Cinemablend reported that the “The Avengers” filmmaker, who was slated to co-write and direct the HBO series, chose to step away from the series in part due to the stresses of creating the show during the coronavirus pandemic.
“This year of unprecedented challenges has impacted my life and perspective in ways I could never have imagined, and while developing and producing ‘The Nevers’ has been a joyful experience, I realize that the level of commitment required moving forward, combined with the physical challenges of making such a huge show during a global pandemic, is more than I can handle without the work beginning to suffer,” Whedon said in a statement to Cinemablend.
IndieWire confirmed Whedon’s departure with HBO.
“We have parted ways with Joss Whedon. We remain excited about the future of ‘The Nevers’ and look forward to its premiere in the summer of 2021,” an HBO spokesperson said in a statement.
“The Nevers” would’ve marked Whedon’s return to television following the director’s success in the film industry and his first time serving as showrunner since the initial five seasons of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Whedon directed several high-profile films during the 2010s, including “The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” He also directed and wrote “Justice League” following Zack Snyder’s departure from the project. He also created hit television shows “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Firefly,” and co-created the Marvel Cinematic Universe show “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
As for “The Nevers,” casting for the series had been completed prior to Whedon’s departure. Laura Donnelly and Ann Skelly serve as the show’s leads and the supporting cast includes Olivia Williams, James Norton, Tom Riley, Ben Chaplin, Pip Torrens, Zackary Momoh, Amy Manson, Nick Frost, Rochelle Neil, Eleanor Tomlinson, and Denis O’Hare. Jane Espenson and Doug Petrie serve as writers on the show and executive produce alongside Bernie Caulfield.
In 2018, Whedon described “The Nevers” as the most ambitious narrative he had ever created. The show’s logline reads: “‘The Nevers’ is 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.”