TV

Trickster Cancelled in Wake of Indigenous Controversy

Canadian broadcaster CBC has pulled the plug on a planned second season of Trickster in the wake of last month’s revelation that co-creator and director Michelle Latimer is not Indigenous, as she has claimed for the past two decades.

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The drama, Season 1 of which is currently airing stateside on The CW (the finale airs Feb. 16), centers on an indigenous teen (Joel Oulette) who begins to see strange, otherworldly things — talking ravens, doppelgängers and skin monsters, to name a few! — as he struggles to keep his family above water.

“We have had many conversations over the last few weeks with a view to continuing production on a second season of Trickster,” a CBC rep said in a statement. “Those conversations included producers, writers, actors, and the author of the books on which Trickster is based. Fully respecting everyone’s perspective, season two will not move forward as planned unfortunately.

“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,” the statement continues. “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.”

Added Trickster author Eden Robinson: “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 respect this situation. It gives me hope that future collaborations with Indigenous creatives can be done with care and integrity.”

Latimer, meanwhile, said in a statement to Variety, “One of the greatest joys of my life was seeing the world of Trickster realized on screen. In December, I 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.”

In December, Latimer addressed the scrutiny regarding her identity. “I know that when questions like these are raised, it hurts our entire community and undermines the years of hard work that so many have contributed towards raising Indigenous voices,” she wrote in message posted on Facebook. “I take responsibility for the strain this conversation is having on the people who have supported me, and I apologize as well for any negative impact on my peers in the Indigenous filmmaking community.”

Several Trickster producers resigned in the immediate aftermath of the controversy, while Robinson confessed to being “so embarrassed” by the scandal, adding at the time, “I feel like such a dupe. I don’t know how to deal with the anger, disappointment and stress. As wretched as this moment is, I’d rather know the truth.”

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