What To Expect In 2024 (and ’25): From ‘The Penguin’ to ‘The Last of Us’ to the end (?) of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’
(New York) – It has been a challenging year for those working in entertainment. Not only have the WGA and ongoing SAG/AFTRA strikes created friction between the artists and the studios, they have also forced productions to be put on hold indefinitely. The ripple effects have been felt across the industry and will continue long after they conclude. Awards Radar was in attendance as Casey Bloys, CEO and Chairman of HBO and Max, spoke with the press to help navigate the ever-shifting challenges as an effect of the strike. The presentation consisted of a Q&A and the announcement of HBO’s slate of upcoming projects for both new series and the returning favorites.
Part of the strategy Bloys described was to build off already established Warner Bros. IP, “using Max Originals as a way to build exciting tentpole shows.” A prime example is the upcoming The Penguin starring Colin Farrell as one of Gotham’s most infamous villains. The series as described by Bloys is, “an extension of Matt Reeves’ The Batman. But honestly, I’m incredibly excited because it’s a good old fashioned mob story.” Other tentpole series baed on IP include Crazy Rich Asians, Dune: The Prophecy and Welcome to Derry, the prequel series to the very popular IT film series – based on the Stephen King novel.
While only a few very brief clips of Welcome to Derry were shown, attendees did get to enjoy the full trailer of The Penguin on the big screen. One thing both series have in common are delays with Derry being being pushed from Halloween 2024 to sometime in 2025 and The Penguin moving from Spring to Fall of 2024. The announcement of shows shifting around the schedule after missing original plans was quite a common occurrence during the event.
Bloys took a moment to directly discuss the strikes and their impact. “I will say, I’ve had my fingers crossed all week that SAG settles, because obviously we would all like to get back to work,” he said. “But, like with the writers guild I want everybody to come back to work happy.”
“We’ve had to adjust across the board,” explained Bloys. This extends beyond new shows, but also to “shows that we’ve had on the runway, and we’re in the middle of shooting.” One such show was Hacks which was announced during the event to be returning for its third season in Spring of 2024. The Emmy-winning comedy series was in heavily into shooting when halted mid-production by the strikes.
One member of the press in attendance asked if there is not a strike resolution in the near future would it lead to a split season for the Hacks and other series on the slate. “I am hopeful that I don’t have to figure those things out,” responded Bloys. “Obviously if it continues, we’ve got plans, it would probably involve moving some things. There are some shows that I showed you that are available earlier than others, so we’ve got scenarios that we could employ, but I’m really, really hoping that we don’t have to.”
Other high profile series are being pushed to 2025 including The White Lotus (Season 3). “It probably would have been in 24, that’s pushing to 25,” said Bloys. And Euphoria is set to return, but will keep fans waiting until 2025 for season 3.
Also on that list is the highly-anticipated season two of The Last of Us which was confirmed to be entering production in early 2024 and is aiming for a 2025 premiere. The series co-creator Craig Mazin previously revealed at least the first episode had already been written giving fans hopes for a much sooner return.
To satisfy viewers in the meantime are other returning fan favorites like House of the Dragon season two. “They are done shooting and in post, said Bloys. “We hope to have that early summer (2024) at this point.” While the members of the press in attendance were allowed to screen the new season trailer, its contents are currently under embargo. Bloys did provide other details that can be shared while discussing the future of the R.R. Martin universe franchise.
He addressed the frequent news of Game of Thrones and concerns of franchise fatigue as a whole. “I don’t have a plan where I go, ‘Okay, I need three Game of Thrones on the schedule by this time,” clarified Bloys. Instead, the approach is that quality trumps all. “I’ve always said, we’re going to do the shows that we think are good.”
“After the first show, we developed a ton of scripts, and House of Dragons came up being the one that we felt most excited by,” said Bloys. “That’s kind of how we approach everything.”
So what other Game of Thrones content can fans expect? Following all the relatively frequent news of related scripts in development since Games concluded, surprisingly little. “The only other we announced Dunk and Egg, which we will start shooting, again, pending the SAG strike resolution. I would say, Spring of 24,” said Bloys. “We always have Game of Thrones scripts in development,” noted Bloys, “but I wouldn’t say there’s anything else close to greenlight or anything.”
