There was once a time when Joss Whedon could do no wrong. Projects such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly remain touchstones of the fantasy genre that affected many a project that came after them; he was heavily involved with Dollhouse, Agents of SHIELD (showrun by brother Jed) and his work on Marvel‘s first two big-budget Avengers movie was well-received and all his on-screen projects seemed to be seen as portraying key elements of female empowerment. The last year or two have seen less activity and more discussions about projects he was linked to and then left (Wonder Woman, Batgirl) and some controversies about his off-screen dealings with women, but it was probably only a matter of time before the once ‘enfant terrible’ took up the reins of another highly-anticipated project.
HBO announced The Nevers on Friday 13th July and it initially sounds like a ‘League of Extraordinary Gentlewomen’, described as an ‘…epic science-fiction drama about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world.‘
“I honestly couldn’t be more excited. The Nevers is maybe the most ambitious narrative I’ve created, and I can’t imagine a better home for it than HBO.” Whedon said in a statement. “Not only are they the masters of cinematic long-form, but their instant understanding of my odd, intimate epic was as emotional as it was incisive. It’s been too long since I created an entirely new fictional world, and the HBO team offer not just scope and experience, not just ‘prestige,’ but a passionate collaboration. I could go on, but – I’m impatiently grateful to say – I have work to do.”
He’s likely to be busy, serving the production in key roles such as showrunner, director, writer and executive-producer – but he’s often been in such a position – to the delight of most fans and the chagrin of some critics. It is not known if he will write all the greenlighted ten episodes of The Nevers or whether he will bring in other voices, hopefully women, in to the equation.
“We have long been fans of the incredibly talented and prolific Joss Whedon and we can’t think of a better project than The Nevers with which to welcome him to the HBO family. We look forward to meeting the strange, multifaceted characters of The Nevers, to learn their stories, see them in action and share them with our viewers. We’re honored that Joss chose HBO as the place to build his ambitious new world and we are excited to get started,” Casey Bloys, President of Programming at HBO added.
At this stage, casting, a start of filming and eventual broadcast timetable have not been revealed and it’s likely early-days for the production. Given HBO will broadcast the final season of the acclaimed (and highly-rated) Game of Thrones in 2019, the platform will be looking for key replacements and the proposed Game of Thrones prequel, the new episodic version of Watchmen and now Whedon’s The Nevers are certainly firm statements in their commitment to cutting-edge dramas.