Netflix doesn’t plan to produce a wrap-up movie for The OA. Earlier this month, the streaming service cancelled the critically-acclaimed science fiction series. Fans have vehemently defended The OA on social media, with some even protesting outside Netflix’s headquarters in Hollywood, California.
Created by Brit Marling and long-time collaborator Zal Batmanglij, The OA season 1 debuted on Netflix in December 2016. The series features Marling as numerous enigmatic characters, beginning with a missing blind woman named Prairie Johnson who re-emerges after seven years with full sight, and a strange story to tell. The OA season 2 picks up the supernatural storyline, as Marling’s character and her followers travel across the United States. Prior to The OA season 2, Marling consistently posted messages about the unique nature of the production, and how the creative team was taking their time in order to provide a high-quality streaming experience. Fans and critics alike reacted positively, as The OA season 2 currently holds a 92 percent score at Rotten Tomatoes; a major improvement on the The OA season 1’s 77 percent score. Batmanglij’s brother Rostam, a former member of the popular rock band Vampire Weekend, composed The OA’s theme music.
Per Variety, Netflix won’t move forward with a movie for The OA. Marling and Batmanglij reportedly discussed a future project with Netflix, but the idea was dropped given that The OA was originally intended to air for five seasons, much like the popular Netflix series Mindhunter. Since The OA’s cancellation, Marling has addressed fans on social media, and also referenced the “algorithms” that fellow creative Lisa Hanawalt noted when her Netflix series Tuca & Bertie was cancelled last July, despite strong critical reviews. In the past, Netflix has traditionally allowed popular series to play out for at least three seasons, but the changing dynamics of the Streaming Era mean that executives are becoming more calculating with how they approach content management. For creatives like Marling and Batmanglij, The OA is more than content to be casually consumed and discarded, evidenced by her impassioned online comments through the series’ run. Check out Marling's Twitter statement below:
Marling and Batmanglij’s professional relationship dates back to their collegiate years at Georgetown University. Marling co-wrote and starred in Batmanglij’s 2011 feature directorial debut Sound of My Voice, and took on the same responsibilities for the 2013 film The East. Since then, the duo has primarily been focused on The OA. Marling hasn’t appeared in a feature film since 2014, in which she had roles in I Origins, The Keeping Room, The Better Angels, and Posthumous.
Netflix’s decision not to move forward with a movie implies that The OA is indeed officially over. That may be heart-breaking to fans, if only because there seemed to be so much more to explore. Still, the cancellation may inspire Marling and Batmanglij to create an even more ambitious project, whether it’s a series of feature films or a TV series on another streaming platform.