Apple TV Plus adaptation of a classic sci-fi film canned amid economic and labor uncertainty

The Apple TV+ logo floating against a rocky mountain background
(Image credit: Apple)

An Apple TV Plus project that was supposed to begin filming this summer has now been canceled.

After taking years to get to this point, Sam Esmail’s adaptation of Fritz Lang’s classic 1927 sci-fi film Metropolis will not go forward, it's been reported, with ongoing issues relating to economics and labor said to be behind the decision.

This news ends weeks of speculation and confusion and means that viewers will now miss out on what was promised to be a big Apple TV Plus release.

Striking uncertainty

Deadline reports that studio UCP confirmed that Metropolis had been canned. Push costs and uncertainty related to the ongoing strike led to this difficult decision,” a spokesperson reportedly told the outlet.

The report notes that production drafts of the scripts had not been finished before the May 2 start of the writers' strike, leaving everyone in limbo. It also meant that the setting of budgets and other aspects of the pre-production process was also halted. The result was a costly position for UCP to find itself in, it seems.

Almost 4,000 jobs were supposed to be created by the filming in Victoria, Australia.

The original film was "set in a futuristic urban dystopia and follows the attempts of Freder, the wealthy son of the city master, and Maria, a saintly figure to the workers, to overcome the vast gulf separating the classes in their city and bring the workers together with Joh Fredersen, the city master."  Apple TV Plus made the order for the series last year, but it'll now never turn into something that we can watch on our screens, it seems.

There is of course plenty to watch on Apple TV Plus in its place, and you can do that on almost anything with a display. The Apple TV 4K is perhaps the best streaming solution, but it's expensive. There are tons of Apple TV alternatives out there for people looking to save some money, too.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.