Shannen Doherty as Prue
|Last appearance||"All Hell Breaks Loose"|
|Created by||Constance M. Burge|
|Portrayed by||Shannen Doherty (adult)
Emmalee Thompson (child)
|Species||Witch, Charmed One|
|Grandparents||Penny Halliwell (grandmother)
Allen Halliwell (grandfather)
|Parents||Patty Halliwell (mother)
Victor Bennett (father)
|Siblings||Piper Halliwell (sister)
Phoebe Halliwell (sister)
Paige Matthews (half-sister)
|Other Relatives||Melinda Warren (ancestor)|
Prudence "Prue" Halliwell is a fictional character from the television series Charmed. Prue is depicted as one of the featured leads as she fulfils her role as a witch and, more specifically, a Charmed One – one of the most powerful witches of all time. The character was portrayed by Shannen Doherty in the series between 1998 and 2001, appearing in every episode of the first 3 seasons until the character's death. Doherty was also nominated twice for a Saturn Award for her portrayal of the character. In 2008, AOL named Prue the 10th greatest witch in television history.
Early on in the series, Prue is regarded as the most powerful witch of the Halliwell sisters. During the first three seasons, Prue attempts to balance her destiny of defeating the forces of evil in San Francisco with taking responsibility for her sisters and leading a normal life as an appraiser for an auction house and later as a professional photographer. At the end of the third season, she is murdered by Shax, the personal assassin of the dangerous Source of All Evil. In addition to the television series, the character has also appeared in numerous expanded universe material, such as the Charmed novels and has been featured in the comic book adaptation.
Prue is depicted as one of the featured leads on the television series Charmed, portrayed by Shannen Doherty in the first 66 episodes of the series as well as the un-aired pilot. At the start of season one (1998–1999), six months have passed since the death of her grandmother, Penelope Halliwell (née Johnson) (Jennifer Rhodes). After ending her engagement to Roger (Matthew Ashford), Prue moves back into her family's Victorian Manor with her two sisters Piper (Holly Marie Combs) and Phoebe Halliwell (Alyssa Milano). On the night of Phoebe's return, the sisters find a book of spells within the Manor's attic. After Phoebe recites an incantation from the book, Prue and her sisters each receive a magical power and discover their destiny as The Charmed Ones – the most powerful good witches the world has ever known. Gaining the power to "move things with her mind", Prue battles with maintaining control of her newfound powers and keeping her identity as a witch secret. Due to the witchy interferences in both her work and personal life, Prue finds it difficult to rekindle a relationship with her old high school flame Detective Andy Trudeau (T.W. King) and stay on top of her new job as an appraiser for Buckland's Auction House. Throughout the first season, Prue and her sisters face off against various warlocks and demons who aim to steal their powers or harm an innocent. In the first season finale, Prue must come to terms with the death of Andy to a demonic foe.
The show's second season (1999–2000) opens with Prue's continual struggle to deal with the death of Andy from the previous season. After claiming to be responsible for Andy's death because of her powers and calling as a witch, Prue contemplates giving up on witchcraft entirely, but eventually decides to continue her destiny as a witch and protector of the innocent through the help of her sisters. Prue later experiences growth in her magical abilities when she develops the power to "be in two places at once" via Astral Projection, and learns to open herself up to the potential of love again through a courtship with a fellow Buckland's employee Jack Sheridan (Lochlyn Munro) and a romantic fling with ex-con Bane Jessup (Antonio Sabato, Jr.). She eventually quits her job at Buckland's to pursue her lifelong dream of being a photographer. Prue subsequently lands a job as a photographer for 415 Magazine. In the season two finale, Prue and her sisters discover that the many attacks on their lives by evil beings have been orchestrated by a demonic force known as The Council.
In season three (2000–2001), Prue becomes determined to prepare herself for any further attacks from The Triad (who have replaced The Council), becoming what has been coined as a "Superwitch". Prue displays martial arts skills on-screen while battling a court room full of demonically-possessed humans. Prue and her sisters eventually learn that the demon Belthazor and The Triad work for an even greater evil, The Source of All Evil who is the leader of the demonic realm known as The Underworld. After Prue discovers that Cole Turner (Julian McMahon), who is actually the demonic hit-man Belthazor, faked his death with Phoebe's help, the revelation forms a rift in their relationship. Later, after being forced to marry the warlock, Zile (Tom O'Brien) in a dark marriage ceremony, Prue comes to understand Phoebe's draw to Cole's darker half. While the two sisters mended their relationship, Prue retained her distrust for Cole for some time. Mid-way through season three, Prue also makes amends with her estranged father, Victor Bennett (James Read) who left the girls' lives shortly after their mother's death. During the season finale of season three, Prue and Piper unwittingly expose themselves as witches to the world after battling Shax, the Source's personal assassin, in public with the fight being caught on camera by a local news crew. In the aftermath of the exposure, Prue witnesses Piper die from the rifle gunshot used by a crazed Wiccan fanatic who wanted to join the sisters' coven. Phoebe makes a deal with the Source to save Piper's life and time is reversed to the sisters first encounter with Shax. After the rebooted confrontation, the season ends on a cliffhanger with Prue and Piper left for dead after losing in a fight against Shax. Meanwhile, Phoebe is trapped in The Underworld.
