It was somewhat inevitable that the WGA (Writers Guild of America) and SAG (Screen Actors’ Guild) strikes still underway across the industry would start to have some creative repercussions. Amid some of the shifting release-dates, there comes news that Amazon Prime has decided to back-out of the previous commitments it gave to further seasons of existing shows.
The Peripheral, based on the novel by William Gibson, was a complex time-travel/VR series starring Chloe Grace Moretz. It looked shiny, ambitious and expensive, which is likely the combination that made Amazon reconsider it. The series got decent reviews but perhaps not the stunning endorsements it was hoping for and was reportedly more expensive to make than Jonathan Nolan’s previous high-end show Westworld. The two strikes mean that there was no way to practically move forward in the immediate future and such delays, in and of themselves, would add to the high costs.
Another Amazon series, a tv adaptation of Penny Marshall’s1992 feature film A League of their Own – the story of an all-womens’ baseball team in the 1940s, will also not move forward after a previous agreement for a second and final, shortened run. In that case, all the same reasons apply and the fact that its second run was only going to be four episodes meant that the potential three year gap between seasons seemed less and less practical. With no end to the strikes in immediate view, the expectation was that neither show could have now started actual filming before early 2024.
A League of Their Own‘s creator Abbi Jacobson was less than happy with the decision: “To blame this cancellation on the strike is bulls–t and cowardly,” Jacobson wrote in an Instagram post. “But this post isn’t about all that. About all the ways this show has been put through the ringer. Not today. This post here is about the special show I was lucky to make with so many incredibly talented artists and actors and writers and crew. A show I’m so proud of. Filled to the brim with stories worth telling. Full of so much heart and soul and value.”
The general feeling in the industry is that if there is no agreement made to end the two strikes in the next month – both concerning aspects such as fair profits, AI, royalties and contract specifications – another raft of shows will become impossible to start before the end of the year and could be cancelled or delayed indefinitely.