According to Variety, Netflix has announced that Baz Luhrman’s 1970s hip-hop drama The Get Down will not be returning. Although Baz Luhrmann suggested in an interview with Vulture earlier this year that a second season was in development, it seems that Netflix felt the show was not worth renewing. The first season was released in two parts, with six episodes of the series being released in August, and the last five episodes dropping in April. The Get Down was created by actor-writer Stephen Adly Guirgis and Luhrmann.
Luhrmann reacted to the cancelation with an extensive post on his Facebook page, citing that his commitment to other projects played a role in Netflix’s decision. He did provide hope for fans by suggesting future plans for a stage musical or concert version.
Luhrmann said in his Facebook post:
The cast of this show is unique and exceptional. Apart from our stellar veteran actors, I can’t tell you how privileged we all felt to have found such young, new talents, many of whom are now starring in motion pictures, creating music, and taking tremendous strides in their careers… [we] felt the profound privilege to have been embraced by the borough of The Bronx and the Hip-Hop community at large. But most especially by the forefathers of Hip-Hop… that made this story possible… We experienced things together that I will never forget. All of us in ‘The Get Down’ family have been touched by this precious mission of telling the pre-history of a form of culture that would go on to change not only the city, but the world… the spirit of ‘The Get Down’, and the story it has begun to tell… it has its own life. One that lives on today and will continue to be told somewhere, somehow, because of you, the fans and the supporters.
The series, which focused on a group of teenagers involved in the origins of hip-hop in the Bronx in the 1970s, seemed to be destined for greatness, boasting an all-star cast that included Daveed Diggs (Hamilton), Jaden Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness), Renee Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton) and Justice Smith (Paper Towns). But producing the series certainly was not cheap. The Get Down was so expensive that it was in a three-way tie for the 2nd largest budget in TV history, with a cost of $10 million an episode (Friends and Game of Thrones are the other two series tied for second, with ER claiming first at a cost of 13 million per episode). The series also had trouble early on in development and pre-production keeping showrunners and writers, switching them in and out and only costing more money.
During the show’s production, Luhrmann seemed to have been fully dedicated to the series, with no other projects on the horizon. According to an interview with Indiewire in August 2016, during the development and pre-production, Luhrman reached out to many African-Americans who had grown up in the Bronx, and allegedly filled his own office with pictures and memorabilia from the 1970s NYC.
Luhrmann said in the interview with Indiewire:
I just felt this was the story that needed to be told, and I felt it had value now… I usually brought everyone to my space because I wanted them to see everything I’ve accumulated… I mean, I think I have the biggest digital databank of pictures and information [on the era]… I wanted to answer the question, ‘Where did this brand new idea come from?’ And it came from active imaginations on a landscape that was devastated. From those who had so little, so much imagination sprang forth.
Hopefully Luhrmann feels he told the story he needed to tell, because it seems that he won’t have a chance to expand on that story.