Joss Whedon was the creator, showrunner, writer, director, and executive producer behind the upcoming HBO series The Nevers. And now, per Variety, he is none of these things. Whedon will be exiting the series in every capacity effective immediately.
The series feels very much like it’s of the brain of the Whedon we know to make Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse: A group of Victorian women are blessed with superpowers, and use them to fight off forces of evil to change the world. Of Whedon’s exit, an HBO spokesperson said this: “We have parted ways with Joss Whedon. We remain excited about the future of The Nevers and look forward to its premiere,” which will remain, for now, in the summer of 2021.
Whedon himself gave a more thorough reason for his departure:
“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.”
While Whedon did not give specifics about the challenges and changes coming his way, beyond the pandemic, this does mark the third fraught production involving Whedon in as many years, with Avengers: Age of Ultron providing lots of friction between Whedon and Marvel, and more publicly, his involvement in the Justice League reshoots.
Collider recently spoke with Nick Frost, a star of the series, about his involvement with the show and with Whedon. Here’s what he said:
“I just finished my stuff like a month ago. We started shooting in October 2019, and then I did like a week on it. And then that was kind of my stuff done. And then in January, we started to get a sniff of lockdown, and then they just shut down. So I didn’t do anything for a year. And so I picked up my scenes like a month ago and finished the season. It looks fucking crazy, it looks amazing. I think the script is fantastic. My character’s like a serial lunatic. Joss is amazing — like as a person, not as a director. He’s really giving and generous of spirit and of time. But when he’s on set, he’s so driven and focused and mumbly. And a lot of the time it’s like, ‘Oh my god, I’m not sure what you want!’ Especially when you’ve got a face mask on as well. It’s a kind of amazing way to work. But I love it. I love the character, and I think people are just gonna fucking love it. It’s complicated and it’s fresh.”
Frost confirmed that Whedon directed all of his scenes, and as far as he knew, the rest of the series as well, which means Whedon might retain his writer/director credits as the post-production process continues forward. Other cast members include Olivia Williams, James Norton, Tom Riley, Ann Skelly, Ben Chaplin, Pip Torrens, Zackary Momoh, Amy Manson, Rochelle Neil, Eleanor Tomlinson, and Denis O’Hare.
The Nevers still plans to premiere on HBO summer 2021. We’ll keep you updated on more involving the Whedon situation as we learn it.