Hulu Cancels Sean Penn Drama ‘The First’ After the First Season

Space exploration series launched to lackluster reviews last fall

Last Updated: January 18, 2019 @ 5:35 PM

Hulu will not be going back to Mars — at least not with Sean Penn.

The streamer has canceled Penn’s space-exploration drama “The First” after one season. The high-profile project was Penn’s first-ever starring role on a TV series, but it was met with lackluster reviews.

The series followed the first human mission to Mars in the not-too-distant future. The character drama focused on the astronauts who embark on the mission but also their families, loved ones and the people participating back on Earth. It explored the challenges that go into interplanetary colonization.

Penn stared opposite Natascha McElhone, along with LisaGay Hamilton, Hannah Ware, Keiko Agena, Rey Lucas, James Ransone, Anna Jacoby-Heron, Brian Lee Franklin and Oded Fehr. “House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon created the drama for Hulu.

The series was initially set as a limited series, but Willimon had previously told the TheWrap that he wasn’t done with the story. “I mean, I didn’t set out to do a limited series,” he said. And while he didn’t say exactly how many seasons he envisioned, he did say he “certainly [has] a plan for the story,” which includes telling the story of the astronauts’ journey to Mars in parallel with the story of those left on Earth.

Willimon and Jordan Tappis’ Westward Productions owned and produced “The First,” which was co-financed by Hulu alongside the UK’s Channel 4 and IMG.