In the premiere of season four (2001–2002), it is revealed that Prue had died from the wounds she acquired in the season three finale, although the character is never shown again. Penny (Grams) reveals that Prue is still adjusting to being in the afterlife and that she is being helped to process her actual death by both Penny and the girls' mother Patty Halliwell (Finola Hughes). Penny tells Piper, who wants to see Prue, that she can't be summoned back to Earth because seeing Prue would not allow the sisters to grieve and move on. Also this season, along with the other witches of the Warren-Halliwell line, Prue's spirit is called upon by the new "Power of Three" to vanquish the Source twice – both in his original incarnation and that of his next incarnation, Cole Turner. In the fifth and following season (2002–2003), the character of Prue is briefly seen when Phoebe and half-sister Paige Matthews (Rose McGowan) visit the past memory of Piper's wedding. However, Prue's face is never shown and only the character's back is seen due to copyright laws regarding the image of Shannen Doherty. During the seventh season (2004–2005) finale, it is revealed that Prue had taught Leo how to use Astral Projection despite being "really protective of it". Piper, Phoebe and Paige later utilize the power of Astral Projection to defeat the threat of the demon Zankou (Oded Fehr). This is indicated by Piper stating "Thank you Prue," once Piper, Phoebe and Paige reflect on the successful attack. The season then ends with Manor door being shut by a telekinetic force, implying Prue closed it from the afterlife. 
As one of the central characters of the series, Prue appears in a number of Charmed literature. These appearances are most prominent in the first ten books of the series of novels. The novels follow no strict continuity with the series or each other, and are often considered to be non-canon. However, the television series producers have final approval of everything in the novels, which could indicate the literature fitting into the established canon of the series and the so-called "Charmed universe". Prue's first appearance in Charmed literature takes place within the novel The Power of Three by Eliza Willard on November 1, 1999, which acts as a novelised version of the series premiere episode. Her last appearance in a Charmed novel takes place within Beware What You Wish by Diana G. Gallagher on July 31, 2001.
In 2010, Charmed gained an officially licensed continuation in the form of a comic book, which is often billed as Charmed: Season 9. The series is published monthly by Zenescope Entertainment. While Shannen Doherty's image of Prue has yet to actually be seen in the comics, the character is seen as another person after taking over their body. In the twelfth issue of the comic,The Charmed Offensive, seven years after Prue's death, Penny Halliwell informs the sisters that Prue has reincarnated into her next life, due to the fact that her destiny was not completed when she died. However, it is later revealed in the issue that Penny had lied to the girls, mainly because she has no idea where Prue is. Later, Penny and her daughter Patty Halliwell task Cole Turner to locate the missing Prue in exchange for helping him find peace in the afterlife. In the sixteenth issue of the comic, Cole finds her in Salem as another witch named Patience. In the seventeenth issue of the comics, Paige looks for a witch named Sarah at a Salem house; however, she meets Cole who won't let her in. Despite his pleas, she orbs into the house where she meets Patience (Prue) and the two touch causing their powers to send them away. After recovering, Patience tells Paige that she is Prue. At first, Paige doesn't believe her, but they go to the manor where after seven years, Prue, Piper, and Phoebe are finally reunited with a hug.
In spite of the reunion, the presence of Prue causes the sisters powers to go haywire. Because the Charmed prophecy never spoke of a "Power of Four", the reunion of the four sisters causes their individual and collective powers to go out of control. To diffuse the chaos brought upon by the presence of the four sisters, Paige volunteer's to strip her powers away so that Prue can rejoin her sisters in the "Power of Three". Cole, however, steps in and informs Prue that the real reason she remained tied to the "Power of Three" and unable to move on in the afterlife was because she refused to truly let go of her destiny with her sisters. Realizing that her time as a Charmed One has passed, as she no longer inhabits the body of a true Warren witch, Prue instead strips herself of her Warren powers so that Paige will be the only sister with the power to move things with her mind. After being stripped of her active powers, Prue retains her status as witch and keeps the basic witch powers that allow her to cast spells and brew potions. Prue later returns to Salem, Massachusetts with Cole, who will help her train new witches to atone for his evil past.
