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Hollywood studios are finally preparing to get back to work, thanks to the resolution of the 148 day writers’ strike that halted production around the world. This still leaves us with the important question: when can we expect our favourite TV shows and most anticipated films to hit screens?
Unfortunately, the answer is not so simple. Though the Writers Guild of America was able to settle its negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) – the body representing studios and streamers – and return to work, the actors’ union (SAG-AFTRA) is still on strike. This means filming, marketing and promotion remain impossible for most productions, though crucial development work can restart.
When will our favourite shows, like The White Lotus and Stranger Things, return now that the writers’ strike has ended?Credit: Compiled by Monique Westermann
It also depends on which stage a given production was at before the dual-strike began – was it greenlit, had filming already wrapped, was the script still being written? Then there are the logistics behind re-starting production, which will probably become extremely challenging and costly as a wave of studio executives compete for spaces to shoot and writers and directors to book.
A number of TV shows and films have been fast-tracked for pre-production and development so that they’re ready to kick into motion once the actors do return. So which productions have been deemed top priority, and when can we expect to see them?
Several films had already been greenlit (or were close to) before the writers’ and actors’ strikes shut them down, meaning they will be able to resume pre-production work – which can involve finalising scripts, hiring crew, scouting locations, arranging necessary equipment and determining a budget – relatively quickly, even with the actors still on strike.
Paramount Pictures will probably have its eyes on Star Trek 4, its long-delayed reboot that still requires script work, as well as the adaptation of Tom Clancy’s novel, Rainbow Six. However, neither film has a confirmed release date.
Warner Bros’ Minecraft movie will be high on the list, as its scripts are already completed, and it has a confirmed April 2025 release date to meet. The Batman sequel, which will be penned by Matt Reeves, will also probably begin its script-writing process with the hope of airing in October 2025. Both James Gunn’s Superman: Legacy and Universal’s Fast X: Part 2 require further scripting, but are still expected on screens on July 10, 2025 and early April 2025 respectively.
Part 2 of Fast X, starring Vin Diesel (left), will likely be fast-tracked for production now that its writers can finalise the scripts.Credit: Universal Pictures
Other films were further along the production pipeline when the strike commenced, meaning they’re more dependent on the actors’ strike ending, but could reach screens sooner once filming can resume.
They include the Gladiator sequel, which had already completed half of its filming before the strike and is expected in November 2024, Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part Two (scheduled for June 2024), Beetlejuice 2 (September 5, 2024) and Deadpool 3, which only had a few days of work remaining before the strike, according to Variety, and is slated for May 2024.
Finally, the sequel to the 1996 tornado thriller Twisters was only about a week into production in Oklahoma before it shut down, which means it will probably be eyeing a quick return once the actors are back.
The long-awaited sequel to Beetlejuice is set for a September 2024 release.
Beyond daytime and late-night talk shows, studios will probably focus on a range of familiar, long-running scripted TV productions. These tend to have established casts and crew who can slip back into their former roles relatively easily compared to newly developed shows.
The second season of House of the Dragon, which was able to finish filming during the strike since it was under a UK union contract, is eyeing a summer 2024 premiere. HBO will probably fast-track audience favourites such as Mike White’s The White Lotus, Euphoria and The Last of Us. The Last of Us and Euphoria will both probably premiere in 2025. There is no set release date for new seasons of The White Lotus.
The third season of HBO’s The White Lotus is expected to be prioritised.Credit: HBO/Binge
Netflix will be busy writing scripts for the second season of Wednesday, which could be ready by mid-to-late 2024, but no confirmed date has been announced. The fifth and final season of Stranger Things, which has already completed its scripts, will need to wrap filming before its cast are too old to convincingly play teenagers. However, it’s yet to begin filming and no release date is on the horizon.
All writing for the sixth season of The Handmaid’s Tale paused when the writers’ strike commenced, meaning it will probably not appear on screens until mid-to-late next year. The same goes for season three of Abbott Elementary, season three of Hacks, season three of Yellowjackets, and season two of Apple TV’s Severance – all of which were at various stages of early production before the strike.
Ultimately, audiences may need to prepare for a relative dearth of new viewing options for the next year or so – probably even longer for big-budget film productions – as casts, writers and studios (who are still recovering from supply chain issues and production delays due to the pandemic) attempt to catch up on months of missed work.
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