Now Disney Plus is canceling TV shows before they're even released – and that's not good

A screenshot of the logo for The Spiderwick Chronicles TV show
Disney isn't moving forward with its Spiderwick Chronicles TV adaptation. (Image credit: Paramount Television Studios/Disney Plus)

Two more Disney Plus shows have been unceremoniously canceled – and, this time, they've been shelved before they were even released.

Per Deadline, Disney's TV adaptation of The Spiderwick Chronicles book series, which was due to debut on Disney Plus, has been canned by the entertainment behemoth. In a separate article, Deadline also reported that Disney's live-action Nautilus series has also been consigned to the scrap heap. The Captain Nemo-starring TV show was also due to be released on Disney's primary streaming platform.

This isn't the first time Disney has canceled TV shows for Disney Plus and sister streamer Hulu. In May, we revealed your Disney Plus and Hulu TV libraries were about to get much smaller, with the likes of Willow, Pistol, and Y: The Last Man departing the platforms. A month later, we also reported on the likelihood that more Disney Plus and Hulu originals would be removed in the coming months.

The cancellations of Nautilus and The Spiderwick Chronicles before they've even had a chance to see the light of day, though, represents a new low. Filming had already wrapped on each show, with principal photography ending on the pair in January. Unlike numerous other Disney Plus TV originals, however, the duo won't even have the privilege of launching on the platform they were originally intended for.

It's possible that the two TV series could find a home on another of the world's best streaming services. Deadline claims Paramount Television Studios, which co-produced The Spiderwick Chronicles, is shopping the TV adaptation around. Really, though, there's no reason it can't just release the series on Paramount Plus, i.e. its parent company's streaming platform. As for Nautilus, Disney is believed to be working with its production team to find it an alternative streamer to air on, with meetings underway with interested parties.

A money-saving content purge, but at what cost?

The main cast of Disney Plus' Crater movie look in awe at something off camera

Crater was dumped by Disney Plus just two months after release. (Image credit: Walt Disney Studios)

As mentioned above, this won't be the end of Disney purging content from its two streaming services.

Earlier in 2023, Disney revealed it was looking to save $3 billion on non-sports content in a bid to stop hemorrhaging cash. Part of its money-saving strategy involves removing movies and TV shows that aren't cost-effective from its streaming platforms. For instance, Disney Plus removed original movie Crater in record-breaking time in early July, even though it was only released on the service in May. If further proof was required about how serious Disney is about cutting underperforming and/or costly content from either streamer, this was all the evidence you'd need. Disney also recently announced it was raising the price of Disney Plus and Hulu, and was looking into the possibility of introducing its own password sharing crackdown plan, which streaming rival Netflix successfully implemented earlier this year.

With Disney beginning to cancel shows before they're even released, though, it begs the question: what does the future hold for similar movies and TV series, especially ones that aren't part of popular franchises such as Marvel or Star Wars?

Currently, we don't know, but it doesn't bode well for the forthcoming releases of non-Disney produced content that's due out on Hulu or Disney Plus soon. Development on the upcoming Goosebumps TV adaptation, for example, is led by Sony Pictures Television. Will this, and others like it, also be up for the chopping block? It's certainly possible. In short: don't be surprised if this isn't the last Disney Plus/Hulu cancellation-centric article you see from us.

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Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across. Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.