FX, the basic cable network overseen by CEO John Landgraf, rarely cancels its scripted content and instead tends to announce the final seasons of its originals. It’s also incredibly rare for the network, which was part of Disney’s fold a few years ago, to drop the ax on shows that are still ongoing, as its creator-friendly leaders instead choose to wait to collect data. for things like delayed viewing and digital back. But that was strangely not what happened with Y: The last man, who won’t finish their freshman season until November 1.
So what happened?
Sources tell Hollywood journalist that FX executives were to make a decision on the future of the series by October 15, when the casting options for Y : TLM expired. FX, which landed the intellectual property rights in 2015, picked drama to helm in April 2018 and, three months later, cast Barry Keoghan and Diane Lane in the lead roles. FX ordered AND to the series in February 2019.
Production, however, did not start right away as FX in April 2019 parted ways with the original showrunners Michael Green (who was hired in late 2016) and Jessica Jones alum Aida Croal (who joined during the pilot). Croal and Green cited creative differences as the reason for their departure at the time. Green’s pitch, Vaughan raved THR in late 2017, explored toxic masculinity. Eliza Clark (Animal Kingdom, Murder) was selected as a showrunner in June 2019 as FX hoped to get the series back on track.
Instead, further delays followed when word came in February 2020 that Dunkerque The Keoghan escape – who was set to play the role of the last man on earth Yorick – was being redesigned. Ben Schnetzer (Warcraft, pride) was chosen to lead the cast at the end of the same month. Days later, the COVID-19 pandemic would create another, albeit unforeseen, delay in which AND went from a linear launch on FX to its hub on Disney-owned Hulu as streaming took center stage in the industry.
Manufacturing on AND – including on the new pilot – would not officially begin until late October 2020, years after Lane and his co-stars Amber Tamblyn and Marin Ireland were initially signed. Other original stars of the Green and Croal pilot, including Lashana Lynch and Imogen Poots, were recast as the series recruited Ashley Romans, Olivia Thirlby and Elliot Fletcher.
Due to the delays between the showrunner and the casting changes, FX had to expand options on the original AND stars, including Lane. And, due to the pandemic-related production shutdown, also pay to expand Schnetzer options and other new cast members. These cast expansions added up despite the fact that production was under its budget of $ 8.5 million per episode. Clark pitched a potential second season to FX executives in late September, after four of its 10 episodes aired on the cabler’s Hulu hub and long after reviews for the series were released. (AND Currently has a 73% rating among critics and 67% with viewers on RottenTomatoes.com.)
Ultimately, FX Brass refused to pay $ 3 million to further expand options on the AND the actors as leaders did not want to leave the cast in limbo again. The cancellation decision was, according to the sources, not based on audience figures because Hulu, like other streamers, does not publish traditional audience data. This means that FX had little or no data on which to assess the series, including its performance in its entirety over a period of time, etc. pointing out that mid-series declines are not uncommon, as viewers have gone over-watching entire seasons of a show.
“Without COVID, the show would have been on a different clock,” notes a source at the time of the cancellation decision.
Now the question is whether the producers including Clark and Nina Jacobson (Accused) – who are both based at FX Productions with global deals – may be successful in finding a new home for their gender identity series. FX Productions owns the series and, according to some sources, supports the producers’ plans to buy the show, although the studio has never focused on being a content provider for networks / platforms. external forms.
Sources say HBO Max is likely the target of a potential second season of the series, as its parent company, WarnerMedia, also owns DC Comics, whose imprint, Vertigo, released the. Y : TLM 2002-08 comic series. WarnerMedia’s New Line previously owned the rights to Vaughan’s comic book series and has twice attempted to adapt it into a feature film. The first take, by David Goyer, Carl Ellsworth and director DJ Caruso fell apart as the studio balked at adapting AND as a three-film franchise. The rights of AND returned to Vaughan in 2014, thus killing the 2012 film attempt.
Vaughan conceded in a September interview with TV Top 5 that its source material turned out to be a “difficult subject” and pointed out that the property could only work on TV.
If a suitor for the series emerged, FX Productions would be faced with the decision to sell the library rights to the first season as well as transfer ownership of the series or become a third-party content provider – something that under Disney is considered a long shot given the push for vertical integration. (FX declined to comment on the cancellation as well as for this story.)
Clark, meanwhile, has high hopes for the series and said TV Top 5 that she was considering AND as a series of five seasons and 50 episodes. “I have never been so engaged in a story in my life, and there is so much more to tell,” said Clark. wrote Sunday. ” Y: The last man is about gender, about how oppressive systems inform identity. We had a diverse team of brilliant artists, led by women in almost every corner of our production. Producers, screenwriters, directors, cinematographers, production design, costume design, stunt coordination, and more. It’s the most collaborative, fulfilling, and beautiful thing I’ve ever been part of. We don’t want this to end.