Why Was Lovecraft Country Canceled? Here's What We Know

The critically-acclaimed first season of HBO's "Lovecraft Country" received numerous awards, including 14 Emmy nominations. The Misha Green-helmed show — which focuses on a Black family in 1950s America who has run-ins with mysterious, supernatural forces — received so many accolades it seemed like a no-brainer that HBO would greenlight a second season.

In July 2021, however, HBO announced that it would not move forward with a second season, even though Green and her writing team had pitched an idea to the production company. Here's what we know about what happened.

What Would've Happened in Lovecraft Country Season 2

In July 2021, Deadline broke the news that HBO did not pick the show up for a second season. In the article, HBO had the following statement:

We will not be moving forward with a second season of 'Lovecraft Country.' We are grateful for the dedication and artistry of the gifted cast and crew, and to Misha Green, who crafted this groundbreaking series. And to the fans, thank you for joining us on this journey.

The news shocked fans, especially when Green tweeted that she had pitched an entire story for the second season. She shared some details from her season 2 show bible, including that the land formerly known as the United States of America has become the Sovereign States of America with four main areas: the Tribal Nations of the West, Whitelands, the New Negro Republic, and the Jefferson Commonwealth.

She shared the season 2 show bible's Table of Contents which revealed that it would have focused on the next generation of the Freemans and would include two Indigenous characters — Wi Sapa "Black Moon" and Xochimitl "Flowered Arrow." It also hinted at something called "The Source" and "The Origin":

Another tweet from Green expands on what one might find in the Whitelands (spoiler: it's zombies) and hints at what "The Origin" and "The Source" may be:

Why Did HBO Pass on a Second Season of Lovecraft Country?

We don't know anything for certain about why HBO passed on the second season of "Lovecraft Country." We do know, however, that the series' first season is based on Matt Ruff's book of the same name, which means Green had some source material to work off of. 

The first season of "Lovecraft Country" covered almost everything in Ruff's book, so Green would have to create subsequent seasons out of whole cloth, giving her ample creative freedom. We also know that HBO asked Green to develop a story for a second season, which Casey Bloys, Chief Content Officer of HBO and HBO Max, explained to Deadline in February 2021:

"Misha is working with a small team of writers and they're coming up with a take. She had a book to go on in the first season, she and the writers wanted to go off and take some time to go out and figure out without a book with these characters, what's the journey we want to go on. We all want to be sure she's got a story to tell. That's where she is right now, working on those ideas. I'm very hopeful, as is Misha, so we're giving them the time to work."

So why did HBO pass? 

One potential explanation is that they simply didn't connect with the story Green pitched or thought creating the world she envisioned would cost too much. That is certainly possible — the world Green created is a big swing departure from what we saw in season 1. But HBO has not shied away from big-budget productions before, so this explanation falls somewhat flat.

It's hard not to view HBO's pass as another example of the entertainment industry declining to invest in stories that focus on people of color. Several fans certainly saw it that way and with just cause. The potential silver lining, however, is that there's a chance — especially given the popularity and critical acclaim the show received — that Green can find another home for "Lovecraft Country."