David Milch’s Deadwood, HBO’s best Western, ended 12 years ago after an impressive three-season run: while it was airing, it won eight Emmys and oodles of critical acclaim, and found a devoted audience to boot. (The show charts the development of a fictional frontier outpost in the 1870s in the very real Deadwood, South Dakota.) Since its 2006 end, those fans have been clamoring for a satisfying resolution to the series, in the form of a fourth season or as a movie.
At this summer’s Television Critics Association press tour, Casey Bloys, HBO’s head of programming, announced that Deadwood will be coming back as a movie. Filming is expected to begin in October, Bloys said, and the network is aiming for a release next spring. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Milch — the show’s main writer — has already written the script, and Daniel Minahan, who directed four episodes of the television series, is attached as the film’s director.
That’s great news for Deadwood-heads, and it’s been a long time coming. Back in 2006, Milch and HBO announced plans to wrap up the series in a pair of telefilms; that didn’t happen. The rumors continued for the next decade, with various actors from the series quashing any whispers of a comeback. In 2017, however, Ian McShane — who played the violently compelling Al Swearengen — told the trade pub TVLine that Milch had delivered a two-hour script to HBO.
“If they don’t deliver [a finished product], blame them,” he said at the time. At last year’s TCA awards, Bloys said he’d read that script; this January, the HBO exec professed optimism for starting production in the fall. As Swearengen himself put it, “Announcin’ your plans is a good way to hear God laugh.” So maybe fans shouldn’t count their ducklings before they’ve hatched. But this does seem like a good start.