Before HBO made waves with their Western-themed sci-fi series Westworld, another HBO Western world blew away critics while garnering a small but faithful fan following. For three seasons, Deadwood rode high as one of the most acclaimed shows on television, but high production costs forced HBO to cut the series short and leave fans dangling (HBO at least got to keep the sets, re-using some of them for Westworld and also letting Tarantino use them for Django Unchained).
Ever since Deadwood aired its final season (all the way back in 2006) fans have been hoping for a feature-length movie to wrap up the series, bringing a satisfying conclusion to the story of Seth Bullock, Al Swearengen, Alma Garrett and the other denizens of the show’s beautifully-realized frontier world. You can’t say a movie is exactly looming on the horizon, but there is hope that a Deadwood wrap-up could still happen.
During HBO’s portion of the TCA press tour on Saturday, original programming president Casey Bloys gave an update on where we stand with a Deadwood movie (via Variety). As of now, the series’ creator David Milch is still hammering away at the project:
“David Milch is still writing. I believe he’s writing a ‘Deadwood’ movie that I have not read… When it’s ready we will take a look at it.”
The fact that Milch actually still is working on a Deadwood movie script is a positive sign. Over the past couple of years there have been various reports from cast members and HBO executives about the possibility of a movie, but not a lot from Milch himself. Given the niche appeal of a Deadwood movie, it never has been a certainty that anyone would want to sink money into reviving the series even for a one-off movie, but as long as Milch keeps writing there at least is hope.
Until Milch finishes his script and a Deadwood movie begins to materialize, fans can only speculate on how the story might wrap up. Certainly there would have to be some kind of final showdown between lawman Seth (Timothy Olyphant) and nefarious saloon-keeper Al (Ian McShane), if not guns at high noon, then something equally dramatic. Or perhaps Seth and Al would somehow wind up becoming allies in a common cause. Trying to predict the workings of David Milch’s mind is probably not wise.
No matter what Milch devises for his Deadwood wrap-up, you know one thing: there will be a ton of incredibly eloquent swearing. Somewhere down the road perhaps we will get a chance to revisit the world of Deadwood and its many fascinating, complex, sometimes-not-very-nice characters. Until then, there’s always Westworld.