As you may have already heard, Liza Soberano had to back out of her role as Darna for the upcoming movie remake of the same name due to a physical injury. While I feel for Liza, given that she has apparently already begun training and even shooting some scenes for the role, there is already a star that I feel would be more than fitting and ready to step up to portray the iconic superheroine created by Mars Ravelo.

Ladies and gentlemen, Nadine Lustre.

I’m admittedly a fan of Nadine, so I’m not going to try to deny that there might be a bit of bias mixed in when she was first to enter my mind as a suitable replacement when I first read the news. Nevertheless, I tried to be as objective as possible in creating a case for why Nadine is perfect for the role.

Nadine has already proven herself as a talented actress.

An easy reference for this point could be her recent film Ulan, and even before that in her role opposite the other half of #JaDine and her real life boyfriend in Never Not Love You. Nadine has shown that she is capable of channeling a wide range of emotions, with or without dialogue. In the pivotal moment of *spoiler alert* in Never Not Love You when she was realizing that she was not happy with her decision leaving her job as a brand manager to become a waitress abroad with her boyfriend, or towards the end of Ulan when she was in agony at the death of the one she believed was her one true love. No matter what angle they’ll take on the iconic character, these acting skills will come in handy in portraying the role of Darna.

Just like Darna, Nadine is an example of an empowered, modern-day Filipina.

We cannot discuss the character of Darna without diving into her being a feminist icon, and who better to play the role of a powerful Filipina woman than an empowered Filipina woman herself? From openly having a more liberal viewpoint in relationships, to having her own make-up line “Lustrous”, to not taking any bullsh*t when she told off a guy about how he should dispose of his trash, and among many, many, many other examples, Nadine embodies what it means to be a strong woman in Filipino society. In fact, last month, Mountain Dew—a brand known to be more male-dominated—unveiled her as their first female endorser on International Women’s Day to show that girls can do cool stuff, too! We stan a feminist icon!

Nadine constantly pushes boundaries and does not limit herself to the overused “dalagang Pilipina” trope of being shy and reserved (no offense, Mimi). That is energy we need to impart on our girls today. Ding, just give her the stone already, because someone as fierce as Nadine is already someone you just know you could rely on to suit up and protect the weak from the villainous snake-haired Valentina.

It’s time for a morena Darna.

Nothing against Liza, Marian, Angel, or all the other actresses who have been casted for the role, but WE NEED TO HAVE A MORENA PLAYING DARNA. The love for Eurocentric features or any other personalities with foreign blood is pretty apparent in Filipino show business, and the representation for the more brown-skinned end of the spectrum of the Filipino population (which is actually the majority of the population) is still somewhat limited. By casting Nadine for a role that was previously reserved for the more light-skinned Filipina actresses, it would be sending a clear message for all Filipinas out there to embrace their beautiful morena skin, just like Nadine.

Nadine deserves to shine on her own.

Don’t get me wrong—I ship JaDine to death. However, I’m not a fan of how a lot of Filipino fanbases tend to typecast many celebrities into the confines of their loveteams, and given how Nadine has so much talent and a very strong personality, I’m excited to see her follow-up Ulan with more roles without the other half of their loveteam and watch her be known in her own right. Being a strong, independent woman who doesn’t need a man to help her shine, Darna would be the perfect showcase of that. My JaDine heart is fine with that because I know they can still be #relationshipgoals without appearing on-screen together.

Unfortunately, Star Cinemas will be the company producing Darna, and our president Nadine Lustre is a talent of a different company—Viva Films.

Still, I wanted to present my arguments for the sake of it, since I do feel strongly about this, and because a part of me is still counting on a miracle to happen—because I do believe in all my heart that my homegirl deserves it.