Joss Whedon’s new HBO sci-fi show The Nevers has added six more characters to its cast. The show was officially ordered straight-to-series by HBO last July and marks a long-awaited return to television for Whedon. The Nevers is the first show he has created since Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which premiered in 2013 and will air its final season in 2020 after Marvel canceled the show last month. The series comes at an opportune time in Whedon’s career after he departed the DC Batgirl movie he was set to direct last year.
The series is described as an epic science-fiction drama about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities. The super-powered women are referred to as ‘The Touched’ and operate out of their headquarters, known as The Orphanage. Although the show is set in Victorian England, genre-wise it’s in keeping with Whedon’s earlier short-lived sci-fi shows Firefly and Dollhouse. Its female focus, however, draws comparisons with Buffy the Vampire Slayer – the show that really put Whedon on the map. Considering that The Nevers is co-written by Whedon and his Buffy the Vampire Slayer colleagues Jane Espenson and Doug Petrie, the similarities perhaps aren’t too surprising.
With filming of The Nevers already underway, six new characters have now been added to its cast. According to Variety, they’ll be played by actors Kiran Sonia Sawar (Black Mirror), Ella Smith (Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans), Anna Devlin (Hanna), Elizabeth Berrington (Black Mirror), Martyn Ford (Kingsman: The Golden Circle) and Viola Prettejohn (Counterpart). Variety also provided further details on the colorful characters those actors will be playing. Sawar is Harriet Kaur, a young and optimistic Scottish Sikh who lives at the Orphanage but has a family and beau who accept her despite her unusual abilities. Smith plays Desirée Blodgett, a prostitute whose superpower is making men tell her everything that’s on their minds. Devlin is teenager Primrose Chattoway who longs to be ordinary – an almost impossible task considering she’s ten feet tall. Berrington will play Lucy Best, a streetwise woman with a tragic past who gives up her life of thieving to live at the Orphanage. Ford will play a henchman named Nicolas Perbal (aka Odium) whose personality is as unpleasant as his nickname suggests. Finally, Prettejohn is Myrtle Haplisch – a middle-class girl who joins the Orphanage after losing the ability to speak.
The newly added actors join a packed ensemble cast that includes Outlander’s Laura Donnelly as series lead Amalia True, who is described as “the most reckless, impulsive, emotionally damaged hero of her time.” A ton of other talents were also recently added to The Nevers main cast including Olivia Williams (Counterpart), James Norton (Little Women), Tom Riley (Da Vinci’s Demons) and Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead).
Whedon has said that The Nevers is his most ambitious project to date and it certainly sounds like an interesting concept. Not to mention, the casting has been top-notch so far. Let’s just hope that longevity-wise, The Nevers takes a leaf from Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s book rather than Dollhouse or Firefly.