Joss Whedon Departs HBO’s The Nevers
In light of Ray Fisher's Justice League accusations, Whedon bows out of his next high profile series.
Joss Whedon, the creator of iconic sci-fi fantasy series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, is stepping away from his highly anticipated upcoming series The Nevers. The HBO series is described as an “epic science-fiction drama” that follows a group of Victorian women who possess mysterious abilities, aka Penny Dreadful meets Buffy. Whedon announced his exit in a statement released to CinemaBlend, where he wrote:
“This year of unprecedented challenges has impacted my life and perspective in ways I could never have imagined, and while developing and producing The Nevers has been a joyful experience, I realize that the level of commitment required moving forward, combined with the physical challenges of making such a huge show during a global pandemic, is more than I can handle without the work beginning to suffer. I am genuinely exhausted, and am stepping back to martial my energy towards my own life, which is also at the brink of exciting change. I am deeply proud of the work we have done; I’m grateful to all my extraordinary cast and collaborators, and to HBO for the opportunity to shape yet another strange world. The Nevers is a true labor of love, but after two plus years of labor, love is about all I have to offer. It will never fade.”
HBO released a statement saying, “We have parted ways with Joss Whedon. We remain excited about the future of The Nevers and look forward to its premiere in the summer of 2021.” It’s a shocking departure for Whedon, one of the most successful television creators of the past 30 years. The Nevers was due to be his television comeback and first series since 2009’s Dollhouse. Since then, Whedon has taken his talents to the big screen, directing The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
While he doesn’t mention it in his statement, one must assume that one of these “unprecedented challenges” is Ray Fisher’s very public accusations of abuse and racism on the set of Justice League. Fisher claimed that Whedon’s on-set behavior was “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable.” Warner Bros. has launched an investigation into said allegations.
10 years ago, a new Joss Whedon series would have sent us scrambling to the message boards on Whedonesque. But time has not been kind to the Buffy creator. The man that once bore the shield of “male feminist” was exposed by his ex-wife Kai Cole in 2017 as a gaslighting, manipulative cheater throughout their marriage.
And Whedon’s own brand of feminism has been called into question as fans re-watch BtVS through a modern feminist lens. Much of his work struggles to hold up (see the Black Widow fertility saga), with his worst impulses were concentrated in his notoriously bad script for the Wonder Woman film that luckily never saw the light of day.
Even Whedon’s character descriptions for The Nevers were rife with the same problematic issues that plague much of his work. As a lifelong Whedonista, it pains me to see that Joss Whedon is not in fact the man he purported himself to be. But part of growing up is seeing your heroes for who they really are. HBO has yet to announce who will take over for Whedon on the series, but I’m hoping its all-star writer and producer Jane Espenson. Espenson and fellow Whedon alum Doug Petrie are both writing on the series, and both obvious choices to take up the mantle.
(via CinemaBlend, featured image: Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
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