Warning: This article contains spoilers for the series finale of Penny Dreadful.
While many fans went into the Season 4 finale of Penny Dreadful prepared for a shocking cliffhanger, particularly where the fate of Vanessa Ives’ (Eva Green) soul was concerned, they may find themselves sitting in a state of shock today, one day later. It has come as a surprise to many Penny Dreadful fans that John Logan’s exploration of Victorian horror has come to an end with what had previously been presumed to have merely been the Season 4 finale. Today, Penny Dreadful’s creator and showrunner discussed that finale and the decision to end the series so abruptly.
John Logan Shares The News That Penny Dreadful Was Never Intended To Run As Long As It Did
To begin, Logan echoes the feelings of many dedicated Penny Dreadful fans, when he declares that the series, through each of the seasons, has essentially been the story of Vanessa Ives and her struggle against the darkness that plagues her life. As the Hollywood Reporter explains, Penny Dreadful was never intended to run more than three seasons, and Logan confirms that only the overwhelming love felt by Penny Dreadful fans kept the series running longer. It was determined by John Logan that when Vanessa Ives’ story arc comes full circle and there is a conclusion to her story, then also should the story of Penny Dreadful come to a close.
There was the temptation to keep going, of course, but even Showtime CEO David Nevins had to agree with Logan that Penny Dreadful had lived out its life with the story of its female lead. Both Nevins and Logan came to the conclusion that continuing Penny Dreadful would have been a commercial decision, forsaking the artistic quality of the series.
Still, the Showtime CEO did make one request of Mr. Logan.
“You have to promise me that you’re going to make an incredibly satisfying ending.”
The Story Of Vanessa Ives Wasn’t Concluded As Abruptly As It Might Seem
David Nevins, as well as Penny Dreadful creator John Logan, knew well in advance that the series was coming to a close sooner rather than later, but the decision to keep a lid on that news was a deliberate move to give the finale moments of Penny Dreadful the greatest impact. As Nevins points out, there’s rarely forewarning in life, whether one is referring to tragedies or miracles, and it was ultimately decided that Penny Dreadful should end just as suddenly.
For Logan, however, he has known throughout the past two seasons that his beloved series was nearing an end.
“I was planning out the third season. Penny Dreadful is about many things, but for me it’s always been about one really simple thing, which is a woman’s journey of faith — a deeply religious woman who loses her God and then finds him again,” revealed the Penny Dreadful showrunner. “I realized that’s where the third season was going to head. It was going to head to Vanessa sacrificing herself and reuniting with God. And that had to be the apotheosis for the character, the end of the character.”
Knowing how the story would end was only half of the battle, says Logan. He still had to convince the Showtime CEO, as well as actress Eva Green, that it was time to bring Vanessa’s story and, by default, Penny Dreadful to a close. John says continuing Penny Dreadful beyond this point would have done a disservice to the character of Vanessa Ives as well as to the fans of the series.
“I really thought about it deeply, because I love these characters so much, and I care about them so much, but it seemed that’s what had to happen,” said Mr. Logan. “Anything other than that would be, for me, an act of bad faith, and the last thing I’d ever want to do is treat Vanessa Ives or Eva Green with anything less than completely good conscience and good faith. So I had the discussion with Eva, and then finally it just became apparent. I talked to David about it, and here we are.”
[Image via Showtime]