CBC is cancelling the acclaimed supernatural TV drama Trickster after one season.
The network renewed the show, set in Kitimat, B.C., for a second season prior to the Season 1 premiere last fall. However, a CBC News investigation that raised questions around showrunner and director Michelle Latimer’s Indigenous identity has embroiled the series in controversy.
CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson also confirmed to us that the broadcaster received a notice of libel from Michelle Latimer, which their lawyers are reviewing.
In a statement, CBC said producers and execs have decided not to move forward with season two as planned after having “many conversations” about the production with stakeholders, including producers, writers, actors, and Eden Robinson, the B.C. author of the book series on which Trickster was based.
“Fully respecting everyone’s perspective, season two will not move forward as planned unfortunately,” the statement reads. “CBC is extremely proud we were able to bring this compelling story to the screen and are grateful to the many talented individuals who made it possible.
“We are as committed as ever to telling other important Indigenous stories, of which there are many. In fact, CBC currently has eight such scripted projects in development and we look forward to sharing more details about what’s next in the coming months,” the statement continues.
CBC’s statement does not reference Latimer.
In her own statement, Robinson, from the Haisla and Heiltsuk First Nations, added: “One of the best parts of 2020 was watching the young, Indigenous cast soar. The outpouring of support for the first season was magical. I’m deeply grateful that CBC and Sienna [Films] respect this situation. It gives me hope that future collaborations with Indigenous creatives can be done with care and integrity.”
Following the CBC News report in December, Latimer apologized in a Facebook post, writing that she made a mistake by claiming a connection to the community of Kitigan Zibi without formally verifying the linkage. She also said her Indigeneity claims are based on family oral history passed down from her grandfather.
Latimer resigned from Trickster, which she cowrote, coproduced, and directed. Co-showrunner Tony Elliott and consulting producer Danis Goulet also quit the show.
In an email statement, Latimer said she resigned from Trickster in hopes the show would continue.
“One of the greatest joys of my life was seeing the world of Trickster realized on screen,” she wrote. “In December, I listened to the community and stepped down from my position in the hopes that the show would continue. I was not involved in the decision that was announced today and am sad to hear that Season 2 has been cancelled.
“I am incredibly proud of the entire team that worked so hard to bring Trickster to life and I will forever be grateful to the cast and crew that poured their hearts and souls into its creation,” she added.
In December, the National Film Board of Canada pulled Latimer’s documentary Inconvenient Indian from global distribution, as well as planned screenings at the Sundance Film Festival.
Shortly after that, the Documentary Organization of Canada said Latimer agreed to return its BMO-DOC Vanguard Award, which the organization presented to her in December.
With files from Radheyan Simonpillai