This post was originally published on Comics Beat

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Well now. As revealed in a tweet from Mark Millar, Jupiter’s Legacy, based on his series of comics with artist Frank Quitely and others, is ending after a single season at Netflix – even though it ended on a big reveal/cliffhanger. The top notch cast – Josh Duhamel, Leslie Bibb, Ben Daniels – have all been released to go work on other projects.

As you can see, it’s not the end of Milalrworld at Netflix – Millar is working on Supercrooks, a heisty tale from the same universe which was a comic drawn by Leinil Francis Yu. Supercrooks will be both a live action series and an anime-style cartoon. The latter is debuting at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in June.

Jupiter’s Legacy is set in a world of a superhero dynasty, and its rather complicated tale unfolded over three separate comics series – and Millar had comics sequel set for later this year.

It’s just one of the properties that Netflix purchased outright from Millar back in the innocent days of 2017. And several more series are in the works, according to a 2018 Instagram post, including:

Empress: An original film about a space Empress on the run.
Huck: This movie wonders if the greatest super power is just all the friends we made along the way.
Sharkey: Adapted from an upcoming comic, a film about a bounty hunter. In space. Named Sharkey.
American Jesus: A comic-turned-Spanish-language TV show about a boy who may or may not be the second coming of Jesus.

Borys Kit wrote about the cancellation for The Hollywood Reporter but then unleashed a rather devastating series of tweets:

He continued:

JUPITER’S LEGACY, for the many who didn’t watch it, was supposed to go on for several seasons and had a big reveal/cliffhangery ending. Mark Millar even was launching a new 12 issue comic tied to it.

But credit to Millar for pirouetting, moving on to his next comic adaptation (SUPERCROOKS) and making Jupiter’s Legacy a “universe,” and giving it an “anthology” umbrella.

Also, per sources, Jupiter’s Legacy cost around $200 MILLION, reshoots and everything included, so this is a sizeable loss.

$200 million!!! Many on Twitter pointed out that all 24 episodes of Sense8 cost a mere $162 million  – the series was cancelled despite a pretty vocal fanbase.

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I didn’t watch Jupiter’s Legacy, but it consistently showed up in Netflix’s most watched shows lists since its debut, and, I’m told, the comics, all published by Image, are selling well. To hear that it was such an instant flop is a bit surprising – although the stills from the show have a distinct Inhumans vibe, and not much of the budget seems to have gone to wigs.

A perceptive viewer had a lengthy twitter thread about why the show had some plotting issues:

First thing’s first, for those of you who don’t know – and not even people who reported the news knew (not that I can blame them) – Jupiter’s Legacy was supposedly an adaptation of a trilogy of comic maxiseries written by Mark Millar and drawn by a whole lot of great artists. 2/?

Specifically, the show itself takes its name from, and primarily was ‘meant’ to adapt, the first of these maxiseries – which takes place second chronologically. And I say ‘meant’ because, at 8 episodes of about an hour each…the show only adapts 1 issue of story. 1 issue. 3/?

This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. While I enjoy the comics, they are very compressed. With MANY important plot details either happening in-between time-skips, or off-page. So some of the show decides to explore and explain some of these blanks. But…overdoes it. 4/?

Not only does it try to expand upon one important plot thread that was glossed over in the comics…it makes the FATAL decision to actually set the entire series before the comics even begin. Which means that the entire season builds up to…the first issue of the comic. 5/?

And that’s a fatal mistake because of how the maxiseries is actually structured. Which is that – in the comic this is adapting – the PLOT DOESN’T BEGIN UNTIL THE THIRD ISSUE. So this show spends a season and ends before the PREMISE EVEN STARTS. 6/?

So, by the end of the first season, after 8 hours of show, the viewer is left with…nothing. A show about nothing. That has no real story, narrative hook, or gimmick. I cannot even fathom how you spent 200 mil on this kind of hollow product. But it gets worse. 7/?

It gets worse the show decides to apply these same methods to the character arcs themselves. To insanely backwards results. The most obvious of which being that the main character of the comic is turned into barely an afterthought in the show. 8/?

Now the show hasn’t forgotten about the main character – but that it’s decided that they need to BUILD UP to her. So, rather than expanding on that character – they give her worse traits, personality, dynamics, so that she can ‘grow’ in later seasons. 9/?

Of course, the character development for the main character in the comic starts when the premise begins – in the THIRD ISSUE. And, as we’ve established, the show only ends up adapting Issue #1. So we’re left with a horrible character that gets NO GROWTH, ARC, PERSONALITY. 10/?

To put this short, this was a show with no story, no narrative gimmick, no central premise, and no main character. Why would people care about anything this show has to offer if it is completely hollow? Add in awful effects and generally bad writing to boot, this was DOA. 11/11

One other thing – the show spends its runtime giving the most hackneyed “should superheroes kill” plot of all time. And in the end it doesn’t even have anything interesting to say about that topic at all. So you’re left watching something that feels 30 years out of date. 12/12

An even more authoritative source, showrunner Steven De Knight also took to Twitter. DeKnight left the show over creative differences halfway through – to be replaced by Sang Kyu Kim, of The Walking Dead –  so he did his own little schadenfreude dance. Some highlights:

More specific tweets about how DeKnight’s take would have progressed can be read here, but it’s worth noting this rather pointed fact:

Jupiter’s Legacy’s short run is another stumble for Netflix’s attempt to build a nerd friendly IP library – the very thing that purchasing Millarworld was supposed to support. Aside from Stranger Things, most Netflix success stories have been taken from other media – The Witcher, Shadow and Bone. True so was Jupiter’s Legacy, but they own it now. Of course, maybe that was the plan in 2017, but they could have different goals now, as the Streaming Wars have radically changed everything in Hollywood.

Mark Millar has definitely left his mark on culture with a very successful run of movies – Wanted, Kick-Ass and the Kingsman series. But it’s worth noting they are all movies. Millar has a pretty dark take on the world, and maybe it’s one that’s better suited to a two hour movie than TV characters you spend a lot of time with. I mean that hasn’t stopped Garth Ennis, but.

Anyway, it appears that Netflix and Millar will have many more bites at that apple. And more chances to spend lots and lots of money doing it. 

The post Jupiter’s Legacy ends after one season and $200 million appeared first on The Beat.


 

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