Amazon's Citadel Cost $300 Million After Major Reshoots And Showrunner Firing

It's been a while since we've heard about a new bonkers streaming development, especially in a landscape that is more volatile and competitive than ever before. However, The Hollywood Reporter has landed some juicy new tidbits over in the land of Amazon's Prime Video, and dear reader, you might have to sit down for what you're about to find out. The trade has reported that the upcoming series "Citadel," executive produced by Anthony and Joe Russo, ended up costing the streamer a whopping $300 million for only six, 40-minute episodes. That's $1.25 million per minute of screentime, for those keeping score at home.

There are a couple of alleged reasons for this head-spinning budget increase. According to The Hollywood Reporter's sources, it ties back to the Russos' decision to fire the original showrunner of "Citadel," Josh Appelbaum. While the exact details of the firing are unclear, the decision was allegedly made due to costly creative differences. "We felt like it needed some more character work early to draw people into the show," said Mike Larocca, the president and co-founder of the Russos' production company AGBO. "It was that straightforward."

With an explanation like that, what we're about to say next probably won't be shocking. Once current showrunner David Weil was brought on board, an insider alleges that a "huge bunch of material" was scrapped. In its place, even more material had to be written and shot, eventually leading to that alleged $300 million price tag. Considering it was previously estimated to reach $200 million, that's a significant and potentially problematic increase.

Will it be worth it?

Of course, we don't know all of the information surrounding the development of "Citadel," and unless another bombshell report comes out, we likely never will. However, it doesn't take an industry analyst to wonder if this was worth it, especially since it is seemingly Amazon's second most-expensive show after "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power." Sure, "Citadel" is meant to be a globe-trotting, interconnected spy franchise, with two other versions of the show — to be filmed in Italy and India respectively — already in development. 

That said, it's hard to say whether the footage from its recently-released trailer looks like it justifies its alleged budget. Even major blockbusters can barely justify going over the $200 million mark in their budgets, so what makes a six-episode Prime Video show any different? According to Anthony Russo, it's apparently because, to the Russos and Prime Video, it's uncharted territory.

"We love the ability to communicate with people all over the world, and to connect people through stories," Russo explained to The Hollywood Reporter. "Amazon and [Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke] basically brought us a brand-new opportunity to do that at a scale that's never been attempted before."

We'll have to see how this attempt pans out when "Citadel" arrives on Prime Video on April 28. It is currently unknown when the two spin-offs are intended to release.