Powers and abilities
In Charmed it is revealed that magical witches can develop and master a variety of magical skills and powers which include; scrying, spell casting, and brewing potent potions. As a magical witch Prue can utilize scrying, a divination art form that allows one to locate a missing object or person. Prue can also cast spells, often written in iambic pentameter or as a rhyming couplet, to influence others or the world around her. She can also brew potions, most often used to vanquish foes or to achieve other magical feats similar to the effects of a spell. Prue also possesses the powers of telekinesis and astral projection; however, in the comic continuation, she chooses to lose these abilities because her and Paige's co-existence is unbalancing the Power of Three.
- Personal power
- Telekinetic levitation
- Superhuman strength (combined to telekinesis and telekinetik levitation)
- Astral projection
- Remote sensing (reaches this power shortly before her death)
- Localization with the pendulum
- Preparations of magic potions
- Creating spells
At the start of the series, it is revealed that Prue has the power to move objects with her mind using telekinesis. While Prue's telekinetic powers work best with a direct line of sight, she appears to simply need only an intimate knowledge of the object's location in order to manipulate its movement. For instance, in the series premiere episode, "Something Wicca This Way Comes", Prue is able to move the ink from her ex-fiancee Roger's pen, although it is mostly concealed in his shirt pocket. Later, while outside Roger's office, she curls her fingers in anger, which causes Roger's tie to tighten its hold around his neck. In the same episode, Prue also displays telematerialization as a second method for which she can move objects with her mind. After Prue telekinetically slides a creamer container towards her from across the bar in frustration, she proceeds to transfer a portion of the cream from its container by telematerializing the cream directly into her coffee without it going through the air or space between. The series premiere is the only instance in which Prue displays teleportation powers on-screen. She later uses this power again in the comics.
In the Charmed series, certain magical powers are attached to emotional triggers, although all powers can be affected by the user's emotions. For Prue, the emotional trigger for her telekinesis is anger. This emotion is channeled to initially unlock and control her powers, which can only be focused by squinting her eyes for the majority of the first season. In episode nineteen of season one, "Out of Sight", Prue learns how to channel her telekinesis through her hands as well. Later in the series, she obtains enough control over her powers in order to move objects with a mere crook or twitch of a single finger. The limits of Prue's telekinetic powers are unclear, but she appears to be able to move up to 400 pounds (180 kg) with her mind, sufficient to lift and throw two normal-sized adults with her powers.
In an episode of season two, "Morality Bites", Prue travels ten years into the future from the year 1999 and inhabits her future self's body. In the episode, Prue discovers that in ten years time from 1999, her telekinesis becomes several times stronger when she telekinetically blasts out an entire wall of the attic with one swift hand gesture. After returning to the present, Prue never realizes the growth of this level of power before her death at the end of the third season.
In the season two episode "Ms. Hellfire", Prue's powers expand allowing her to move her body to another location in the form of astral projection. This power developed from an intense desire to be in two places at once. While astrally projecting, Prue's physical body falls unconscious while her astral body appears in a new location in corporeal form. Unlike traditional astral projection, Astral Prue is able to interact with the physical world. Prue displays the ability to astrally project across vast distances, regardless of her lack of familiarity with the location she is projecting to. However, she never displays the ability to astrally project across worlds. It is also revealed that Prue is unable to access her power of telekinesis while she is astrally projecting. In season three of the series, it is revealed that injuries sustained by Prue will not appear on her astral body. In the season three episode "Primrose Empath", after Prue is temporarily cursed with the power of Empathy, she channels the emotions she feels to enhance her own magical powers, which enable her to astrally project emotions into other people as well as briefly utilize her astral and physical bodies at the same time.
During her time on the series, Prue displays an efficiency in the Latin language and displays an expertise on various artifacts from a number of art forms and cultures throughout history. In season two, Prue begins taking classes in self-defense with her sister Phoebe. She gradually becomes an effective hand-to-hand fighter with her skills rivaling Phoebe's. Her skills in hand-to-hand combat advanced to the point where Prue has been capable of besting multiple adversaries, most notably demonic wrestlers, the demon Vinceres and vampire-like demons known as Seekers. Prue is also skilled in the art of photography, which she later turns into her full-time profession.
