Deadwood: What Happened to the HBO Movies?

As you may recall back in May 2006, Deadwood fans were shocked to learn that the third season of David Milch’s acclaimed western series would be the show’s last. Though the HBO series was not officially cancelled per se, the series’ cast options were not picked up, leaving the actors unemployed and free to pursue other projects. If new Deadwood projects were commissioned at a later time, it was said that it would be unlikely that all of the cast members would be available to participate.

Lots of fans let HBO know how they felt about the situation. A massive letter-writing campaign was organized and a full-page ad was placed in the trade paper Variety. Many said that if the pay-per-view channel cancelled the old west series then they would cancel their monthly subscriptions. HBO heard the outcry and finally came to an agreement with David to create a pair of two-hour films that would allow him to properly wrap up the series (in place of a fourth season). Each episode of Deadwood has typically represented one day in the lives of the South Dakota characters. Shifting to two-hour movies would allow David to break that format and complete the storys he had planned for the final season.

At the time, it was said the movies would be broadcast in 2007. According to, filming is now scheduled to start in June or July of this year (after the completion of the first season of David’s other HBO series, John from Cincinnati). Unfortunately, the longer it takes for the production to get going, the less likely that all of the cast members will be available. Many of the actors have very active careers outside the Deadwood series.

Actor Ian McShane (Al Swearengen on Deadwood) for example is scheduled to star in a revival of The Homecoming on Broadway in the Fall. His rehearsals would theoretically start in October, leaving a very limited time-frame to participate in the movies.

Though David Milch is reportedly excited about his scripts, Ian seems less than optimistic. “We’re still waiting to know if the two two-hour movies will done,” McShane said. “Today they say yes, they will be done, but who knows what they’ll say tomorrow. I’ve got a feeling in me that it’s not completely dead in some way, but who knows what they could do it?”

Though it seems like we’re closer to seeing the movies be made, they’re far from completed. Will all of the cast members be available? Will the movies fulfill the promise and wrap up the storylines properly? Time will tell so stay tuned! TV Series Finale home page

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52 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. says

    Indeed a good reson to cancel HBO and as a subscriber I still insist they make the Deadwood situation right, how can one trust these people with your valuable time, who would watch half a movie, read half a book? Perhaps the only answer is the Jericho solution………….what happened to CBS when they attempted to cancel a serries midstream. There is too much competition to put up with this treatment, and at this point I don’t really care how much it cost to make it right because cost are derrived from poor planning and bad mistakes, and sometimes you have to eat it it to stay in business.
    What is unfortunate is they will probably do this to me again…..”Game Of Thrones”

    as for most of what has followed Deadwood, inferior crap and even their boxing sucks…………and by the way shows that interest me are being made on general package networks, FX, USA, and the like and for the fools that underestimate the consumer, ah let them also under estimate the voters……………Ron Paul 2012

  2. says

    I agree 100% and feel exactly the same way everyone else does towards HBO. I may be a little late here with this comment however, after revisiting the series “again” as I sometimes do, I have to say I feel just as annoyed and negatively as I did towards HBO when I saw how they ended Deadwood with that last episode four years ago (which IMO is completely undeserving for a series as great as Deadwood was).

    And just as I did back in ’06, (as well as every time I revisit) I search the net (which is what led me to this site) hoping to find news of the return of Deadwood (the best, and the last great series HBO would ever produce, IMO).
    Still I remain a faithful fan of the series today as do so many others. I guess I know now it won’t ever be properly finished, but it surely deserved to be and definitely should have been. Who ever it was at HBO that had the final say ending Deadwood the way they did, should be ashamed of themselves and I hope their careers ended just as abruptly and suddenly.

    Just my $0.02 cents

  3. R. Millett says

    Like many people, when HBO cancelled Deadwood, Inside the NFL, and Arliss…..then
    I cancelled HBO. HBO is not the network it once was and not worth the subscription anymore.

  4. Richard Ervin says

    Ditto to all that is said above. I will cancel HBO and urge all my friends to do the same!! How stupid can a net work become?

  5. terry jw kelley says

    There are many of us in Florida and Georgia as well that are dissapointed in the lack of closure to the deadwood series.I thought HBO was reliable,does anyone know why they did not pickup deadwood? Also can’t one of the other channels pick it up? Or is it tied to a “if we don’t broadcast it no one can kinda deal? Very sad & curious. It was the best thing HBO ever did for the history/western lovers of America.TJ

  6. ELRY LYLE says

    Dead wood, Rome, Sopranos. Where will HBO stop? I am going to cancel HBO from my subscription with these decisions. You get a quality program and then you cancel for reasons that viewers never understand. I guess HBO does not like it at the top.

  7. Edwin C. Thorell says

    Apparently HBO stands for Had Balls Once and their promise to film two movies to close out the Deadwood series was nothing but hot air. Too bad. I am cancelling my subscriton after waiting for promises that wont be fullfilled.

  8. Nancy Chiz says

    Cancel Deadwood?! Please say it ain’t so! I have been so looking forward to another season of Deadwood, now I may as well do like the rest of y’all and cancel HBO–why bother watching when there’s nothing on there worth watching.

  9. Alan Adelman says

    I am in totaly sympathy with all those who continue to miss Deadwood. I feel it was the best written show I have ever seen. I have never watched an historic portrayal of a period of American life that felt more plausible. Lets all ask Carolyn Strauss to bring it back. Please Carolyn!!!!!!!!!

  10. Robert Bredemeyer says

    First Carnivale now Deadwood , what IDIOTS , ask the people or take a poll of HBO viewers . Rome I liked the rest was terrible . SHAME SHAME HBO >.

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