Fans who have read the Preacher comic books knows that Tulip was never anyone to mess around with. However, the way that Garth Ennis wrote the character, she was tough but she was also very much a reactionary character. She reacted to what Jesse Custer did, and he was always the stronger character. She reacted to what Cassidy did, and it took her many issues before she finally stood up to him. When it comes to The Preacher TV show, Tulip is no daisy.
When asked about her character, actress Ruth Negga told Revelist that they worked hard to make Tulip a female butt kicker that fits modern times better than her Preacher comic book counterpart did.
“[Tulip] defies expectations of badass women and stereotypes … It’s a relief to see a woman with all those colors and all those nuances and fucked up-ness, because I think for too long we’ve limited that to the male protagonist — being allowed to have ugly parts of themselves, or flaws.”
This is a great point by Negga, as her character of Tulip really had a chance to show how tough she was from the start of the pilot of Preacher. The first time fans saw Tulip on the Preacher TV show, she was in a car, racing through fields, as she was fighting a man. She bit his ear off and ended up killing him to get the map she was fighting for. She then single-handedly made a rocket launcher from spare parts around a farmhouse and brought down a helicopter, killing everyone aboard it.
It was an introduction that even rivaled the Preacher introduction of the Irish vampire Cassidy, who fought off a lot of Van Helsing styled vampire hunters aboard an airplane, drank blood from one of them, and then jumped from the airplane. He then drained a cow to bring himself back to life.
That was crazy, but when it comes to Tulip, it was more a case of proving that this woman could hold her own against anyone as well. Producer Sam Catlin said that it was important to make her a tough character on her own, separate from the boys of Preacher from the start.
It was huge for the Preacher TV show as well. While Agent Carter may not have gotten the great rating that Marvel had hoped through its second season, the show did prove that a female hero could be tough and hold her own against men, and still be entertaining for even comic book fans to watch. Upcoming movies like Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel will get the same chance to prove that in years to come.
“Definitely we wanted Tulip to have her own agenda — more than just being a kick-ass girlfriend who knew how to handle a gun. We wanted to give her more nuance.”
On the Preacher TV show, it is important for Tulip to be strong. She was, at times, very vulnerable and was almost a screw up in the comic books. While Jesse was always someone to be reckoned with, and Cassidy was a huge fan favorite, Tulip suffered from what many female characters have suffered through for years in comics written by men. She was a victim much more than she was a dominant, strong character.
Both Ruth Negga and the producers of Preacher have every intention of changing that on the show. Negga told Comic Book Resources how important it was for her character to make a strong impact on the viewers from the first time they saw her on the screen in Preacher.
“I think that if she was going to be one of this trio of misfits, she needed to meet them in terms of their strength, really. She needs to be a match for both of these men. The way she’s introduced in this is basically a calling card, going, ‘She’s nobody’s girlfriend.’”
[Image via AMC]