Another ‘pretty good’ returning show announcement was for Curb Your Enthusiasm which will be back in February 2024 for a 12th season. When asked about it possibly being the final season, Bloys responded, “We generally leave that up to Larry (David), and I think he’s thinking about what he wants to do. He knows it’s kind of been an open invitation. I think he’s going to decide whether he wants to continue or make this the final season. I would guess before it airs, he’ll decide.”
The presentation also included never seen before trailers for this year’s docu-series Jerrod providing an inside look at the life of Jerrod Carmichael and the reactions of family and friends after coming out as a gay man. Bloys called the series, “funny and unique.” On the opposite end of the spectrum is the “truly bizarre and dangerous” Robert Durst, who famously was caught on a hot mic confessing to a murder for the HBO series, The Jinx. In Spring of 2025 The Jinx: Part Two continues to follow the convicted murderer through the trial providing viewers with chilling never scene before footage of Durst and his acquaintance / possible accomplices.
Even with the strike HBO and Max continue to have an impressive offering of content. Below are some of the other series appearing during the presentation.
Slated for 2024:
True Detective: Night Country – The fourth season in the anthology franchise is set in Alaska and stars Academy Award winner, Jodie Foster. On hand at the event was series showrunner Issa López to discuss her work. López, who started her career in telenovelas, explained how her work in telenovelas injected “the discipline of episodic cliffhangers and characters” into her “writer’s DNA.” She also provided a tease for fans of the franchise, “It is its own story, but it’s still connected.” In addition, “There are Easter eggs throughout that you will find and there’s a big, big thing in episode 6 that you will discover in time,” promised López. When asked where she drew inspiration she quickly answered, John’s Carpenter’s terrifying The Thing, a series she called “a masterpiece that’s aged well.” López aimed to return to the mix of mystery and horror she appreciated in past seasons of the series, “I think what works about it is the combination of something incredibly sinister hiding in the shadows that goes deeper than human understanding.”
Watch the trailer… if you dare. (Coming to HBO in January 2024)
The Regime – a dark political comedy starring Kate Winslett about the unraveling of her character and her authoritarian regime. Trailer (Coming to HBO in 2024)
The Sympathizer – Director Park Chan-wook and producer/co-star Robert Downey Jr.deliver this adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel – an espionage thriller taking place after the fall of Saigon. Trailer (Coming to Max in 2024)
Dune: The Prophecy – Based on Dune’s sisterhood stories, it is finishing up shooting in Europe. “We hope to have it on air by next fall,” said Bloys (Coming to Max Fall of 2024)
Industry – (Season 3) “The little show that could,” as described by Bloys. The series welcomes new cast additions and HBO alumni Sarah Goldberg (Barry) and Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones)
The Sex Lives of College Girls (Season 3),
Tokyo Vice (Season 2)
Pretty Little Liars: Summer School (Season 2)
My Brilliant Friend (for its 4th and Final Season)
Also discussed, Our Flag Means Death – When asked about a season 3 renewal Bloys responded with carefully chosen words, “What is a little bit different in a linear world than here is how a show performs over a longer period of time than three weeks or something. So we’re figuring out how it’s doing, what it’s looking like.” He added, “It’s certainly an incredibly funny, well done, poignant show. I mean, it is a great show. We’re trying to figure out… does it make sense. So I don’t really have an answer for anybody at this point.”
Bloys began the presentation by addressing the elephant the room, the recent reports that implored staffers to troll critics on social media. “So when you think of that mindset, and then think of 2020 and 2021, I’m home, working from home and spending an unhealthy amount of time scrolling through Twitter. And I come up with a very, very dumb idea to vent my frustration.” Bloys expressed his actions derived from his passion for the shows themselves, “I want the shows to be great. I want people to love them. I want you all to love them,” said Bloys. “It’s very important to me what you all think of the shows.”
He continued by apologizing to those mentioned in the tweets and assuring the press he has moved on to better approaches. “I have progressed over the past couple of years to using DMs,” explained Bloys. “So now, when I take issue with something in a review, or take issue with something I see, I DM many of you, and many of you are gracious enough to engage with me in a back and forth and I think that is probably a much healthier way to go about this.”
Stay tuned to Awards Radar’s coverage on them and the rest of our extensive television cover throughout the year.