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The Big Reason Y: The Last Man Was Reportedly Cancelled By FX On Hulu

Diane Lane as the president in Y: The Last Man screenshot
(Image credit: FX on Hulu)

Fans waited for years to see the popular comic series Y: The Last Man adapted for the small screen. The FX on Hulu drama follows Yorick Brown (played by Ben Schnetzer) in a post-apocalyptic world after all animals with a Y chromosome died simultaneously — save for Yorick and his monkey, Ampersand. Fans’ loyalty to Brian K. Vaughan’s comic series and the number of hurdles it had to overcome to finally make it to television made it all the more surprising when FX on Hulu announced Y: The Last Man’s cancellation before the end of its ten-episode first season.

It’s a rare move for FX to cancel a series, especially while the show is still airing. A more common procedure for the network would be to announce when a series has reached its final season. It was a labor of love to get Y: The Last Man to viewers in the first place. The adaptation of the comic underwent a change in showrunners, a recasting of the lead role and the COVID pandemic, all of which seem to have ultimately played a part in the series’ early demise. Time reportedly ran out in one key way.

THR reported that FX was up against an October 15 deadline to decide whether or not to again extend the contracts of its actors. Series stars like Diane Lane and Amber Tamblyn had already been signed on for years, as the pilot was originally ordered in 2018 with Lane and Barry Keoghan in the leading roles. But in 2019, showrunners Michael Green and Aida Coral left the project, citing creative differences, and were replaced by Eliza Clark. Keoghan was recast with Ben Schnetzer to play Yorick. 

By the time production was delayed again by COVID in 2020, FX had already extended the contracts of many of the actors multiple times, apparently making the network wary of extending their options once more before the first season of Y: The Last Man played out in full on FX on Hulu. 

Adding to that dilemma was reportedly that FX likely didn’t have the metrics on the series’ popularity to help them weigh their decision. Like most streaming services, Hulu doesn’t release its ratings data, and without the benefit of time to let the first season play out, they chose to cancel.

The reaction of the cast and crew, however, has been hopeful, as — in another rare move — FX is supporting the producers’ efforts to shop Y: The Last Man to other networks. Could HBO Max be a landing spot for Y: The Last Man’s second season (and maybe more)? There is a connection there, as Vertigo — an imprint of DC Comics — previously published the Y: The Last Man comic series. DC Comics and HBO Max are both owned by WarnerMedia.

It was no doubt shattering news for fans of Y: The Last Man to have waited so many years to see the comic series on screen, only to have it cancelled mid-season. But there seems to be hope, as all agree there is a story left to be told. Y: The Last Man is available for streaming on Hulu, with new episodes coming on Mondays through November 1. Be sure to check out our 2021 Fall TV Schedule to keep up with the latest premiere dates.

Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.