HBO and HBO Max chief content officer Casey Bloys says there were “no complaints” about Joss Whedon before he exited his sci-fi series “The Nevers” last fall.
“No, we had no complaints or no reports of inappropriate behavior,” Bloys told TheWrap on Wednesday, hours after “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” alum Charisma Carpenter accused Whedon of “hostile and toxic” behavior on the set of both WB shows, and voiced her support for “Justice League” star Ray Fisher in his own allegations against Whedon.
Representatives for Whedon declined to comment on Carpenter’s accusations Wednesday.
Whedon announced he was stepping down as showrunner on “The Nevers” on Nov. 25, 2020, a few months after Fisher accused Whedon of “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable” behavior on the set of Warner Bros.’ 2017 film “Justice League,” which Whedon led reshoots on after original director Zack Snyder had to step away due to a family tragedy.
WarnerMedia is the parent company of both HBO and “Justice League” studio Warner Bros.
“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 at the time of his “Nevers” exit. “I am genuinely exhausted, and am stepping back to martial my energy towards my own life, which is also at the brink of exciting change. I am deeply proud of the work we have done; I’m grateful to all my extraordinary cast and collaborators, and to HBO for the opportunity to shape yet another strange world. ‘The Nevers’ is a true labor of love, but after two-plus years of labor, love is about all I have to offer. It will never fade.”
HBO released its own statement that day, saying it had “parted ways” with Whedon but remained “excited about the future of ‘The Nevers’ and look forward to its premiere in the summer of 2021.”
Two weeks after Whedon exited “The Nevers,” WarnerMedia said the outside investigation it had launched into Fisher’s accusations had concluded and unspecified “remedial action” had been taken against unnamed individuals.
Starring Laura Donnelly, “The Nevers” was picked up straight-to-series in 2018 and was set to be Whedon’s first TV project since “Dollhouse,” which ran on Fox from 2009-2010. HBO named Philippa Goslett as the replacement showrunner for Whedon, who retains his creator and executive producer credit on the series, at the end of January.
The series takes place in the last years of Victoria’s reign, when London is beset by the “Touched”: people – mostly women – who suddenly manifest abnormal abilities – some charming, some very disturbing. Among them are Amalia True (Donnelly), a mysterious, quick-fisted widow, and Penance Adair (Ann Skelly), a brilliant young inventor. They are the champions of this new underclass, making a home for the Touched, while fighting the forces of… well, pretty much all the forces – to make room for those whom history as we know it has no place.
Whedon completed production on the first six of “The Nevers’s” 10-episode Season 1 order, which will debut in April on HBO. Goslett is currently working on Part 2 of the first season, which will likely consist of more than the four remaining episodes from the initial order.
“We knew the original was going to be 10 episodes long,” Bloys told TheWrap Wednesday. “We were shut down by the pandemic through Episode 5. In September, we got back up to shooting, finished Episode 5 and 6. And there was kind of a natural narrative break at six. So that was the thought then was to air six episodes. So at least we had something to put out there for subscribers and fans.”
Bloys says that Goslett and her team of writers are working through the second batch of scripts now and “we’ll get a better sense of timing” when those will air as “the weeks go on.”
“In terms of finding the person [to take over for Whedon], there’s just, you know, meeting a lot of people who responded to the material, what they got excited by, and Philippa, who has taken over, had a really great take on, you know, loved what she saw, but had really great ideas for how to move forward,” Bloys said. “So I think anytime, you know, a new showrunner comes on, there will be you know, just by virtue of it being a new voice will be a different lens. But in this case, I think that is welcome. And Philippa has been with the writers, and has been working on the show and edit with the last couple of episodes. So I’m excited about her.”