Last fall it was announced that long-time TV writer and producer Joss Whedon was departing the HBO series The Nevers with Whedon citing the "level of commitment" and "physical challenges" required to make the show amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A few months later, HBO named writer Philippa Goslett as Whedon's successor on the series, with Goslett overseeing the second half of the first season (the first half, overseen by Whedon, debuted in April). Now, series star Denis O'Hare is speaking out about Whedon's departure, saying that the cast was "thrown for a loop" by the news.
"We were done shooting, oddly enough," O'Hare recently told Digital Spy. "We finished in November. So on one hand, it didn't impact us at all. We were on schedule. We were doing exactly what we were meant to do, which is to come back in June and start shooting the back six.
"I think we were all worried and thrown for a loop when it happened. I don't tend to be very good at current events and gossip. I tend not to read things, just because it's not where I put my energies. So I was completely in the dark about anything that was swirling around him. And honestly, we don't really know what happened. We were just told, 'He's leaving'."
Even though O'Hare said the departure was confusing, he did go on to say that he thinks Goslett is "the exact right choice" to step into the showrunner role, even if it's unclear if or how plans for the remainder of Season 1 will change.
"That being said, Philippa Goslett seems like the exact right choice. I think there's some writing staff that's remaining the same. Whenever they're changing a writer, let alone a showrunner, you don't know what's going to happen to your character," O'Hare said. "So I think all of us were sort of scrambling. We all had Zoom meetings with Philippa. We were all scrambling to go, 'Hi! I can tap dance! I can also sing and play piano! I can be really dark, I can be really funny, I can do a backflip. Hire me! Don't kill me off!'"
He added, "Whatever plans were afoot for the first [season], who knows what's going to change? We have no idea. I think Philippa will make it her own. She will imprint it in her own way. I think she'll keep the best aspects of the madness of the world, and perhaps go in the same direction but in a different lane."
First announced in 2018, The Nevers is a historical sci-fi hybrid series set in Victorian-era London and follows a group of people — mostly women — known as the "Touched" who suddenly manifest abnormal abilities, some charming, some very disturbing. Among them are Amalia True (Laura Donnelly), a mysterious, quick-fisted widow, and Penance Adair (Ann Skelly), a brilliant young inventor. They are the champions of this new underclass, making a home for the Touched, while fighting the forces of… well, pretty much all the forces — to make room for those whom history as we know it has no place.
The series also stars James Norton, Tom Riley, Ann Skelly, Ben Chaplin, Pip Torrens, Zackary Momoh, Amy Manson, Rochelle Neil, Eleanor Tomlinson, Denis O'Hare, and Nick Frost.
The first half of Season 1 of The Nevers is now streaming on HBO Max.