HBO’s wild west drama, Deadwood, ended abruptly — after three seasons — in 2006. While fans raved about the show set in a South Dakota gold-mining town, it was abandoned nonetheless. Now, 13 years after the show’s end, HBO will give fans what they wanted: closure. On May 31, Deadwood: The Movie will air, reports ET.
Appropriately, the movie starts 10 years later, in 1889, as South Dakota celebrates its new statehood. Many of the original actors have returned for the final chapter, including Ian McShane (Al Swearengen), Timothy Olyphant (Seth Bullock) Paula Malcomson (Trixie), Molly Parker (Alma Ellsworth), Kim Dickens (Joanie Stubbs), Gerald McRaney (George Hearst), Anna Gunn (Mrs. Bullock), Dayton Callie (Charlie Utter), Brad Dourif (Doc Cochrane), William Sanderson (E. B. Farnum), John Hawkes (Sol Starr), and Keone Young (Mr. Wu).
“It all comes back in a heartbeat,” said Ian McShane, who plays one of the title roles in the show, when asked about getting the cast back together again.
While both McShane and Timothy Olyphant — the latter playing the justice-serving Seth Bullock — said they never thought Deadwood would be resurrected, they’re happy to see cliffhanging narratives resolved for fans. The fans, in the interim, are largely abuzz on Twitter.
With all of the hype surrounding the movie, the question of why Deadwood was canceled in the first place comes to the fore.
There were allegedly several reasons the show got the ax. For starters, the show’s owners got into a fight. Warner Media, which HBO is a division of, co-produced Deadwood with Paramount. The two companies disagreed on how to split the profits, a disagreement which was the main reason the show came to a grinding halt, according to Looper.
In addition, the show’s creator, David Milch, turned down a contract to finish the series. In an attempt to get Milch to focus on another HBO show, the network asked him to finish the storyline in six episodes, rather than the traditional 12. Milch said no.
“It seemed to me that some sort of partial order for the show would make it impossible to do anything but superimpose all sort of interpretations that would deprive it of its own emotion,” Milch stated of the situation, per Looper.
Milch asked to finish the series in two, two-hour episodes — and HBO agreed — but nothing was actually produced.
When you add a per-episode cost of $4.5 million, it’s not surprising to see why an ongoing series was problematic.
Instead, fans will have to settle for getting closure from the movie, even if they had to wait more than a decade to get it.