OPINION: What’s Happening With Wynonna Earp?

To say that Wynonna Earp is a fan favorite series is an understatement.  Whether it's Twitter trends or the People's Choice Awards, Earpers have a reputation for always showing up to support the show, the cast and pretty much anyone responsible for the thing that they love.  With 4th Season already ordered by Syfy, you would think that would be a guarantee of more.  So, why hasn't the show begun production yet?  Why was Emily Andras so upset about someone messing with her Earp family?

It seems that #FightForWynonna might be trending for a reason.  As fans started getting worried, and the social media chatter began among Earpers, comes this tweet from IDW Entertainment, who is in charge of production on the series:

It should be noted, that this was IDW Entertainment's first tweet since August 27, 2017.  Just in case anyone's wondering, the last episode of Wynonna Earp aired on Syfy on September 28, 2018, a full year after that previous tweet. Speaking of Syfy, they released a statement to multiple outlets saying, "Syfy ordered Season 4 of Wynonna Earp from IDW and is completely committed to the series. This has not changed."  So if everyone seems so committed, what's going on here?

In a report by Deadline, production has been delayed by IDW over financial concerns.  They go on to report that Syfy would also like to have a 5th Season of Wynonna, but have not announced such intentions officially.  You may have read some of this stuff already, and have opinions on who is to blame here, but I have some insight of my own on this.

Before I start, I want to say that there are great and passionate people at both Syfy and IDW who believe strongly in the properties that they work on.  I love working with both of them.  Our podcast was on the Wynonna Earp train pretty early on, and have done several interviews and reviews since the show began.  During the first season, a source who I will not name from told me that IDW was doing the lion's share of the work in promoting the first season of the show with little support from Syfy.  That all changed in Season 2 once the show began to gather a following and drawing more attention.  I was given the impression that the relationship between the two wasn't necessarily bad, but Syfy clearly wanted to do the heavy lifting from then on.  I'd say Syfy has done a very good job, as did IDW with the first season.  The reason I bring this up is my point from earlier, and the fact that IDW Entertainment hasn't exactly been active on Twitter lately.  They have been equally as inactive on Facebook, last posting about the V-Wars adaptation coming to Netflix.  Just before releasing their statement, they did unveil a new IDW Entertainment logo, which is interesting.  So what are the options here?

It's my understanding that IDW is contractually obligated to deliver at least one more season to Syfy, who licenses the show from them.  So fans that are worried about the story only continuing in the comics (which are great by the way), shouldn't have to worry about that.  We will be getting a 4th season of Wynonna Earp, but in what form?  The previous season of the show gave us 12 episodes, which is pretty standard for a Syfy series.  By comparison, Season 1 of Happy! had 8 episodes and Nightflyers (now cancelled) got 10.  If production costs really are putting a strain on IDW, we could see a reduction in episodes for the upcoming season.  I see a scenario in which we get an 8 episode season, but there is one other possibility.

If IDW is obligated to deliver 12 or 13 episodes, we may indeed get both a 4th and 5th season.  I could see a scenario in which Season 4 would be 6 episodes, followed by a 6 episode Season 5 with a 2 hour series finale.  Again, this is all my opinion and I have not gotten any word on these scenarios.  I also wouldn't be surprised to see the effects budget be reduced a bit.  It doesn't seem like IDW is in much of a position to re-negotiate licensing fees with IDW to help their financial woes.  I also can't imagine them giving up even a piece of the rights to secure more funding.

Fans are right to be concerned, but think about what has made Wynonna Earp so popular.  It really has nothing to do with CG or major special effects.  It's the characters, their relationships and the stories being told within.  It's the love that they show to the LGBTQ community and their commitment to representation.  It's the fact that the cast and creators are just as passionate about the show as the fans who watch it.  There is even an EarperCon!  If the production budget was cut, would that really be so terrible?  You could still give us plenty of supernatural baddies with practical effects.  It's not free, and it's time consuming, but is the kind of commitment that one could make the keep the show going.  I don't see things getting to the point of crowdfunding, but I know Earpers would be there if it did.

Remember when Chuck, the Zachary Levi led show from NBC, was in similar trouble?  They ended up landing Subway as a sponsor, thus helping the show continue.  What if Wynonna Earp did something similar?  While I don't think we'll be parking a Wendy's in Purgatory, there certainly are options.  What about Ford or Chevrolet?  Couldn't the characters drive one of those vehicles and make mention of that fact here and there?  Certainly there are any number of beer and alcohol sponsors that could be used, but there may be some legalities there to hold things up.  One thing that I would do, if I were both Earpers and IDW, is to think about who would be a good option as a sponsor and start trying to get their attention.  I'm sure someone would be able to come up with a perfect idea that seems to escape me at the moment.

Bottom line here is, I don't think there is anyone involved here that doesn't want this show to keep going.  My hope is that Syfy and IDW Entertainment are able to cooperate, play nice and come up with a solution that benefits everyone involved.  I'm not sure what could possibly be gained by anyone by ending the show prematurely.  Releasing statements and tweeting out words of hope are great, but Earpers want to see action sooner rather than later.  Lack of such action also makes the delays on production longer, and thus keeping the show from airing in it's usual summer/early fall window.  If we get any updates, we will be sure to pass them along.

(Photo by: Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp 
Productions, Inc./Syfy)

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