As announced by Variety, HBO has greenlit a straight-to-series new show created by Whedon. Titled The Nevers, the science-fiction drama will focus on a group of Victorian women who find themselves in the thick of what sounds like steampunk superhero group origin story. For fans of Whedon's work, that might sound awfully familiar.
Way back in 2015, Whedon was just recovering from The Avengers: Age of Ultron fatigue. During his one-man show at that year's Comic-Con, Whedon announced his new partnership with Dark Horse Comics. A comic named Twist was announced, complete with cover art. Whedon described the six-issue miniseries as the answer to his thought: "Why isn't there a Victorian female Batman?"
At the time, Twist was in the nascent stages, with the cover art being just about the only solid thing nailed down. After that? Nothing. But now, three years later, it looks like The Nevers could be the spiritual successor to Twist. Talking to IGN after HBO revealed the new series, Whedon confirmed his long-gestating comic was an inspiration for this new project:
"I’m honestly not sure what’s happening with the comic, because everything got very funky around that time. [Dark Horse] were always like, take your time, and then my time became insane. [...]But, yeah, that was an inspiration for me to go, all right, there’s something bigger here. So I don’t know what’ll happen with [the comic]. If they cancel each other out, I don’t know yet."
In the interview, Whedon went on to explain how the more he thought about the Victorian era, the more he wanted to do something deeper: an exploration of society that, he eventually realized, required a team of people instead of a single protagonist. In the end, Whedon joked he couldn't believe he ended up creating another superhero team because the lore is incredibly difficult to juggle.
One way or the other, The Nevers could be a turning point for Whedon. As his first project to come to fruition since Age of Ultron, the series has the potential to show if the Whedonverse can survive a series of shocks to the fandom that have left many either upset with Joss or swearing off his future content altogether. From the schism over the character development of Black Widow as to her feelings about motherhood to the damaging news that Whedon was a serial cheater who took advantage of his position of power to begin affairs with his young actresses, it remains to be seen if Whedon's draw is as powerful as it was during the height of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
No release date has yet been announced for The Nevers. The official announcement from HBO has programming president Casey Bloys stating, “We look forward to meeting the strange, multifaceted characters of The Nevers, to learn their stories, see them in action and share them with our viewers. We’re honored that Joss chose HBO as the place to build his ambitious new world and we are excited to get started.” With the words 'multifaceted' and 'ambitious new world' in there, fans of Whedon's work might have a bit of a wait. Those kinds of lore-dense narratives take a while to gestate.
Images: Nerdist/Dark Horse Comics