We haven’t seen many instances where companies have cancelled projects mid-production. Sure, sometimes they are cancelled one or two seasons in if they aren’t successful, or it is more likely that a series just doesn’t make it past its pilot. Warner Bros. Discovery upset a lot of people when they cancelled movies and series that were already in post-production, and it seems they might have set an unfortunate trend. Netflix has decided to cancel their upcoming live-action TV series adaptation of Grendel, but no one really knows why.
Netflix announced in 2021 that they had picked up Dark Horse’s Grendel and had ordered an 8-episode season to air on their streaming platform. They announced that Andrew Dabb would be standing in as showrunner, and announced the preliminary cast for the project: Abubakr Ali in the title role, Jaime Ray Newman, Julian Black Antelope, Kevin Corrigan, and Madeline Zima.
Just as in the comics, the Netflix series was set to follow Hunter Rose, “a gifted fencer, writer, and assassin” who has gone to war with New York’s criminal underworld seeking to avenge the death of his lost love, “only to realize…why beat them, when you can join them?”
“I couldn’t be more thrilled about the GRENDEL saga, one of the longest-running independent comic series, finally being translated into live-action for the screen. Under the sharp guidance of showrunner Andrew dab, our incredible creative team, sure-to-be stellar cast and Dark Horse Entertainment have teamed with Netflix to produce this provocative adaptation that will bring my characters and concepts to an all-new audience and yet still provide excitement and surprises for die-hard fans. I’m especially excited to see Abubakr Ali bring the character of Grendel/Hunter Rose to life – he has the charisma, style, and vital edginess that I’ve been envisioning in the role for years.”
Why Has It Been Cancelled?
A little over a year after the show was first announced, Deadline has reported that Netflix has decided not to move forward with Grendel, despite it making it through the pilot and being in the middle of production. They also reported that it didn’t seem to be an issue with the script or them rejecting the plot, saying, “the decision was made after Grendel had filmed multiple episodes. Production had not finished, so there is currently a partial eight-episode season in the can.”
Borys Kit at The Hollywood Reporter also tweeted: it’s “not clear if it’s a quality issue, a budget issue, or a ‘too nice’ issue”, so it currently seems like no one can really get to the bottom of why Netflix has cancelled a perfectly good show mid-production.
It seems that the producers on Grendel have been given the option to find a new home for the series, and it has not been scrapped altogether, so maybe there is hope yet for fans who will be devastated by the news of the cancellation. It remains to be seen exactly why Netflix has cancelled the show.
Grendel by Matt Wagner
Grendel was originally created by comic writer and artist Matt Wagner, and published in October 1982. The first appearance of the character was in the anthology Comico Primer, but the character quickly got his own series under Comico in 1983. Unfortunately, the comic series was cancelled because of the financial troubles that Comico were experiencing. Luckily, Wagner owned the rights to the character and was able to later move through production companies before landing with Dark Horse Entertainment, the prolific comic book company behind successful comics like Hellboy and The Mask.
Hunter Rose was a successful author who ended up becoming an assassin and earning the masked alter-ego Grendel. He eventually takes over New York’s organized crime rings and becomes one of the greatest villains ever made. The comic was loved by many for focusing on the exploits of a villain, as opposed to the usual focus on the hero.
Were you looking forward to Netflix’s live-action TV series adaptation of Grendel?