After over a decade of attempting to pull Y The Last Man from the pages of its comics to the means of live-action interpretation, the adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan’s deeply adored comic is now suffering an unfortunate fate of abrupt cancelation by FX. The drama’s short-lived lifespan only allowed the series to air seven of its intended ten episodes for the first season. The cancellation follows a number of rough events for the show, including a major recasting, switching showrunners, and a change of platform in order to bring the graphic novel to life. After all that, why have they cancelled it? It’s not because people weren’t watching.
According to what The Hollywood Reporter has learned, FX needed to make a decision about the fate of Y: The Last Man by October 15, 2021. The clock was counting down. This was the date that options on the cast were due to expire and needed to be renewed. The series should have had plenty of time, but faced several delays in production that ended up pushing them against this deadline. The delays included creative differences behind the scenes before the pandemic, and then shutdowns due to COVID-19. Sources for THR report that extending contracts again would have cost the network $3 million, and they declined to move forward. It wasn’t the ratings that led to Y The Last Man’s cancellation; it was the clock put on production after COVID-19 and other delays.
FX executive producer Eliza Clark provided an official statement on behalf of Y The Last Man through Twitter.
Clark added that the company is determined to rehome Y: The Last Man in order to keep the series alive. FX first acquired the IP rights to Y: The Last Man in 2015, the plot was developed in 2018, and production intended to begin in 2019.
It’s rare that FX makes the efforts to even cancel their shows. Usually, they opt to declare series “cancelations” as “first season finales” in order to quietly ax the program without turbulence around its departure from the network. FX was mixed into the Disney fold and has been under their watch since their property accumulation, and typically, the cancelation of a show is a direct result of poor viewership or delayed watch time. Y: The Last Man didn’t struggle when raking in an audience of those eager to see the comic transpire on television, though won’t make it to its concluding episode that was set to air on November 1, 2021.
Y: The Last Man failed to hold itself together in April 2019 as the original showrunner Michael Green, who was hired on to the show in 2016, faced creative differences with showrunner Aida Croal. 2020 brought about more troubles to Y: The Last Man after Dunkirk breakout star Barry Keoghan was replaced with Ben Schnetzer as Yorick, the last cisgender man on Earth. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the expected distribution means of Y: The Last Man from airing on FX to streaming on Hulu. The television series being canceled isn’t the first time that Y: The Last Man has seen success slip away from live-action adaptation.
It was first Tweeted by director Dan Trachtenberg that Y: The Last Man would not be in his possession and tagged Andy Wagner in reference to what is assumed to be his adaption of the comic for the big screen. Vaughan previously announced that New Line only had a certain amount of time to piece together a movie inspired by his book before rights were returned to him and series artist Pia Guerra, which was exactly what happened. The project was “dead” before it could even begin to cause ripples through the comic book film community. It seems that even before its televised cancelation, that Y: The Last Man was doomed from the start. Perhaps it’s better to leave it on the pages of the comic instead.