Y: The Last Man comic book cover art

It is actually quite fitting that we would receive the most promising news regarding the long-awaited adaptation of Y: The Last Man in the midst of a global pandemic. The post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller, an upcoming FX on Hulu exclusive series, follows the young Yorick Brown and his pet Capuchin monkey, Ampersand, who have mysteriously become the sole survivors of a plague that has eradicated all other male creatures on Earth.

The show is inspired by the award-winning, 60-issue comic book series from writer Brian K. Vaughn and artist Pia Guerra which was published by DC Comics’ now defunct Vertigo imprint from September 2002 to March 2008. The adaptation is finally closer to becoming a reality than ever before and is said to premiere sometime in 2021. However, bringing the world of Y: The Last Man to the screen has been, like its central character’s story, a long and arduous journey.

For those who are just hearing about any of this, need a refresher on the events, or even to just feel more appreciative of the fact that this highly anticipated series is actually very close for once, we take a dive into the who, what, and when of the process, leading up to its most recent updates. The following is a quick and comprehensive breakdown of the history of the Y: The Last Man adaptation, starting at the very beginning.

Cover art for Y: The Last Man

New Line Cinema Announced A Y: The Last Man Movie In 2007

Before the comic book series had even released its final issue, Hollywood already had its eyes on Y: The Last Man, with New Line Cinema acquiring the rights to adapt it into a feature film in mid-2007. Filming was projected to begin the following year, after Carl Ellsworth was hired to rewrite previous drafts by I, Robot scribe Jeff Vintar and original creator Brian K. Vaughn, along with director D.J. Caruso, producer David S. Goyer (of Blade and Batman Begins fame), and Caruso’s Disturbia star Shia LaBeouf in talks to play the lead. Of course, none of this would come to fruition.

Ampersand from Y: The Last Man

Y: The Last Man Faced Its Last Chance In 2014

Shia LaBeouf seemed to feel that Yorick Brown was too similar to his Transformers character in 2009. D.J. Caruso revealed the following year that New Line’s refusal to make Y: The Last Man a trilogy led to his exit, and former Jericho writers Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia were brought on for a new draft in 2012. Things looked more promising when future 10 Cloverfield Lane helmer Dan Trachtenberg was attached to direct in 2013, but the following January, Brian K. Vaughn stated the rights would revert back to him and Pia Guerra if shooting did not begin within months. As it turns out, in September 2014, that is exactly what ultimately killed the story’s chances of hitting the big screen.

FX Network Logo

In 2015, FX Announced The Development Of The Y: The Last Man TV Series

Louis Leterrier, director of The Transporter and 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, had actually expressed interest in adapting Y: The Last Man for television while the movie was still in development. Seemingly, Brian K. Vaughn agreed, and teamed with producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson to develop his comic into a series for FX in October 2015 with future American Gods co-creator Michael Green (known then for Smallville and Heroes) on board as showrunner by fall of 2016. The network officially ordered the pilot (then just referred to as Y), enlisted Jessica Jones and Luke Cage writer Aida Mashaka Croal as co-showrunner, and hired Emmy-nominee Melina Matzoukas to direct in 2018 - the last the year in which the project seemed to be running smoothly.

Ampersand and Yorick from Y: The Last Man

Y: The Last Man Replaced Its Original Showrunners In June 2019

Production of the pilot began in August 2018 after The Killing of a Sacred Deer star Barry Keoghan was confirmed to play Yorick, along with Diane Lane as his senator mother, Imogen Poots as his sister Hero, and Lashanna Lynch as Agent 355. However, FX put out an official series order for Y: The Last Man (again, still called Y at this time) in February 2019, and Michael Green and Aida Mashaka Croal left their showrunner positions two months later, citing creative differences. Eliza Clark, writer for The Killing and Animal Kingdom, has overseen the series since mid-2019, but that would not be the last of the project’s behind-the-scenes replacements.

Barry Keoghan in The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Barry Keoghan Exited The Lead Of Y: The Last Man In February 2020

Later in 2019, Katie (famous for playing Marcel on Friends) was cast on Y: The Last Man as Ampersand, Yorick’s Capuchin companion, but Katie would soon lose her Yorick. The lead part was reported as being recast in February 2020, leading to Warcraft’s Ben Schnetzer taking over the role later that month, followed by news of Barry Keoghan’s role in Marvel’s Eternals in March. This was just one of the replacements in the series’ cast that year, including Hero (now played by Olivia Thirlby), Agent 355 (Ashley Romans of NOS4A2 fame) and Oscar-nominee Timothy Hutton’s presidential role recast by Canadian actor Paul Gross.

Preview image of Y: The Last Man

Y: The Last Man Began Filming In October 2020

After more than a decade of multiple circumstances of arrested development (including Covid-19, of course), the screen adaptation of Y: The Last Man officially went into production last fall. The following winter, FX confirmed that the series was going by its full, original title again by releasing its title art. While there is still no word on exactly when the show will premiere on Hulu’s exclusive FX line-up, if things continue to (finally) go as planned, we may be able to stream the series in 2021.

What do you think? Does a 2021 release sound promising, or do you think this series is destined to remain in development hell, leaving audiences with no choice but to just read the damn books? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for additional information about Y: The Last Man, as well as even more updates on the production of your most anticipated movies and TV shows, here on CinemaBlend.

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