When Hulu announced the abrupt cancellation of The Great after just three seasons, fans and critics alike were shocked and dismayed. The award-winning historical satire/drama about the rise of Russian Empress Catherine the Great, starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult, had garnered widespread praise and a loyal following.
Its uniquely witty take on this fascinating period of history still had so much more ground to cover. Showrunner Tony McNamara had envisioned a six-season arc to fully realize Catherine’s story, making the early axe all the more disappointing.
The first two seasons charted Catherine’s tumultuous relationship and power struggle with her deranged husband, Peter III, played to dimwitted perfection by Hoult. As she sought to overthrow his rule and usher in a new enlightened era for Russia, the show reveled in absurd comedy while underscoring the high stakes of Catherine’s rebellious coup.
By the Season 2 finale, Catherine finally ascended Russia’s throne. Then Season 3 picked up years later, depicting a more seasoned Catherine navigating domestic and foreign affairs solo.
The Great Season 4 Release Date
Peter was conspicuously absent, allowing the focus to shift to Catherine standing firmly in her authority and vision. Such a pivot opened the door for all manners of potential new story angles – the next phase of challenges facing Catherine’s reign, the evolution of supporting characters like Marial, Leo, and Grigor, and more expansions on Catherine’s emotional inner world post-Peter. Not to mention lively court hijinks with the always eccentric Russian nobility.
While Season 3 dove into juicy new territory, so many narrative threads still dangled. Will Catherine’s progressive policies prevail against deeply entrenched systems? Can she avoid the pitfalls of absolute power? Will simmering tensions with other nations erupt into full-blown war? So much room existed to trace Catherine’s shifting alliances, romances, rivalries, successes, potential downfalls.
And that’s without even considering possible flashbacks with Hoult’s calculating and peculiar Peter III. Such glimpses could have fueled insights into what shaped Peter and Catherine’s psyches.
|Elle Fanning, Nicholas Hoult
|No. of seasons
|No. of episodes
|May 15, 2020 – present
The Great Season 4 Cast and Characters
Alas, The Great’s unceremonious demise leaves fans with merely conjecture about trajectories cut short too abruptly. Perhaps Catherine would have become the unwitting architect of her own isolation.
Maybe new threats would ignite around false rumors questioning Paul’s paternity. Could ill-advised foreign conquests have triggered unrest and rebellion from the masses? The show could have gone in countless directions tracking the later years of Catherine’s 34-year reign.
Of course, no TV series, even of this caliber, deserves surviving purely due to audience wishes. Yet everything about “The Great” – its vision, writing, acting, directing, production design – indicated a show still firing on all cylinders with ample powder left to keep blazing forward.
Which again begs the nagging question: why did Hulu prematurely eject a show so clearly overflowing with artistic merit and cultural impact? No definitive explanations have emerged, despite raging viewer and critic demands for such closure. This radio silence compounds feelings of outrage and loss, especially with “The Great’s” fourth season already outlined and so cathartically needed in these stressful times.
The Great Season 4 Plot Details
Perhaps dwelling on roads not taken grows increasingly futile. Diehard fans can take some solace in rewatching already created episodes, mining for Easter eggs that might hint at intended future scenarios. Fanfiction and podcasts about imagined extra seasons could also help fill the void.
But neither quite makes up for losing a show that had shaped into a touchstone for challenging norms about depicting history. For better or worse, audiences must make peace with the stunning finality of “The Great’s” great run cut devastatingly short.
The story of the promising early days of Catherine’s rule concludes abruptly, leaving only about the glory – or chaos or compromise – that could have materialized had she reigned on screens a while longer.
The Great Season 4 Storyline Details
The abrupt cancellation of “The Great” left fans bereft of a journey they felt connected to on such a personal level. Beyond the show’s critical achievement as a genre-bending historical drama, it provided a profound source of inspiration and catharsis. Losing this series severed a lifeline to bold creativity and feminine empowerment epitomized by Catherine’s arc.
Leading lady Elle Fanning herself expressed disappointment over not getting to further develop Catherine’s character into the legendary ruler she becomes. Having shed the toxic influence of Peter by the Season 3 finale, the stage was set for a monumental personal evolution in Season 4. No longer weighed down by her manipulative marriage, Catherine could fully step into her confidence and visionary leadership.
Fanning imagined an emotionally liberated Catherine more seamlessly merging her inherent idealism with the pragmatic decisions required as Empress of Russia. Perhaps motherhood would have awakened even fiercer protective instincts in Catherine, fueling her crusade for a more just realm. Maybe with the pedestal of perfection removed, Catherine would reconcile with the totality of who she is – flaws, doubts and all.
Will There Be a Great Season 4?
This cathartic Catherine character arc intersected profoundly with fans’ aspirations today. Her story provided the rare mainstream portrait of an intelligent, driven woman bucking gender barriers and prevailing through sheer determination. Losing Catherine so abruptly left devotees bereft of an icon they saw themselves in. Especially after worldwide regressions for women’s rights in recent years, Catherine’s inspiring feminist journey feels sorely lacking.
Of course, no TV drama alone counterbalances such sweeping political backslides. But for those clinging to hope amid demoralizing attacks on female autonomy, Catherine the Great represented more than just entertainment escapism. She personified the possibility to not only endure in the face of misogyny’s grip, but to actually overcome and thrive. The future envisioned for her in Season 4 could have shown women rising resiliently above trauma to reach their highest potential.
Why Did “The Great” Get Canceled?
Alas, audiences are left without this salve as gender equality keeps plummeting globally. Perhaps pouring one’s energy into fighting real-world erosion of women’s rights ultimately proves more constructive than lamenting a cancelled TV series. Still, losing the megaphone of a hit prestige show cuts deep for those relying on Catherine as their north star through dark times.
At least fans can take solace in the barrier-breaking legacy “The Great” leaves behind. This audacious drama took a sledgehammer to entrenched norms about depicting history on television. Far from staid costumes dramas, “The Great” made the brave choice to sacrifice pure accuracy for emotional truth and thematic resonance. This liberated the creators to imagine rich internal lives for their historical protagonists. It allowed for anachronistic modern voice instead of artificial formality.
Will There Be Another Season of “The Great”?
The show took flights of fancy without undermining characters’ essence or the broader context of the era. Lusty, vulgar, brilliantly funny dialogue existed right alongside poignant insights into the human condition. Every casting choice and soundtrack selection amplified the humanity pulsing through these historic figures. This crafted an astonishingly vivid tableau of the past imbued with immediacy.
So even though fans feel abandoned by Catherine the Great’s abrupt departure from their screens, perhaps her spirit can live on as creative inspiration. The hunger for more of her fictionalized story is testament to the power of visionary historical interpretation.
Let the grief over losing this special series give way to making more art like it – remixing the past not to mock it, but to bridge eras through genuine emotion. Catherine may be gone, but the spark of revolution “The Great” ignited around reimagining historical figures needs keeping alive. Whether in films, novels, plays or other artistic mediums, let her legacy of representation and resistance roar on for ages to come.
Frequently Asked Question
Q: Why was “The Great” canceled?
A: Hulu has not provided specific reasons for the cancellation of “The Great” after its third season.
Q: Was Season 4 of “The Great” planned?
A: Yes, the showrunners initially planned for a six-season storyline, indicating more content for Season 4 and beyond.
Q: What made “The Great” unique?
A: Its blend of historical facts with satirical fiction, along with strong performances and witty writing, made it stand out.
— The Great (@TheGreatHulu) April 13, 2023