Disney+ has already one-upped Netflix in one way. Disney's new streaming service has already canceled a show before it aired, not even waiting for it to get to Season 3. Book of Enchantment, a series based on the popular book series by Serena Valentino featuring Disney's villains, will not be moving forward.
On Thursday, the day before Disney made several major Dinsey+ announcements, Deadline reported that Book of Enchantment was canceled. The pilot was written by Michael Seitzman and was set to be produced by ABC Signature Studios and Seitzman and Christina Davis' Maniac Productions. Seitzman was set to be the showrunner.
Book of Enchantment was deep into development, with a writers room working together on scripts for the past 13 weeks. According to Deadline, the decision was "creative," and linked to the "tone and direction" of the show. The decision to pull the plug was made on Wednesday.
Producers also scouted locations and pay-or-play staffing deals were already signed. Although no major casting was announced, production was expected to start in the U.K. in May 2020.
Deadline reports that Disney was concerned that Book of Enchantment was taking some of the company's beloved characters in a darker direction than what Disney wants for the Disney+ service. Disney is trying to keep it family-oriented, which is why the High Fidelity series starring Zoe Kravitz was moved to Hulu. Disney also brought in a new showrunner and made changes to High School Musical: The Musical: The Series when its producers wanted to focus on adult themes.
For Book of Enchantment, Disney was thinking about changing its creative direction to lighten the tone, with producer Jason Reed coming in to help last month. Unfortunately, when a new script came in this week and it was still too dark, Disney had enough and decided to move on instead of trying to push Seitzman in a direction he did not want to go.
Deadline also reported that Book of Enchantement's cost was a big concern. The Season 1 budget was reaching "nine figures" and Disney did not want to gamble that much on the show. More than $4 million was already spent on development.
While Disney+ is still interested in redeveloping a Book of Enchantment series for the future, Seitzman is already moving on to focus on a Hulu series based on John Grisham's novels The Rainmaker and Rogue Lawyer.
On Friday, Disney announced new shows for Disney+, mostly featuring Marvel Comics characters. Teasers for the Lady and the Tramp remake, the Star Wars series The Mandalorian and High School Musical: The Musical: The Movie were also released at D23.
Disney+ launches on Nov. 12.
Photo credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney+