SAG-AFTRA strike: delayed film and TV projects from The Last of Us S2 and Euphoria S3 to Avatar 4 and Wicked

Double strike action by Hollywood writers and actors  is expected to cost the industry at least $4 billion
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Almost every major film and TV show that is in the works or was due to begin production soon will be affected by the joint strikes of Hollywood writers and actors. It is the first time that both groups have been on strike concurrently since 1960.

The Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strike began following the failure of talks with the top studios and streaming services over the terms of a new contract. One major bone of contention is the issue of residual payments, with actors arguing that their compensation for shows that are repeated on streaming services is far less than for television reruns. 

Other issues that led to the strike include concern over shorter season lengths, longer breaks between seasons, the use of AI in the film and TV industry, and the growing reliance on self-taped auditions.

Projects that were in early production stages were first delayed by the WGA strike that began in May, as unionised Hollywood writers stopped all work, meaning that shows and films could not be written ahead of filming.

Now, with SAG-AFTRA also on strike, even projects that have been written and are ready to shoot will be delayed as actors across Hollywood refuse to head to set. This means that scores of major films and shows that fans have been expecting to air in the coming months and years are likely to be delayed indefinitely whilst the strikes take place. 

The SAG_AFTRA strike will affect dozens of upcoming shows and filmsThe SAG_AFTRA strike will affect dozens of upcoming shows and films
The SAG_AFTRA strike will affect dozens of upcoming shows and films

What projects will be affected by the Hollywood actors’ strike? 

Among the films that will be affected are a slew of superhero films including the untitled Spider-Man: No Way Home sequel, Marvel’s Blade reboot, Captain America: Brave New World, Thunderbolts, and Deadpool 3, which began filming in the UK on Monday.

The long-awaited sequels to historical epic Gladiator, and comedy horror Beetlejuice will also be delayed until the dispute is resolved.

One of the biggest films in terms of expected box office takings to be affected by the strike is Avatar 4. The third instalment in the action fantasy franchise has already been filmed, but only part of the fourth film has been completed.

Avatar 2: Way of the Water made more than $2 billion at the box office and the sequels are expected to have similar success.

Ariana Grande’s film adaptation of Wicked is also expected to be affected, as is a Community film spin-off, Blake Lively romance It Ends With Us, and a third Ghostbusters sequel.

SAG-AFTRA members are on strike at the same as WGA members for the first time since 1960SAG-AFTRA members are on strike at the same as WGA members for the first time since 1960
SAG-AFTRA members are on strike at the same as WGA members for the first time since 1960

Plenty of prestige TV shows will be similarly impacted - the biggest shows that will be delayed by the actors’ strike are the fifth and final season of Stranger Things, one of Netflix’s biggest shows, and season two of this year’s smash hit horror series The Last of Us.

The third season of gritty drama series Euphoria has been delayed to 2025, largely because of the writers’ strike, whilst Emily in Paris season four, and season three of White Lotus also anticipate delays.

A second season of Yellowstone sequel 1923, starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren has been delayed indefinitely.

What projects haven’t been affected by the Hollywood actors’ strike?

The number of projects unaffected by the strikes are few and far between, but one very popular show that is expected to continue production is HBO’s House of the Dragon season two. 

As the scripts for the show were completed ahead of the strike, and due to local union rules that do not grant the film’s cast protection for striking on a project filmed in the UK, production on the series will go ahead as planned.

Additionally, films and shows that have already completed filming and are in post-production will not be seriously affected, although if re-shoots are required, then delays could still occur. 

But, even films that are ready for release will still suffer in some ways, as film stars will not work to promote their projects. For instance, the cast of Oppenheimer, including Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, and Florence Pugh, left the UK premiere early yesterday as the strike was called.

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