After handing over the reins on the Avengers movies to the Russo brothers for that epic Thanos two-hander, Joss Whedon has sort of taken a backseat in Hollywood. He’s dropped in and out of a few projects, like the DCEU’s Batgirl, while he’s remained an executive producer on various MCU projects. But it seems as though he’s finally ready to get back on the horse, creating a new drama series for HBO called The Nevers. The details of the mysterious new series are few and far between. So, here is Everything We Know (So Far) About Joss Whedon’s New HBO Series The Nevers.
10 It’s A Sci-Fi Show Set In Victorian England
We don’t know an awful lot about the plot and characters of The Nevers, but we have been given a vague premise by HBO. The show has been officially described as “an epic science fiction drama about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world.” Although that sounds like it’s just The Avengers in Victorian England with a group of heroes acquiring sci-fi abilities and taking on enemies who threaten the world, it actually seems more in line with the premise of Whedon’s short-lived espionage action series Dollhouse.
9 Laura Donnelly Is The Lead
The lead character of The Nevers has been described as “the most reckless, impulsive, emotionally damaged hero of her time.” Her name is Amalia True, which is a pretty cool name for a supernatural Victorian heroine, and she’ll be played by Outlander star Laura Donnelly.
When Donnelly was first cast in the role back in April, Whedon issued a statement about why he thought she was perfect for the role: “Laura Donnelly has charisma, wisdom and an anarchic precision that not only captures Amalia, but defines her. She’s fierce and she’s funny – and I need both for the journey ahead.”
8 HBO Promises A Well-Developed Fictional Universe
Most of the world-building in today’s movies and TV shows expand on the fictional universes of existing franchises. But HBO’s president of programming Casey Bloys promises a brand new, well-developed fictional universe with The Nevers, saying in a statement, “We look forward to meeting the strange, multifaceted characters of The Nevers, to learn their stories, see them in action, and share them with our viewers. We’re honored that Joss chose HBO as the place to build his ambitious new world and we are excited to get started.” World-building doesn’t always yield great results – looking at you, Bright – but Whedon’s world-building does.
7 It’s Whedon’s “Most Ambitious” Project Yet
Joss Whedon has used a number of phrases to describe what he’s going for with The Nevers. The most curious phrase he’s used is “odd, intimate epic.” According to Whedon, The Nevers will be the “most ambitious narrative” he’s ever taken on in his career. Now, bear in mind that over the course of that career, Whedon has birthed the cinematic universe by pulling a bunch of loosely connected movies together, adapted Shakespeare for a modern audience in black-and-white, and gone meta with the entire history of the horror genre. So, his “most ambitious narrative” will be pretty ambitious.
6 This Is Joss Whedon’s First Show For HBO
Despite being credited as a series creator on five different TV shows, this will be the first time Whedon has done a show for premium cable hit-maker HBO. He’s worked with The WB, ABC, and Fox, but never HBO.
HBO’s president of programming Casey Bloys said in a statement, “We have long been fans of the incredibly talented and prolific Joss Whedon and we can’t think of a better project than The Nevers with which to welcome him to the HBO family.” It seems like they’ve been trying to work together for a while and only managed to find the right fit with The Nevers.
5 The Production Designer From Game of Thrones Has Been Hired
One of the most overlooked and underrated aspects of the filmmaking (or TV-making) process is the production design. This is the stage at which the visual tone for the project is set. Exactly how it will look and feel is mapped out, and it gives everyone else on the crew something to work with. Ralph McQuarrie’s concept art was instrumental in getting Star Wars funded. The Nevers has already hired its production designer: Gemma Jackson. Jackson has worked previously on the production design for Game of Thrones and John Adams, and she was Oscar-nominated for her work on Finding Neverland.
4 The Show Has Been Ordered Straight To Series
HBO has given The Nevers a straight-to-series order. While they haven’t announced exactly how many episodes the first season of the show will consist of, this is good news for Whedon and his creative team. A straight-to-series order means that there’s no need to produce a pilot episode. Thanks to Pulp Fiction, the general public knows all about how pilots work. You make a whole episode of a show, just so some network executives can reassess it when they have something to look at. HBO has so much faith in The Nevers that they’ve skipped that and gone straight to series.
3 The Title Doesn’t Have A Literal Meaning
Joss Whedon has explained the meaning behind the title The Nevers: “They, themselves, are not called that in the show. It’s a phrase that’s meant to evoke a sort of reaction to their oddity, to what is considered unnatural. The idea that you should never be like this, you should never have existed. Something is not the way it should be, and you don’t have the right to have whatever weird power or ability that you have. And that idea, that some people are not of the natural order, is fascinating to me. I don’t agree with it. But to me, it’s one of those things where you take something negative and you wear it as a badge of honor, basically. Certain things could never happen – they’re happening. And the people they’re happening to are taking their place in the world.”
2 HBO Had To Compete With Netflix For The Show
Joss Whedon didn’t go straight to HBO with The Nevers. He shopped it around a few networks and it led to an intense bidding war. Reportedly, Netflix even made an offer on the project, but in the end, HBO won out. With HBO, the series will likely be darker and with more emphasis on the episode as opposed to the season, since they’ll be released one at a time and not all dumped off at once like on a streaming platform. With Game of Thrones ending, HBO is likely looking for a new genre series to replace it in their subscribers’ hearts – The Nevers could be that show.
1 Whedon Thinks HBO Is The Perfect Home For The Nevers
Despite interest from a bunch of other networks and platforms, Joss Whedon has said that HBO is the perfect home for The Nevers: “I honestly couldn’t be more excited...I can’t imagine a better home for [The Nevers] than HBO. Not only are they the masters of cinematic long-form, but their instant understanding of my odd, intimate epic was as emotional as it was incisive. It’s been too long since I created an entirely new fictional world, and the HBO team offer not just scope and experience, not just ‘prestige,’ but a passionate collaboration. I could go on, but – I’m impatiently grateful to say – I have work to do.”