This article was written by Anthony Pickett.
When it first aired in spring 2004, Deadwood was universally met with praise from critics and viewers alike. Kids who grew up playing cowboys and Indians and watching movies with John Wayne and Clint Eastwood finally had a new form of entertainment that perfectly blended their nostalgia from their younger years. And it came with all the drama and intensity expected of a modern show.
Then, much to the surprise of everyone, the show was cancelled. Well, not cancelled as much as just stopped. According to TV Series Finale, HBO offered series creator David Milch the opportunity to do a six-episode fourth season, but Milch turned the offer down, opting instead to leave the show open-ended. Fans were heartbroken, and felt they didn’t get an ending to the series they loved.
But now, more than 10 years later, it seems they may finally be getting the closure they deserved.
Deadline reported that Garret Dillahunt, who played character Jack McCall on the series, recently tweeted: “So uh….I’m hearing credible rumors about a #Deadwood movie. #Everybodypray.” and, “Come on @HBO…you made @entouragemovie. Give the #Deadwood fans some closure. #Youcandoit.”
A statement from HBO cited: “Regarding the rumored Deadwood movie, there have only been very preliminary conversations.”
The news is exciting. However, as any fan will tell you, one of the worst things creators can do to a beloved show is bring it back in the form of a movie or additional series, only to have the quality greatly disappoint loyal viewers. Also, as TV Tropes explains, an important factor in a project’s success revolves around its timing and interest of a release. So the question is: Is now a good time for a Deadwood movie?
In a word, yes. The network has full control over which month they want to air their own movie, and the public interest on the project is definitely piqued. Production has the opportunity to take advantage of both, as well as a time period that seems to have been forgotten.
The frontier has been an underutilized market for several facets of entertainment since Deadwood was abruptly cancelled. It seems that only the gaming industry has remained interested in the adventurous time period. Arguably the most famous game is Rockstar’s open-world, action-adventure game, Red Dead Redemption. Released in 2010, the game follows former outlaw-turned-bounty hunter John Marston
, a character similar to many of those in Deadwood. Proving just how successful the time period can be—when paired with an excellent premise of course—the game won several Game of the Year awards.
And RDR isn’t alone. There are online games that have taken a shine to the period too. Betfair’s casino site has more than one that appear as though they were inspired by camps just like Deadwood. Western Belles, for example, has an old West theme with classic frontier music and even a few “yee-haw!”s thrown in to play when you win. There’s also old West images like lassos and wild horses, in addition to some scantily-clad cowgirls who look fairly similar to those who worked in the surrounding “establishments” of Deadwood.
The gaming industry has certainly kept the public’s interest in the time period. Now would be an opportune time for film and television swoop in and follow suit. As long as the script writers can continue the same quality that was presented in the show, the viewers could be in for one hell of a cinematic conclusion.