Will Graham gave a passionate response to season two’s cancellation
BY ELLA GAUCI, IMAGE BY AMAZON PRIME
Earlier this week we learnt the devastating news that Amazon Prime had taken back its promise to renew A League Of Their Own for a season two. As yet another queer-favourite show hit the chopping board, fans everywhere were rightly outraged. So often we see these amazing depictions of queer life ripped away from us after one series.
Co-creator Will Graham took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to give a candidly honest, raw statement about the situation.
“A very long thread: To the League fans, We found out this news along with you on Friday. I see the pain and anger and worry out there, which for the LGBTQIA+ fans of the show is of course compounded by what’s happening across the country right now. #ALeagueOfTheirOwn,” he began.
“So the first and most important thing to say is: Before anything, before you fight for the show or each other, please take care of yourselves. Reach out to your community and ask for help if you need it. You aren’t alone. Please be kind to yourselves.”
The news that A League Of Their Own had been axed prompted many fans to respond with frustration and anger online, with many accusing Amazon Prime of contributing to the #CancelYourGays phenomena which has taken shows like First Kill and Vampire Academy.
Will continued: “As I’ve been thinking about what’s happened, I come back to a quote from Penny Marshall’s film: ‘The hard is what makes it great.’ Making this show is so hard and so great. There’s quite a bit to say about what’s been hard, but at this point, that’s in the past.”
“Of course, if we have an avenue to do it well, we will continue the show, and I love seeing the noise you’re making in support of that. The noise matters!”
Earlier this month Netflix’s Warrior Nun was revived from the dead after the fan campaign #SaveWarriorNun took over the internet. After being cancelled by Netflix, it was announced that the show would return as a film trilogy, emphasising the power of fans.
“And it’s hard for me to imagine there wouldn’t be a home for a show that thanks to you was in the Nielsen Top 10 for three weeks, was the top show on Amazon for a month and in the top five for six, that was recognized by critics as something special, that’s been recognized with awards from GLAAD, HRC and a million other organizations, that was on a million year-end top ten lists, and that has a built-in and deeply passionate audience.”
Will then spoke about the importance of winning the current writer’s strike as well as the fact that Amazon is “pursuing different kinds of programming”.
“If we don’t find a good path forward, I will still know that League did what it came here to do and, in its own small way, changed the world,” he continued.
“And that’s because of all of you, and the light you continue to shine on the show — How you let it matter to you, how you let it become a mirror, how you let it change you.”
“I’ve never experienced a response to a show that’s as deep, personal, creative and meaningful as what the fans have done with League. When we were making the season one, we all wondered and worried about whether people would accept it on its own terms next to the film.”
“You wrote enough fan fiction for 100 novels and created an outpouring of art and creativity that could fill its own museum — I’ve truly never seen anything like it.”
Will then turned his attention to the way the show had affected the lives of its leading cast.
“You lifted up a 95-year-old who had just come out of the closet and made her into a celebrity who gets recognized wherever she goes,” he said. “Every time any member of the cast appears at anything, you turn it into a convention.”
“You stop Abbi wherever she goes, and though I’m a happily inconspicuous person, and you constantly find me and stop me and give me gifts that now have a shelf in my house.”
“When thousands of you appeared to see D’Arcy at the stage door of The Thanksgiving Play over its run, you turned it into the hottest queer bar in New York. You made Max’s suit and Chante’s beautiful performance into a movement.”
“A mob of you went to Pittsburgh and saw all of our locations. You dressed as the characters and made our characters into one of the biggest Halloween costumes of last year.”
After this heartfelt tribute to his cast, Will turned his attention to the amazing fans of the show.
“You came out, you changed pronouns, you started living more openly, you gave sermons in church about the show, you opened bars, and you got a truly mind-boggling number of tattoos that say “to the five” and “rob the bank.” What else am I forgetting? I’m sure you’ll remind me.”
“But most importantly, you made a community, you found each other and found joy, which of course is what the show is about. In many more ways than I would ever have let myself imagine while we were making it, you literally bring the show to life every day.”
“Thank you for making our work mean something bigger. We’ve heard from so many different kinds of people around the world who are watching League.”
The co-creator went on to speak about the current political and personal attacks that queer people are facing. “My biggest fear is that the many queer fans of League will take this reversal as one more invalidation, one more blow, one more effect of the general politicization of our identities,” he lamented. “Most of us grew up feeling invisible, and as we gain strength, the predictable backlash forces are trying their hardest to get us to go back underground.”
“In case anyone needs to hear it: You are not small, niche, modest, off-putting or marginal, and neither are your stories. You are multitudes, you are building, and your stories are universal. You are the most rapidly growing audience and consumer group in this country.”
“You are powerful. You are the future, and the people who don’t recognize your importance now will feel clamouring to catch up in a few years. As Chante said so beautifully when we received the Human Rights Campaign Visionary award, you are the main characters. Be proud.”
“Be angry if you that’s how you feel, but know that we are going to win, and don’t ever let this moment or any other make you small. The biggest lesson of the characters in this show is that, in a world that had no space for them at all, they LIVED.”
“They found love, they did the things they loved, they won. You’re doing the same thing, and just like them, you are heroes. We are still fighting for League. But whether we win or lose this one, I’m so proud.”
To finish off his statement, Will urged fans to stay hopeful.
“And no matter what happens, the people behind League aren’t going anywhere. Give us a minute, we will be back with more for you to watch read and feel. We’re going to win.”
“And you’re not going anywhere either, because what you’ve built and what you are is bigger than this show. It’s the story of our community, that comes to us through the hidden history that League shows just one small part of: The bars got raided and shut down.”
“But the people didn’t go anywhere, and they opened a new bar, and out of those spaces came music, cinema, dance, culture — What we now see as mainstream was birthed from the spaces our predecessors were forced to hide in. They made joy there.”
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