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Canceled: Netflix axes big-budget Grendel before show is even finished

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Netflix executives have canceled Grendel, a new big-budget adaptation of the hit Dark Horse comicbook series, before the show has even finished production. 

Despite the fact that the show, which was given an eight-episode order in September of 2021, had completed the bulk of its filming, Netflix‘s executives have pulled the plug on the show. 

According to Deadline. (opens in new tab) the show, which was being overseen by Andrew Dabb, showrunner on Netflix’s recently canceled reboot of Resident Evil, is now free to be shopped to other producers in its unfinished state. 

Grendel is based on Matt Wagner’s much-acclaimed comic series and follows Hunter Rose, a successful writer who is driven to a life of masked vigilantism in the murky criminal underworld of New York City after the death of his girlfriend. However, despite enjoying some success in his quest for revenge, he quickly realizes that the underworld presents an opportunity and plots to take over the whole thing. 

Newcomer Abubakr Ali had been cast as Rose with Jaime Ray Newman, Julian Black Antelope, Madeline Zima, Kevin Corrigan, Emma Ho, Erik Palladino, Brittany Allen and Andy Mientus also in the cast. 

The show was due to be another installment from Netflix’s first-look deal with Dark Horses comics, which has thus far included the Mads Mikkelsen-powered thriller Polar, animated show Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles, and, most successfully, The Umbrella Academy

Reports about the cancelation have no details on why Netflix executives decided to call time on the show now, with no reports of poorly received footage or spiraling costs or any of the usual reasons the plug gets pulled. 


Analysis: Netflix’s cost-cutting continues

While everyone is remaining tight-lipped thus far, something has clearly gone wrong with Grendel to necessitate Netflix’s top brass calling time on the production before its even finished filming. 

Netflix’s tie-up with Dark Horse still has six other adaptations in development, and there’s no indication that’s going to change with this announcement. The Umbrella Academy is ending, but only after one final season in 2023. As well as that, Netflix’s tie-ups with Image Comics and Millarworld also look set to deliver more shows and movies in 2023 and beyond, so the streaming giant isn’t turning its back on comics. 

This is likely down to Netflix’s quest to cut costs, the same quest that has seen so many shows get canceled during the year and multiple rounds of layoffs. As we’ve seen with Warner Bros. Discovery’s axing of Batgirl, canceling a project, even if filming has finished, can save millions in taxes. And Netflix needs to keep costs down wherever it can. 

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