.

Adweek caught up with Hart during a screening for the film at last week's Tribeca Film Festival to talk about the importance of featuring female superheroes front and center and how the YouTube creator space has evolved in the past five years.

Adweek: Why was this a project you wanted to do?

Hannah Hart: I'm a huge, huge fan of superhero franchises in general. A friend of mine and I came up with an idea about two superheroes who come to L.A. to try and make it big in the superhero scene. And then we got in touch with Legendary, and Marty Krofft was already working with them. It was a great way to wed those worlds.

Did you watch the original? How similar is it?

I have; I really like the opening theme song, but we ditched that. It's very different. Dare I say, it would be hard to tell if it was a reboot at all.

This puts two female superheroes in the lead. Frankly, there's not much of that out there right now. Why was that so important to have something like this?

I think that there's just really not enough diversity in media in general. There's not enough gender diversity or racial diversity; you get to see the same thing and the same story played by the same people over and over again. For me, it's not so much about "bringing female superheroes to screen," it's more like "I am a woman and I am creating something and I am telling a story." People like to put me in the category of a female entrepreneur to try and take away power from the fact that I'm just an entrepreneur.

How does this feel different from what's out there currently from Marvel and DC?

We really tried to interpret the characters as fully fleshed-out characters and not objects. We gave them lots of speaking lines and dialogue and the whole plot revolves around them.

You've been in this YouTube creator space for five years. How has it evolved over that time, especially now that there are so many other platforms?

Everyone is trying to find a way to generate content. I really like YouTube because it's something that enables people to post and distribute content for free. That's why I primarily put all my work on there. But when you try and do stuff that's big budget and higher form, you have to put that on a premium service. I just love the internet and love connecting with my community in whatever new, fun exciting way it enables me to do that. I'm crazy about Snapchat right now. I love it.

That interplay between YouTube stars and their fans is much more intimate than traditional Hollywood celebrities. How important does that close relationship remain to you?

I don't think it's going to be sustainable forever. But right now I can and so I do.

How do you approach working with brands?

One of our long-standing brand partnerships is with Subaru because they're a company that has a really big philanthropic arm. We do a series with them called "Have a Hart Day" which highlights a volunteer program that we've been running for the last three years. Really, it's just about making sure the brand's message aligns with your message. That's why I don't work with any big brands that I don't support.