Casting and development
In 1998, the Warner Brothers Television Network began searching for a drama series, and looked to Spelling Television, which had produced the network's most successful series 7th Heaven, to create it. Expanding on the popularity of supernatural-themed dramas, the production company explored forms of mythology to find mythological characters they could focus on with contemporary storytelling. In order to create the series, Constance M. Burge was hired as the creator as she was under contract with 20th Century Fox and Spelling Television after conceiving the drama Savannah.
The character of Prue Halliwell was conceived by Burge, who wrote the pilot script for Charmed. The pilot script was based around three mismatched sisters who are initially based on Burge and her two older sisters, Laura and Edie Burge. Prue is based on Burge's older sister Laura. On creating Prue, Burge states "my older sister, Laura, is very strong, very driven and so I attributed the characteristics that my sister Laura has to the character Prue." Executive Producer Brad Kern claims Prue is written into the series as "the older sister, the kick-ass sister. She was the tough one. She was probably the most skeptical about the magic up top, but ultimately became the most powerful of [the sisters]."
When the series was in its first development stages, former Picket Fences actress Holly Marie Combs auditioned for the role of Prue while Shannen Doherty, an actress from a previous Spelling Television series, Beverly Hills, 90210, originally auditioned for the role of Piper Halliwell. By the time the roles were officially cast, the actresses had switched characters. Doherty played the role of Prue in a 28-minute test pilot (the "unaired pilot", never aired on network television) alongside Combs and actress Lori Rom who played the youngest sister Phoebe Halliwell. By the time the series aired on The WB, Rom had been replaced by the former Who's the Boss star, film and TV actress Alyssa Milano.
In May 2001, it was officially announced that Doherty would be departing from Charmed. Following the announcement, rumors circulated that the reason behind Doherty's departure was because of a feud with her co-star Alyssa Milano. Doherty told Entertainment Tonight that "there was too much drama on the set and not enough passion for the work", and that there were never any problems between her and co-star Holly Marie Combs. In an interview with Movieline magazine, Doherty claimed that she had given "the most brutally honest performance" of her career, but felt it was being wasted on a "show for 12-year-olds." The media reported this as a possible diss towards Charmed.
The producers originally considered recasting the role of Prue with a different actress. Actresses Soleil Moon Frye, Irene Molloy and Denise Richards were rumored to be possible replacements. Executive producer Aaron Spelling even approached Tiffani Thiessen, who replaced Doherty on his previous series Beverly Hills, 90210, and Jennifer Love Hewitt. Spelling revealed to Entertainment Weekly, "Tiffani was our first choice to take over for Shannen — even before we asked Jennifer [Love Hewitt], but Tiffani told us she wants to do a half-hour comedy." Hewitt also declined the role. Producers then decided to kill off the character of Prue and replace her with a long-lost younger sister in favor of having "a fresh face" join the series. Spelling stated, "[The character's] going to be the long-lost sister Alyssa and Holly never knew [they] had. And wait until you see what we came up with to explain why she's been lost: Nobody ever knew she even existed." The producers had to re-cut the season three cliffhanger to explain Prue's sudden disappearance.
When it was announced Charmed would be ending after the eighth season, Combs said in an interview with Sci Fi Wire that Doherty would not be returning for the series finale but her character "Prue's memory will be kept alive and be honored." In the same interview, executive producer Brad Kern said,
We did not approach Shannen. There's not much to say about it. She was a huge part of the show for the first three years, but there's a lot of issues that are not for me to discuss. Finances were one issue. Also, I think that the show...my feeling is that the show after five years of having Rose [McGowan], which is two more years than Shannen was on the show, it should be more about the sisters who are here more than the one who is not...so in the last episode we're going to be dealing with that.
During an interview on Watch What Happens Live in 2013, Milano spoke about the rumored feud between her and Doherty, after a caller asked for the truth behind Doherty's departure. Milano said, "I don't know if she got fired, we never really found out what happened. I can tell you that we were on the air with her for three years and there were definitely some rough days. Holly and Shannen were best friends for like 10 years before the show started so it was very much sort of like high school. I would hope that in our thirties it wouldn't feel like that anymore."
During the run of the series and her life as a Charmed One, Prue died three times.
|Episode||Episode Name||Cause Of Death||Revival|
|1x20||"The Power of Two"||Died from a potion she drank to try to vanquish a ghost.||Andy gave her CPR.|
|2x22||"Be Careful What You Witch For"||Stabbed by the dragon warlock.||Phoebe had the genie reset the wishes. She then made a wish for Prue to be alive again.|
|3x22||"All Hell Breaks Loose"||Thrown through a wall by Shax.||Not revived in the television series. Comics revealed that her spirit failed to move on and she started a new life in the body of the formerly comatose Patience.|
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