We’ve known since it was first announced that Disney’s long-in-the-works streaming service, Disney+, was being designed to compete with Netflix. And yet not even we were prepared for the levels the massive entertainment conglomerate would go to beat its rival on every conceivable metric, with Deadline reporting today that Disney has just surpassed Netflix in its recent rush to cancel shows, killing one of its own off before the service had even managed to launch.
Specifically, the villain-focused series Book Of Enchantment—adapted from Serena Valantino’s Villains series of YA novels, dipping into the backstories of iconic Disney baddies like the Evil Queen, Ursula, Maleficent, and more—has just been shuttered at the service. This isn’t just a “Hey, this was in development, and now it’s not” sort of thing, either; Book Of Enchantment had already had its writers room set and working on scripts for the last 13 weeks, which usually ensures that a series will at least get a couple of episodes out the door. Per Deadline, said scripts were apparently coming in a bit darker than executives were expecting, presumably on account of all the murder apples and Faustian sea witch deals going down. (Fairy tales, areweright?) Disney+ was presumably hoping for something a little more Descendants, a little less “The nature of evil is a multi-faceted, hard-to-pin-down thing.” (Also per Deadline, the network also dumped one of the showrunners from its High School Musical TV continuation recently because they were trying to tackle “adult themes” with the show)
Book Of Enchantment was being developed by showrunner Michael Seitzman, a producer on Quantico and Intelligence, which does add a certain “What the hell did you expect?” element to this whole debacle. In any case, executives decided to kill the show instead of firing Seitzman and replacing him with a team of kinder, gentler writers, although the company does maintain the TV rights to the franchise to try again later.