Is The Chosen One (2023) Based on a True Story?

Netflix’s ‘The Chosen One’ (also called ‘El Elegido’), starring Bobby Luhnow, Dianna Agron, and Tenoch Huerta, is a Mexican action-adventure show revolving around a peculiar biblical return. Jodie Christianson is an ordinary 12-year-old boy living in Santa Rosalía with his mother, Julia. However, following an accident on a trip with his friends, Hipólito, Magda, Wagner, and Tuka, he discovers his inexplicable powers that resemble Christ’s miracles. Unlocking an enormous destiny, Jodie must now choose between his old life and life grandiosity with his devoted followers who believe him to be the son of God.

The series presents a coming-of-age narrative that pairs the innocence of youth with religious devotion. The series heavily delves into Christian themes and observes the nuances of faith within a small town in Mexico. Although the show equips several fantastical elements from the get-go, its depiction of the Santa Rosalía community presents a sense of realism. Due to the same, viewers must wonder if ‘The Chosen One’ has any basis in reality. Let’s find out!

Is The Chosen One a True Story?

No, ‘The Chosen One’ is not based on a true story. Instead, the series is based on the popular graphic novel trilogy ‘American Jesus’ by Mark Millar and Peter Gross, particularly its first 2005 installment titled ‘Chosen.’ Viewers may recognize Millar as the renowned writer with several other comic-book-to-movie/tv adaptations under his belt, including the 2021 show ‘Jupiter’s Legacy,’ the adventure thriller franchise ‘Kingsman,’ and the 2010 cult classic superhero comedy film ‘Kick-Ass.’

With a history of successful adaptation, Millar wanted to maintain a similar track record for his ‘American Jesus’ books with well-done adaptations that authentically translated the story to the screen. Initially, Matthew Vaughn was suspected of being involved with the series’ Hollywood debut in 2009. Nevertheless, the filmmaker quickly quashed the rumors, clearing that he had only been involved in a helpful capacity.

Eventually, in 2018, Netflix announced its upcoming adaptation of ‘American Jesus’ with Everardo Gout as the director. The show remains authentic to the source material for the most part, with similar characters, storylines, and twists. Yet, one significant change that fans of the latter will notice is the story’s new geographical location. The book takes place in the suburbs of Chicago instead of a small town in Mexico.

The original comic’s co-author, Millar, commented on the change in a conversation with Netflix and stated, “Relocating [The Chosen One] to Mexico makes the mythological much more authentic and the apocalyptic all the more real.” Within the Catholically saturated Mexican city of Rosalía, the series is able to focus on Jodie’s influence over people as a divine individual. As such, the narrative showcases the pitfalls and mechanics of any concentrated religious group with compelling accuracy.

Moreover, the geographical setting of the desert-adjacent town creates visual and thematic parallels between Jodie’s and Jesus Christ’s stories. The same forms another crucial aspect of the show’s connection to reality since the characters repeatedly reference biblical stories and events while the narrative recreates them. Hence, the show finds some inspiration within Christ’s journey, due to which several plotlines may feel familiar to a broader audience.

On the other hand, the central friendship between Jodie and his friends, which takes over much of the show’s plot, also sets down roots in reality. There’s a stark resemblance between Jodie and his friend group and several other pop culture dynamics seen in films like ‘The Goonies’ or the hit ‘Stranger Things’ series. Therefore, most of his arc revolves around dwindling friendships, first crushes, and the insurability that naturally accompanies teenagehood. Regardless of all the fanfare surrounding Jodie, he remains a rebellious, capricious teenage boy at his core.

Likewise, the conflicts and drives arising within the plotline often have a source in mundane situations that teenagers can easily relate to. Millar discussed the same in a conversation with ComicsBeat and shared, “It’s a horror story, but also a coming of age and has a ‘Stand By Me’ vibe, a kid just like you or me, who likes ‘Star Wars,’ video games, and girls in his class suddenly finding out he has this tremendous destiny.” Ultimately, ‘The Chosen One,’ like its source material, is a work of fiction that utilizes biblical themes to create an entertaining fantastical story.

Read More: Where is Netflix’s The Chosen One (El Elegido) Filmed?