James Marsden Disappointed Westworld Canceled, Should Be 'More Than Financial Success'

James Marsden was celebrating his return to the HBO series “Westworld” for its fourth season when the news came down from the network that it would be the last.

The actor, who had previously starred in the first two seasons, expressed his “disappointment” in a new interview with Rolling Stone on Tuesday.

“I’m never going to speak without gratitude about any of my experiences, but it would have been nice to be able to complete the story we wanted to finish,” he told the outlet. “It was one of those unique opportunities to be part of something where I also would be sitting at home ravenously waiting for the next episode as a fan.”

What he found the most frustrating about it is that decisions like this so often come down to the dollars and cents. “I totally understand it’s an expensive show, and big shows have to have big audiences to merit the expense,” he conceded. “I just wish it was about more than financial success.”

“But who knows — maybe there’s some world where it can get completed somehow,” Marsden continued. “Maybe that’s just wishful thinking because I know we had plans to finish it the way we wanted to.”

It was expected the series would get picked up for a fifth and final season to wrap up its storylines. Instead, the plug was pulled in November.

Then, a month later, the series was pulled from HBO Max, as well, though it is expected to return … somewhere else. As part of its at times head-scratching, cost-cutting measures, the new Warner Bros. Discovery is looking to license it out.

On December 14, the new company said that several of its original shows, including “Raised by Wolves,” “The Time Traveler’s Wife” and “FBoy Island,” are set to be licensed in bundles to free ad-supported third-party streamers, per The Hollywood Reporter.

There is the precedent of “Manifest” finding new life after it was canceled by NBC following its juggernaut streaming success on Netflix. That streamer picked up the sci-fi series for a final season to wrap its storylines, with the first batch of episodes also performing extremely well after their release last year.

The big difference, though, is that in order to maintain a consistent level of quality to match its first four seasons, “Westworld” may just be too expensive to consider reviving. That said, a shortened final season or film could still be an option if it just blows up too big to ignore.

While “Westworld” started off as a ratings juggernaut and critical darling for HBO when it first premiered in 2016. The show maintained its strong presence in its second season, but then viewership dropped by half with its third, and more than half again for its fourth.

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