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Why has Disney+ pulled The Spiderwick Chronicles without even airing it?

The show will apparently be offered to other outlets

The Spiderwick Chronicles
Image credit: Simon & Shuster

The Walt Disney Company’s refocusing of Disney+ has claimed another victim — but unlike earlier casualties like Willow, Earth to Ned, and The Mysterious Benedict Society, the latest show to be cancelled by the streaming service didn’t even make it to the screen in the first place. The Spiderwick Chronicles, an eight-episode adaptation of the fan-favorite kids’ fantasy prose series, has been killed by the streamer without ever debuting, despite the show having been entirely completed.

The show, officially announced by Disney back in November 2021, had finished shooting in January, with the main cast including Christian Slater, Lyon Daniels, Noah Cottrell, and Shazam!’s Jack Dylan Grazer. The series was a co-production from Paramount Television Studios and the Disney-owned 20th Television, with former Heroes and Locke & Key writer Aron Eli Coleite acting as writer and showrunner.

According to Deadline, which broke the story of the show’s cancellation, the series is being shopped around other outlets by Paramount.

The Spiderwick Chronicles’ fate may have been the result of the fact that the property isn’t owned by Disney or one of its subsidiaries; the original books by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, has been published in the U.S. by Simon & Shuster since its 2003 debut. The Deadline report suggests that Disney Branded Television, the division responsible for providing Disney+ with the majority of its non-Marvel, non-Star Wars, and non-National Geographic programming, will be focusing on primarily Disney owned or controlled properties going forward in in attempt to maximize profits.

This doesn’t mean the end of all non-Disney owned properties at the streamer — Doctor Who is still scheduled to launch on the platform outside the UK later this year — but moving forward, it looks as if Disney’s attempts to rethink Disney+ are going to mean that the platform is going to look like a smaller world after all for quite some time.

Disney+’s focus shift also includes physical releases for some of its biggest, previously “exclusive” material.