In its three seasons on Showtime, Penny Dreadful amassed a devoted cult following that avidly consumed every powerful, wicked, and heart-wrenching moment of the cursed life of Vanessa Ives (Eva Green). The lush, gothic series combined classic monsters, violent and graphic horror, and poetic dialogue that was a tribute to Victorian literature. The meandering nature of the show and devotion to extremely detailed character arcs earned both praise and criticism from viewers.
Those who stuck by the show were stunned by the season 3 finale, which brought an abrupt halt to Vanessa’s suffering and concluded with “The End” literally spelled out on screen. Without so much as a hint in the news beforehand, fans simultaneously discovered that their favorite show was as dead as its heroine. While the “little scorpion” had what could be considered a complete story arc, many questions were left unanswered as to the fate of the remaining characters.
Though a season 4 of Penny Dreadful won’t happen, there is still something for interested viewers to look forward to, however. Showtime recently announced on Twitter that the series will continue, but as a comic book series rather than a TV show.
The tweet states that the action will take place 6 months after the events in the season 3 finale. A press release from the network (via Newsrama) elaborates that the action will center on the werewolf Ethan Chandler (played by Josh Hartnett on the TV series). Devastated over the loss of Vanessa, Ethan struggles to find a way to move on until “ancient words echo across the centuries, and he is called on once again to take up arms against the creatures crawling out of the night.”
The Penny Dreadful comic will be put together by the TV series co-executive producer Chris King and illustrator Jesús Hervás (Sons of Anarchy) and published by Titan Comics. Comic editor Lizzie Kaye feels the new project will appeal to the show’s faithful viewers.
“Like all fans of Penny Dreadful, I am so thrilled that we’re returning to the incredible world of the show. There are a lot of stories left to tell, and there is no one better to tell them than Chris King. What he’s got planned will just take your breath away, and I can’t wait for fans to see it all brought to life by artist Jesús Hérvas.”
Despite Penny Dreadful creator John Logan’s repeated assertions that the series was always intended as a three-season story, the abrupt left turn the show’s plotlines took halfway through the season seems to indicate otherwise. The introduction of new characters like Dr. Jekyll (Shazad Latif) and Catriona Hartdegen (Perdita Weeks), and the hints of a possible Mummy storyline also seemed odd for a show nearing its end.
While nothing can make up for the deeply unsatisfying demise of Vanessa Ives, particularly as it undermined two-and-a-half seasons of her incredible will to fight for herself and others, some continuation of the story is better than none. The series created intriguing original characters and combined the likes of Frankenstein, Dracula, and Dorian Gray into one universe — something that provides a fantastic playground for comic creators. The hope is that the new project will satisfy old fans and even attract new ones.
The Penny Dreadful comic will debut in early 2017.