News recently came that Raised by Wolves had been canceled at HBO. The series (not to be confused with the Irish sitcom of the same name) came from Ridley Scott and ran for two seasons, abruptly ending on a cliffhanger. For anyone who has not seen the show, it focused on a collective of survivors having found refuge after the Earth had been destroyed, and their ongoing journeys to live on this new planet. Two androids, Mother and Father, have been tasked with raising their own human children as atheists, while every other survivor on the planet follows religion – leading to regular conflict between the tribes. For everyone who has seen the show, the news is a travesty. Like Sol, the mysterious and often vicious deity at the forefront of Raised by WolvesHBO had giveth – and cruelly taketh away.
Brothers From the Same Egg Sack
Also last week, recognizing his own overabundant fandom, Scott Wampler recently penned his own sobering piece for Fangoria both praising and noting the (multiple) flaws in the film Prometheusanother Ridley Scott project (and Alien spin-off) that had just had its 10-year anniversary. Wampler writes, “Consider the nerve it must’ve taken to bring it to the screen with so many of its lofty notions and Lovecraftian riffs intact. Consider the carefully balanced world-building that went into it, all of which kept the film firmly within the Alien universe while showing us parts of it we’d never seen before. “
While some do not agree (and still think Prometheus sucks a decade on), Raised By Wolves can not help but share the same messy cocktail of DNA. With Sir Ridley Scott attached as executive producer and directing two episodes, his slimy black tentacles are all over this series. Raised By Wolves feels like an extension of Scott’s goals with Alien and Prometheus, like it could exist in the same universe, just another planet in the solar system. In the 1979 classic, the main vessel in which the alien hunts the crew is overseen by an AI also named simply “Mother,” to cite but one direct reference).
Raised By Wolves‘ideas were ambitious, grand, and plentiful, and felt like the best parts of Scott’s recent return to Sci-Fi but could siphon off the weirdness with digestible and incredibly brave 40-60 minute segments. The series took whatever Scott was trying to say with Prometheus and actually gets it right. Raised By Wolves was brave and refreshing, and it’s only right that its fans are so truly upset about this news.
Cancellation Does Not Compute
With fantastic reviews alongside high audience numbers, all seemed rosy for the critically-acclaimed series, which makes the axing all the more questionable. So why end it at all? The real answer comes down to the be all and end all in Hollywood: money. In April this year, WarnerMedia (with HBO in tow) was sold to media company Discovery. Like one of Ridley Scott’s own creations, the two merged in to one grotesque final boss and spawned a Weyland-Yutani-like corporation with the oh-so-catchy title of “Warner Bros. Discovery.”
Writing in April, Variety said: “During Discovery’s Q1 investor call on Tuesday, CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels said WarnerMedia assets profit projection for 2022 is $ 500 million lower than Discovery expected, and Discovery’s better-than-expected results help offset that for WBD. ‘2022 will undoubtedly be a messy year, ‘he said. ” As such, Raised By Wolves, along with a slew of other scripted vehicles including Batwoman and The Flight Attendant, have been sacrificed to make room.
It’s telling to see that even proven draws like Raised by Wolves and Batwoman are forced to make way when, from a business point of view, cheaper things have the opportunity to be made instead. As a mother bird, HBO have seen the eggs they have in their nest and trampled all over them to opt for efficiency in factory farming instead.
Alien $ and Raised by Wolves
But the story really does not feel finished. With the assassination of the show came an almost immediate backlash from the fans. With such a strong reaction from the fan base, alongside mutual support from certain cast members (Abubakar Salim, the mesmerizingly good “Father” in the series, has been very vocal on Twitter) the ground remains fertile for more.
Currently at over 13 thousand signatures, the “RENEW RAISED BY WOLVES” petition on Change.org is accompanied by their official website, urging followers to streamline their tweets at specific times of the day to make the largest splashes, and to directly reach out to their streamers in an attempt to advertise the potential that a recognized series like this could have if picked up again by a rival.
Almost acting as a whistle-blower and just before the show was announced as being dropped, Salim himself wrote a statement on Reddit and Twitter:
I’m asking that you show that love, and have your voice heard throughout socials and help us find a new home. Not gonna lie, it’s a slither of hope, and a lot of this comes down to the die rolling in our favor. But as some of you know, I enjoy rolling the dice every now and then, and rolling “nat 20s” seems to come easy to me;) So let’s give it a shot. Let’s give it our all. Let’s get that door finally open, and get the light we see of this show, flooding into other homes. That was a joke. But a serious one. UPDATE: The studios are watching. Still day one. Keep going.
To come so directly and passionately from a character known on screen with a two-dimensional delivery and so devoid of real emotions (or just being straight up cuckolded) is powerful. In his statement the actor goes on to cite The Snyder Cut and its own successful results, as fans fought for the franchise they loved.
Buddy all that up with the very recent joke-movement online of #MorbinTimewhere a bunch of ironic nerds made fake stats and lofty figures to push how successful a movie was that they hadn’t seen or even cared about (resulting in Sony cluelessly re-releasing their Morbius feature in cinemas again), and there’s proof that fan movements are very real, and can work. And Salim believes that #RenewRaisedByWolves is the next one to make headlines.
Refreshingly, the official site created for the movement implores that said fans sign the petition and promote the hashtag in a polite way instead of with blunt force. Unlike certain other fan movements, this feels like a community – saving something because they know it’s worth it to try, and not mustering an angry mob to bang on studio execs’ doors while threatening to steal their dog if they do not renew.
Raising the Wolf Pack
Raised By Wolves does not deserve to be the next Fireflyan incredible show that was canceled too soon and absent for two decades. In its current incarnation, it is bittersweet and a story devoid of an ending, a cinematically beautiful fable, now tailing off with an ellipsis. And it’s just too good and too original a series to deserve that. This reaction from its fans is correct, being handled reasonably in kind, and is being spearheaded by a man on the inside who is fresh from being “whacked,” as it were.
If Raised By Wolves weren’t as visually stunning and as fantastically unique as it truly is, then this news would not seem to hurt as much, but to gun this mighty Pegasus down mid-flight comes off as inhumane at best – and a shunning of the artistic medium at its very worst.