The first part of the life story of the “Queen of Tejano music,” Selena Quintanilla-Pérez finally released on Netlfix in 2020. When the trailer first aired, some had high hopes while others were skeptical. The iconic singer’s story already became a big-screen sensation in 1997 with Jennifer Lopez in the lead role.
Lopez’s rendition of Selena is often tagged as being one of the best and most heartfelt in any biopic. Fans of the singer know her rise in the music business and success before her tragic end at the age of 23. While the Netflix show has only currently aired part one of her story, there re some noticeable differences to the hit 1997 movie that haven’t been seen before.
10 Difference: Chris’s Overall Character
Part of Selena’s story is her relationship with the band’s guitarist, Chris Pérez. The show role was played by actor Jesse Posey. and there’s a slight change to the character than what was seen in the 1997 movie. The movie version is much more of a rock star and some might even say more “troubled.”
It’s clear from the start that Selena’s father isn’t so keen on a rock star guitarist joining the band but the movie dramatizes the character differently. He sometimes goes off the rails and at one point trashes a hotel room. The show version is a bit more of a sweetheart and kind on the eyes. He also isn’t as rebellious.
9 Same: The Financial Issues
A major story arc for the Quintanilla family occurs when Selena is still young. The U.S. faced an economic decline during Reagan’s presidency that put a lot of families and individuals in a financial crisis. The Quintanilla family was forced to shut down their restaurant because of bankruptcy.
The show and movie both display this moment. Selena’s father asks his uncle for a favor and they travel to Corpus Christi, Texas to start fresh. Because of the economic decline, Selena’s father makes the decision to make the family band a way of income that would hopefully lead to stardom.
8 Different: Abraham’s & A.B.’s Relationship
The movie didn’t delve too much into the nitty-gritty of the family relationship like the Netflix show. Fans would be surprised to learn about A.B.’s and Abraham’s relationship as father and son. A.B. is played by actor Gabriel Chavarria and the family patriarch by Ricardo Chavira.
Throughout the first part of the show, Abraham relies heavily on A.B. in making the band successful. There are moments where A.B. is under pressure from his father to make music and get the ball rolling. Their relationship is much more intricate in the show than what was seen in the movie. Also, Abraham isn’t as much of a difficult father and husband as in the movie
7 Same: Selena’s Passion For Fashion
While Selena makes it big as a singer, it’s clear that she has a passion for fashion. Thankfully, the Netflix show showcases the other side of Selena besides the music. What made Selena dazzle on stage, besides her voice, was her fashion. The movie and show details Selena’s vision for designing and creating her own stage outfits.
She would constantly be drawing on her sketchpad and accessorizing her own garments. Fans would even recall the famous bra-top she wore on stage. The show has an array of fashion styles from different ’80s to ’90s. Fans have yet to see if the Netflix show will include Selena’s fashion line like it did in the movie.
6 Different: The Clash With The Record Label
When it comes to the band and Selena’s growing success, they needed a record label to represent them. The movie doesn’t go into too much detail about the deals made with the companies. The show is a different story. It becomes part of the needed tale behind their rise to fame.
Selena and the band are at first in negotiations with CBS before being approached by another label, EMI. Abraham makes the decision to drop CBS but along the way, things get heated. The label tries to change Selena’s image into one that doesn’t represent who she is. They even drop the band’s name and go for just, “Selena.”
5 Same: The Future Storyline With Yolanda
Towards the end of the first part of the show, the storyline including Yolanda Saldívar starts to make itself known. Selena fans know what this will mean for the future. In the final episode, Selena is gaining more and more popularity and is one day grabbed by a fan while performing.
After beefing up security, Abraham is advised to also get a fan club manager. He soon contacts Yolanda Saldívar, who is more than willing to manage the fan club, merchandise, and activities for free. Fans already know where this character’s storyline will lead in the second half of the show.
4 Different: A.B.’s Role In The Band
A.B. is Selena’s older brother who plays bass in the band. In the movie, he was played by actor Jacob Vargas but the character drastically changed in the show. There’s a much bigger emphasis on his role in the band than what was ever seen in the movie. He’s responsible for creating and producing the band’s music and Selena’s hit songs.
In the show, he feels responsible for the band’s success and even goes out of his way to try and get a famous songwriter to write songs. The show also gets personal as it details A.B.’s personal struggle with himself and his important role. There are moments where A.B. has an emotional breakdown over the fear of not being able to do good enough for the band.
3 Same: Their Journey To Stardom
The beginning journey to the band’s stardom is kept relatively the same with some minor changes. It all starts when Abraham hears Selena singing, having never realized she was so talented. A light bulb goes off in his head and forces his children to practice and form a band.
As the story goes, they start performing at local festivals and restaurants to get some recognition. There’s even the drama of trying to figure out their sound that would appeal to a mass audience.
2 Different: A Deeper Look Into Their Personal Lives
To be honest, the 1997 movie was mostly focused on Selena but the Netlfix show changes that. Audiences get to see a deeper look into the personal lives of her siblings. It showcases each of their struggles with their growing stardom. Suzette (Noemi Gonzalez) starts to feel that her contributions aren’t needed in the band. She meets a fan who dreams of being a female drummer just like her.
In relation to that, fans will be surprised to see that A.B. catches the eye of a female fan during a show. Along the way, he falls in love and starts a family. At the beginning of the show, audiences are also introduced to Selena’s high school life.
1 Same: Selena & Chris’s Rocky Relationship
Both the movie and show include Selena’s growing affection for their new guitarist, Chris. It also doesn’t shy away from the fact that Abraham dislikes Chris’s rocker background. As he tours with the band, Selena starts to fall for him and so does he. But both of them know that their relationship isn’t easy because of her father’s disapproval.
In both versions, they try to remain friends but their love for each other wins out. They start sneaking around like love-struck teenagers. There’s still so much to their love story that still needs to be explored in the Netflix show.
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