Joss Whedon will no longer be involved with the upcoming HBO series “The Nevers”.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Whedon — whose credits include “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “The Avengers” — will be stepping away from the series he created, described as a “quasi-superhero series centreed on a group of young women in Victorian-era England.”
“We have parted ways with Joss Whedon,” HBO confirmed in a statement. “We remain excited about the future of ‘The Nevers’ and look forward to its premiere in the summer of 2021.”
Speculation quickly arose that Whedon’s departure was linked to the controversy surrounding actor Ray Fisher. Fisher, who played Cyborg in “Justice League”, accused Whedon of “abusive, unprofessional” behaviour on the set of the film; Whedon took over directing duties partway through production after original director Zack Snyder stepped down in the wake of a family tragedy.
According to EW, Fisher’s claims are currently being investigated, while both Whedon and Warner Bros. (which is under the same corporate umbrella as HBO) have disputed some of Fisher’s allegations.
“The Nevers” was to have marked Whedon’s return to series television after focusing his talents on big-screen projects in recent years.
Following HBO’s announcement, Whedon released a statement of his own, via Cinemablend.
“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,” said Whedon.
“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,” he continued. “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 labour of love, but after two-plus years of labour, love is about all I have to offer. It will never fade.”
EW also offered HBO’s official synopsis of “The Nevers”: “In the last years of Victoria’s reign, London is beset by the ‘Touched:’ people — mostly women — who suddenly manifest abnormal abilities, some charming, some very disturbing. Among them are Amalia True (Laura Donnelly), a mysterious, quick-fisted widow, and Penance Adair (Ann Skelly), a brilliant young inventor. They are the champions of this new underclass, making a home for the Touched, while fighting the forces of… well, pretty much all the forces — to make room for those whom history as we know it has no place.”