As has long been expected, Showtime will wrap up “Homeland” with one final, eighth season. The news has been expected for a while, but Showtime Networks CEO David Nevins confirmed the news on Monday at the TV Critics Association press tour. He joked with critics that he better not see anyone characterize this as a “cancellation.”
The news also comes as executive producer Alex Gansa was said to be “unequivocally done” after this season, as star Clare Danes told IndieWire earlier this summer.
Nevins said Gansa and Danes had talked for a while about ending the show after Season 8, when the show’s most recent three-year renewal was set to end. He asked them to sleep on it, and “when they were resolved, it seemed like it was the right time.”
Added Showtime programming head Gary Levine: “That show is not limping in the sunset. Last season was one of the best ever.”
Per Showtime, production on the final 12 episodes will begin in early 2019 in a “still-to-be-determined location.”
“This project, arriving right at the beginning of my Showtime tenure thanks to Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon, and brought to life by a remarkable cast led by Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin, is a richly written character study that is now ready for its natural conclusion,” Nevins said in a statement. “Viewers will be rewarded by the way Alex brings ‘Homeland’ home.”
Added Gansa in a statement: “’Homeland’ has been the most joyful and rewarding experience of my career. Not many have been as lucky as me — partnered with the miraculous Claire Danes, supported to the ends of the earth by Fox and Showtime, and working in the company of some of the most gifted writers, actors, and filmmakers in the business. I am sad to see the journey coming to an end, but it is time.”
Danes told IndieWire’s TURN IT ON podcast that should Season 8 be the series’ last — as had been rumored — there’s a real symmetry to the original “Homeland” story, which followed the return of Brody (Damian Lewis) from captivity. “That will be interesting to explore, they’re braided again,” Danes said. “I think the mystery of what actually occurred and the repercussions of that on her psychology will be employed somehow. We’ll see.. Wait and see. It feels like the end, but it could not be. Ellipses there,” she said.
Production on Season 8 of “Homeland” had been pushed following to accommodate Danes’ pregnancy, which has also given the show’s writers more time to plan out the season. And in the case of Gansa, he’s “on the first vacation he’s had in about eight years. My procreation has allowed him to get out of ‘Homeland’ Dodge for a second… I’m glad he has a chance to have his imagination rest and recover,” Danes told IndieWire at the time.
Among the potential possibilities for Season 8 is a return to Israel, where the show filmed a great deal during the early part of its run. “I think Alex fantasized about creating a symmetry by ending the season in Israel because it was an Israeli show that our show was based on, and we shot a fair amount in Israel over the first couple of seasons,” she said. “But I don’t know how realistic that is or if he’s still loyal to [the idea].”
Danes marveled at the show’s evolution over the years — and how its depiction of a president with the morals and strength to resign for the good of the country has become wish fulfillment. “Our show was not supposed to be escapism in any way. It was supposed to be a pretty threatening idea,” she said. “It became a better version of what currently have.”
But overall, Danes said she’s still protective of — and admires — her “Homeland” alter ego.
“I’ve now taken it for granted that I get to play this character that kicks such profound ass all the time and boy is that a nice thing,” she said. “I’m impressed with her resiliency. She should have died many times over. And she hasn’t quite yet, which is miraculous. I like her, I still like her. I love that she’s so uncensored and uninhibited. She’s so many things that women are not allowed to be: Strident and hungry and authoritative and decisive. Ambitious. She’s determined. Absolutely in charge of her life. She’s like a Joan of Arc character, a servant of her country. It’s quite enjoyable to play.”
Fox 21 Television Studios is the studio behind “Homeland,” which is based on the Israeli series “Prisoners of War,” by Gideon Raff, and was developed for American television by Gansa and Gordon. Besides those two, executive producers for season eight include Chip Johannessen, Deb Cahn, Lesli Linka Glatter, Patrick Harbinson, Claire Danes, Michael Klick, Gideon Raff, Avi Nir and Ran Telem.