Updated: May 7
Not soon after publishing our post about filming continuing amidst the second country-wide lockdown, did news arrive that filming had officially wrapped last Sunday on the first half of season one on Joss' highly anticipated HBO series!
From everyone here at hbothenevers.com and The Nevers Podcast, I'd like to send a huge congratulatory salvo to Joss and everyone involved in this production. Congratulations to the producers, actors, writers, assistants, cinematographers, grips, camera operators, everyone in the stunt department, riggers, SFX/VFX artists, costume designers, script supervisors, set decorators, hair & makeup artists, the sound department, the electrical department, animal wranglers - everyone who's helped The Nevers reach this milestone. It takes an army to get a story from the page and onto our TV screens. Congrats to everyone and thank you for the hard work, commitment, skill, and talent brought to this production.
Getting here has been a long journey. On July 13th, 2018, we learned of Joss' plan to return to television with his epic period drama. The Nevers was ordered straight to series by premium cable network HBO after a bidding war with rival networks, including Netflix.
Little was known about the series at the time, and it is still somewhat shrouded in mystery. Apart from character bios, all we have is, admittedly, an impressive series summary: an epic science-fiction drama about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world.
Holy log line, Batman! Sci-fi, drama, a gang, relentless enemies, a mission that might change the world and all taking place in a Victorian setting? Way to entice potential viewers!
On April 23rd, 2019, Deadline reported that Northern Irish actress Laura Donnelly had been cast and would play the lead role of Amalia True, the most reckless, impulsive, emotionally damaged hero of her time. A menace to stuffy Victorian society, she would die for the cause and kill for a drink.
About Donnelly, Joss said: "Laura Donnelly has charisma, wisdom, and an anarchic precision that not only captures Amalia but defines her. She's fierce, and she's funny – and I need both for the journey ahead."
Principal photography began in July 2019. According to Production Weekly, filming was slated to begin in June 2019 and wrap in February 2020. However, it was moved up to May before finally commencing in July. On August 18th, four weeks after beginning principal photography, filming wrapped on episode one.
Most one-hour dramas require approximately two weeks to film, so the first episode's month-long shoot left some people scratching their heads. Some have speculated (myself included) that the first episode is two hours in length or a two-parter. According to Denis O'Hare, season one may consist of twelve episodes, which may also explain the longer than usual shoot. It might also be that the extended shooting schedule is down to the extensive VFX required for the episode, as Ann Skelly, who plays Penance Adair, has suggested.
In addition to filming on sound stages, location shooting in and around London was utilized. On-location shoots included Trinity Church Square and Wimbledon, as well as filming in Brighton in Southern England.
On July 30th, we reported the casting of James Norton. Hours later, as if to get ahead of us reporting further castings, Deadline published a cast list of eleven additional actors, each with an accompanying character description. Olivia Williams, James Norton, Tom Riley, Ann Skelly, Ben Chaplin, Pip Torrens, Zackary Momoh, Amy Manson, Nick Frost, Rochelle Neil, Eleanor Tomlinson, and Denis O’Hare all join Laura Donnelly as series regulars.
August 15th saw six additional cast members announced: Kiran Sonia Sawar, Elizabeth Berrington, Ella Smith, Viola Prettejohn, Anna Devlin were announced as series regulars while Martyn Ford would recur in the series.
At the October 29th WarnerMedia/HBO Max presentation, HBO programming chief Casey Bloys revealed the premiere date for The Nevers as being sometime in 2021. During the same presentation, artwork for The Nevers was revealed, including our logo and tagline “They’re coming.” The cogs and wheels that appear behind the woman in the image give credence to the steampunk aesthetic that some have presumed the series would incorporate.
In episode #7 of The Nevers Podcast, we considered the possibility of Joss having a 5-year plan for The Nevers based on planning application data that we obtained. The producers were subsequently granted usage of their filming studios for five years. In a November 16th interview with The Times, Olivia Williams revealed that she had signed a 5-year contract for the series, affirming what we had proposed.
Filming on The Nevers ceased in March amid the ongoing corona-virus pandemic. It resumed in the UK on September 7th, with HBO providing enhanced safety measures throughout filming to ensure that production could continue as safely as possible.
"So work starts up again on this incredible show @hbo called The Nevers," said Martyn Ford who plays Nicolas Perbal aka Odium.
"That's a wrap. Day 1. New rules. Safety does it. Feels amazing being back in the saddle," Amy Manson shared on Instagram.
According to Denis O'Hare, The Nevers will arrive on our screens in the Spring of 2021. Furthermore, as reported by O'Hare and suggested by Nick Frost, the first season will be released in two parts, with each part possibly consisting of six episodes.
The excitement amongst the fans, cast, and crew for this series is palpable. I have been following the development of The Nevers since 2018. To know that the finish line is in sight and a definitive premiere date (and a trailer?) is on the horizon is exciting! Knowing what little I do about The Nevers, I believe that it has the potential to be something extraordinary and possibly Joss' magnum opus.
Whedon serves as an executive producer, showrunner, writer and director on the series. Bernadette Caulfield (Game of Thrones), Jane Espenson, and Doug Petrie will executive produce; Espenson and Petrie, both Buffy alumni will also write.