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Joss Whedon explains the meaning of his new HBO series The Nevers

Contributed by
Jul 23, 2018

Joss Whedon had himself a busy Comic-Con, grabbing many a headline with his just announced Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot. But he also has another upcoming project ripe for promotion: namely his upcoming HBO series The Nevers

Having learned about the new series not even a couple weeks ago, there’s still much to be learned about Whedon’s epic Victorian Era sci-fi drama that centers around a group of women with "unusual abilities, relentless enemies and a mission that might change the world," as the initial announcement promised. 

But it really didn’t promise much more than that, story wise. Heck, we didn’t really even understand the title, but many assumed since the hyper-able Victorian women involved were described as a group, perhaps The Nevers might refer to the name of said superhero group. 

Well, Comic-Con gives folks loose lips, so unlike other promoters of HBO shows, Whedon was surprisingly loquacious about what The Nevers actually means. Of course, as the show's writer, director, executive producer, and showrunner, he likely knows just what he’s doing on the teasing end. 

Still, teased we are with this description of the phrase, as divulged to IGN, who spoke to the multi-hyphenate at Comic-Con last weekend:

“They, themselves are not called that in the show,” said Whedon. “It’s a phrase that’s meant to evoke a sort of reaction to their oddity, to what is considered unnatural. The idea that you should never be like this, you should never have existed. Something is not the way it should be, and you don’t have the right to have whatever weird power or ability … that you have.”

Which is no doubt intriguing, but knowing what we do about Whedon’s ability, particularly in the medium of television, to tell not just an entertaining story, but one with meaning – as he’s done with Buffy, Firefly, and most recently with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – perhaps the statement below is the real meat:

“And that idea, that some people are not of the natural order, is fascinating to me. I don't agree with it. But to me, it’s one of those things where you take something negative, and you wear it as a badge of honor, basically," said Whedon. "Certain things could never happen – they’re happening. And the people they’re happening to are taking their place in the world.”

And then they kick ass, presumably. Cause that’s what Whedon’s teams do, particularly the team he’s most famous for bringing to life: The Avengers

Whedon also spoke about how some of the ideas for the story came out of his announced Dark Horse comic Twist, which also was set to occur in the Victorian Era. While nothing concrete came of that (yet?), it did inspire ideas within The Nevers, said Whedon, who described himself as fascinated with that age, particularly the end of the 19th Century, just before the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. 

When Whedon realized the story could be much bigger than just the Batman-esque hero of Twist, he decided to go full Dickensian: “…where I can talk about society as a whole through a bunch of people’s interactions and through their adventures. And I just realized, oh, God, I’m gonna do it again! It’s like, I’m doing another superhero team, it’s another goddamn superhero team. There is something wrong with me, why do I do this to myself? These are really hard.”

Here's hoping all the hard work pays off and we get to see a debut date for The Nevers sooner than later.