The X-Files’ Frank Spotnitz is suddenly no longer the showrunner for Amazon’s alternate history series The Man in the High Castle. And the decision’s thrown a bit of a wrench into the production of the show’s second season.
According to Deadline, the split is the result of days of confrontations between Amazon and Spotnitz over the production of the show. This is probably not good news, as The Man in the High Castle (based on the Philip K. Dick novel of the same) was really well-received by critics in season one and was one of the most successful of Amazon’s forays into original programming.
Here’s Amazon’s statement:
Given the ambition and scope of the series, the decision has been made to locate all creative efforts on The Man in the High Castle to the west coast; Frank Spotnitz will remain as an Executive Producer and step back from showrunner. His responsibilities will be managed by our deep and talented bench of producers. We are enormously grateful to him for bringing our customers on one of the most watched original shows on Amazon Video and we are excited about the team’s vision for season two.
Despite Amazon’s implication that this was a thoroughly reasoned decision, we do know it was sudden, as Spotnitz’s departure has caused an immediate hiatus to the show’s production, right in the middle of production. Deadline points out that the hiatus could last as long as two weeks while the production adjusts to the new world order—which notably includes no showrunner whatsoever, with the current staff divvying up the position’s duties.
We’ll see how losing the showrunner who developed the project and shepherded it into being will affect the quality of season two. And we have to wonder how much will end up being changed during the pause in production.