HBO is reportedly looking at at fall 2018 production start for their long-awaited Deadwood revival movie. The original Deadwood series ran on HBO from 2004 to 2006 to critical acclaim, but was forced to shut down after just three seasons, due mostly to high production costs.
Talk of a Deadwood revival, either in series or feature film form, was nothing but rumor and speculation until 2016 when HBO confirmed they were moving ahead with a one-off movie. Series creator David Milch, whose writing on the original show was arguably some of the finest (and most profane) in TV history, finished the script and delivered it to HBO in early 2017.
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Though details of the script have been kept under wraps, cast members have been happy to generally praise Milch’s work on it. Kim Dickens called it “painful and beautiful,” while W. Earl Brown called it “stunning.” With the script in place and the cast being brought together, TVLine reports that HBO is looking at cranking up production on Deadwood the movie in fall 2018. The start date has not yet been confirmed by the network.
Though casting has yet to be officially announced, expectations are that all the main players will be coming back, including Ian McShane who has indicated that he wants to make the scheduling work out and won’t let his on-going role on Starz’s American Gods get in the way. In addition to McShane, the original cast included Timothy Olyphant, Molly Parker, John Hawkes, Brad Dourif, Paula Malcomson, Robin Weigert and Gerald McRaney. The late Powers Booth was also featured heavily in the original series as hard-bitten tavern proprietor Cy Tolliver, and it’ll be interesting to see how Milch deals with the loss of that key character.
Though it only lasted for three seasons, Deadwood carved out a huge place in TV history, and retains a core of devoted fans who can’t wait to see what David Milch has dreamed up by way of giving the series a proper ending. Like The Sopranos, Deadwood was a series that anticipated Peak TV, bringing cinematic production values, complex writing and very adult themes to the small screen at a time when audiences hadn’t yet come to expect those things from mere TV fare.
As this summer’s Twin Peaks revival showed, sometimes it’s possible to revisit a fondly-remembered TV show that ended too soon and not only bring it back to life, but re-imagine it in a way that transcends mere nostalgia. Like David Lynch and Mark Frost, Deadwood creator David Milch is a man who knows how to craft compelling narratives filled with memorable characters, so there’s reason to be optimistic that he will deliver something that not only recalls the greatness of Deadwood but expands on it in a satisfying way. At the very least, the movie should feature some incredibly beautiful and poetic swearing.