Freddie Highmore as Jared Grace in The Spiderwick Chronicles

Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers/YouTube

Disney+ criticized for dropping completed ‘Spiderwick Chronicles’ TV series without airing it

‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ already finished filming, but Disney decided to drop it as a cost-cutting measure.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Previously adapted into a film in 2008, The Spiderwick Chronicles is a beloved series of children’s fantasy novels. It’s the kind of franchise where a new adaptation will appeal to both kids and nostalgic adults. So people were shocked to hear that Disney+ has unceremoniously dropped the new Spiderwick TV series.

The eight-episode series stars Christian Slater and Jack Dylan Glazer, and has already wrapped filming. However, it won’t air on Disney+ as planned. This decision is reportedly part of a cost-cutting strategy, similar to the way streaming services remove shows and movies for tax purposes.

Alongside Spiderwick, Disney+ also dropped Nautilus, a big-budget reimagining of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

These shows will now be shopped around to other buyers, so fans will hopefully get to see The Spiderwick Chronicles elsewhere. However, the cancellation news still attracted a lot of criticism. Not just from people decrying Disney’s cost-cutting methods, but because Spiderwick stars a cast of child actors whose breakout roles now hang in the balance.

There’s a lot of sympathy out there for the show’s cast and crew, particularly in light of the current Hollywood strikes. Among other issues, actors and writers are campaigning for better residual payments on streaming projects, in line with the payment format for traditional TV. Meanwhile when streamers remove shows and movies as a “cost-cutting measure,” they directly avoid paying residuals to the creative team.

Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, the writer and artist behind the Spiderwick books, both expressed hope that the show would find a home elsewhere. “This Disney math just doesn’t add up,” added DiTerlizzi.

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