The Deadwood films are dead. HBO hasn’t said it and they never will. But it’s official. In an interview with Cinematic, Ian McShane confirmed the set was being packed up and his future film commitments would preclude his ability to shoot the movie.
In retrospect, one’s left to wonder if the abrupt end can tarnish the legacy of one of the greatest television shows of all time. The answer, in a word, is no. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the series finale of Deadwood provides more closure than that of The Sopranos.
The final scene of Deadwood, with Swearengen scrubbing the floor, cleaning the blood of an innocent prostitute murdered to placate Hearst (capitalism in its most brutal form), uttering the series’ finale sentence, “Wants me to tell him something pretty,” is beautifully symbolic.
There was no happy ending. There was no final battle. The town paid and paid dearly to survive the onslaught of Hearst. Elsworth was murdered, Swearengen lost a finger, Alma was forced to sell her claim and Bullock was unmanned. But Deadwood survived. With annexation and elections, it became a civilized town. And with one blood stain, George Hearst showed the social order of capitalism to be no less bloody than a town without law.
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