In 1979, Filipino comics creator Carlo J. Carapas and artist Steve Gan collaborated to release a High Fantasy comic in the popular Liwayway Magazine known as Ang Panday, (or in English, The Blacksmith). The film was adapted in 1980 by Filipino action star Fernando Poe, Jr., who directed and produced the film.
It told the epic story of Flavio, also known as the eponymous Panday. Flavio serves as the village blacksmith, but is also tasked with the cruel duty of branding children as slaves of the immortal Dark Lord Lizardo. Whilst serving as Panday, Flavio also lives with his mentor and predecessor as Panday, Tata Temyong (tata being Filipino for old man), apprentice Lando, and Love Interest Monica. One day while looking for firewood, Tata Temyong is walking past an abandoned church tower when a tremor strikes. When he comes to, he finds the long-lost Black Book, a book of prophecies. Later that night, Flavio and his companions read the book discover that, to defeat Lizardo, the Panday must forge a ''balaraw'' (or dagger) made of a metal that "will fall from the heavens." Shortly thereafterwards, a meteorite lands and Flavio creates a magic balaraw from it. After dealing with Lizardo's henchmen posted in the town, Flavio and his friends leave to find and defeat Lizardo once and for all.
The film was a massive success, sweeping that year's Metro Manila Film Festival. The film is considered FPJ's Magnum Opus by many of his fans today. Three more sequels followed in the following years, earning equal box-office and awards success. Several spinoffs and reboots followed in the years afterwards, including five reboot movies, a parody film starring Filipino comedian Joey De Leon, three live-action television series, and the first primetime animated series made in the Philippines.
This series contains examples of...
- Artifact of Doom: A band of treasure hunters attempt to find something of value in an abandoned town, but all they find is a dark chamber that resurrects Lizardo and summons a race of evil alien cyborgs.
- Dark Lord / Demon King: Lizardo, one of the first in Filipino media. There's a reason he's known in-universe as " The Prince of Darkness".
- Deus ex Machina: Flavio dies in the third film after a fight with Lizardo's new bodyguard, but Tata Temyong resurrects him as the Black Book having said the Panday cannot die so soon,
- Evil Laugh: Lizardo has one, and it's one of Filipino cinema's most iconic.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Subverted. While Flavio is the Panday, most people just call him by his real name. The exception to this is Lizardo and his cronies.
- High Fantasy: While it doesn't use the standard creatures from Western High Fantasy (opting to use creatures from Filipino mythology instead) it is the Trope Creator and Trope Codifier in Filipino media. FPJ made his own Shout-Out film in 2002 called Legend of The Hawk while the endless string of reboots is a testament to its staying power and local impact.
- Eye on a Stalk: Lizardo is resurrected by one in the third film, and Flavio fights this instead of Lizardo in the climax.
- Joker Immunity: Lizardo has been stabbed, eaten alive, had his resurrection interrupted, reduced to cosmic dust, and decapitated, yet somehow always finds a way to come back and menace Flavio and his allies.
- Mechanistic Alien Culture: The villains of the fourth film are alien cyborgs in the vein of Doctor Who's Cybermen.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Flavio's balaraw can turn into a sword, hum in times of danger, and shine a beacon against enemies in the first film. In the second and fourth, it is shown to deflect laser beams, while in the third, it can open locks and find magical health potions.
- Once per Episode:
- The site of Flavio's final duels with Lizardo is almost always fought on a particular stretch of desert land where they fought their first duel. Even in the films where Lizardo isn't fought in that particular area, expect Flavio to return to that specific area at least once.
- Before fighting Lizardo, Flavio always has to deal with his elite bodyguards.
- Lando always manages to be chased by a random monster in all four of the original films. In the first two and the fourth, it's an aswang; in the third it's a mob of zombies.
- One-Winged Angel: Thirteen years before the trope namer, Lizardo pulls one off in his final battle against Flavio in the fourth film - a demon-like Energy Being that can manipulate its form.
- Red Baron: Flavio's is Ang Panday, Lizardo's is Ang Principe ng Kadiliman ("The Prince of Darkness.")
- Really 700 Years Old: Lizardo is three hundred years old, but he doesn't look a day over fifty, being a Dark Lord and Demon King. That said, when he fights against Flavio, every time he gets hit and starts aging rapidly before he is finally defeated.
- Satanic Archetype: Lizardo, sharing a nickname with John Milton's Satan. This is lampshaded in the fourth film where he operates from an underground lair complete with dramatic red lighting, and when he reveals his Ultimate Form for his final battle with Flavio, he transforms into a Cosmic Entity with a devil-like face for a head.
- Most of the monsters Flavio and his companions face in the films are creatures from Filipino mythology. These include aswang (vampires), siyokoy (man-eating mermen), ek-ek (birdmen), and manannangal (vampires that can separate their lower and upper bodies).
- Perhaps coincidental, but the idea of a magic sword being a major focus of the story is similar to The Sword of Shannara Trilogy.
- Lizardo's in-series nickname is "The Prince of Darkness", similar to Satan's in Paradise Lost.
- Again, probably a coincidence, but the alien cyborgs of the fourth film act, operate, and even sound like Cybermen.
- Tag Along Kid: Lando starts out as one, but in the sequels he gets more opportunitiwa to break out of this role, and by the fourth he gets his own sword and shield while assisting Flavio in battle. A second example appears in the fourth film to fill his old role, however.
- Transatlantic Equivalent: Might as well be this to The Lord of the Rings, Conan the Barbarian, and The Sword of Shannara Trilogy, with its status as a pioneer in Filipino media comparable to the impact the former three have in Western High Fantasy.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Flavio investigates a seaside cottage that's rumored to be where Lizardo lives. It's not, but it is occupied by one of his henchmen.