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James Marsden Slams Hollywood's Focus On 'Financial Success' After Cancellation Of 'Westworld'

The actor starred in the first 2 seasons—as well as season 4—of the hit HBO show before it was given the axe.

James Marsden
Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic/Gettyimages

James Marsden opened up about his disappointment over the cancellation of HBO's Westworld before the show's creators were able to give it proper closure.

HBO announced Westworld's cancellation after the fourth season in November in addition to removing the sci-fi series based on writer Michael Crichton's 1973 film of the same name from HBO Max's lineup of shows.

Marsden debuted his character Teddy in the pilot in October 2016 and played the role for two seasons and again in the fourth season.

Although creators envisioned telling the story in five seasons, HBO pulled the plug after a steep ratings decline.

The Enchanted actor told Rolling Stone in an interview:

“I’d be lying to you if I told you that the way we ended Westworld wasn’t a disappointment."
“I’m never going to speak without gratitude about any of my experiences, but it would have been nice to be able to complete the story we wanted to finish."

He continued:

"I love this Westworld family."
"It was one of those unique opportunities to be part of something where I also would be sitting at home ravenously waiting for the next episode as a fan.”

Marsden explained how HBO's decision came down to money.

Westworld's production cost for the first season alone was about $100 million, a price tag even executive producer J.J. Abrams described as "preposterous" ahead of the show's premiere.

The Hollywood Reporter estimated viewership for Westworld went from 12 million viewers in its first season to 4 million by its fourth.

The veteran actor is fully cognizant of a series' survival depending on audience demand, but it doesn't mean he's okay with it.

“I totally understand it’s an expensive show, and big shows have to have big audiences to merit the expense."
"I just wish it was about more than financial success. But who knows—maybe there’s some world where it can get completed somehow."
"Maybe that’s just wishful thinking because I know we had plans to finish it the way we wanted to.”

Some fans weren't shocked by the show's untimely demise.

The show seemed to lose audiences' interest after the second season.

That being said, fans really wanted closure.

Westworld was created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy for HBO.

The 1973 original screenplay of the same name was penned by Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton, who also directed the film starring Yul Brynner.

The premise was about an interactive amusement park with lifelike androids that turned out to be sentient and went rogue by attacking guests.

Along with Marsden, the HBO series also co-starred Evan Rachel Wood, Thandiwe Newton, Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Wright, Tessa Thompson, Ed Harris, and Aaron Paul.

While HBO's Westworld is no more, it could inspire a film based on the TV series to give it the proper sendoff it deserves for fans and everyone involved in the production.