Amazon’s The Man In The High Castle is in need of a new showrunner.
According to Deadline, Frank Spotnitz (Strike Back, The X-Files) has stepped down as showrunner of the streaming service’s alternate history series, but will remain on as an executive producer. Spotnitz’s decision came out-of-nowhere it seems, as production on the second season of The Man In The High Castle has had to shut down.
Spotnitz’s decision to leave is surprising for a couple of reasons. Earlier this year, Spotnitz was discussing what concepts season 2 might explore. In an interview with Den of Geek he said, “There are glimpses of what’s going on with the rest of the planet in the first season. There are so many issues to explore and it is science fiction so the reason to tell the story is to reflect back on the world we live in right now.” On top of that, just over a week ago on May 11th, Spotnitz’s Big Light Productions sent out a tweet sharing their excitement about the start of production design for season 2’s shoot in Vancouver.
Even though he is ostensibly leaving The Man In The High Castle, it doesn’t mean Spotnitz is going to take a break from TV. He is working on a series alongside Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) titled Medici: Masters of Florence. The series centers on the Medicis and the power struggles of Renaissance Italy that plague the famous family. It stars Dustin Hoffman, Guido Caprino, Tatjana Nardone, Annabel Scholey, Richard Madden and Stuart Martin. The series is being shopped around by Wild Bunch TV.
In response to Spotnitz’s departure Amazon released a statement saying, “Given the ambition and scope of the series, the decision has been made to locate all creative efforts on The Man In The High Castle to the west coast; Frank Spotnitz will remain as an executive producer and step back from showrunner. His responsibilities will be managed by our deep and talented bench of producers. We are enormously grateful to him for bringing out customers on one of the most watched original shows on Amazon Video and we are excited about the team’s visions for season two.”
The first season of the Amazon original series, which broke Amazon Video’s streaming record for original programming viewership, was made available on November 20th, 2015. It was promptly renewed for a second season by Amazon just under a month later.
The Man In The High Castle, based on the 1962 Philip K. Dick novel, takes a look at an alternate history in which the Axis powers won WWII. It stars Luke Kleintank, Arnold Chun, Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans, Rufus Sewell, Joel de la Fuente, Lee Shorten, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa and DJ Qualls. It is executive produced by Spotnitz, Isa Dick Hackett, David Zucker and Ridley Scott.