‘The 100’ Prequel and 11 Other TV Spinoff Series Fans Never Got to See
On November 5, more than two years after The CW ordered a prequel spinoff for The 100, news broke the project was officially dead. The proposed spinoff, glimpsed in the 100 backdoor-pilot episode “Anaconda,” would have rewound the action to the time of the nuclear apocalypse that started it all.
Of course, this isn’t the first time a highly-anticipated spinoff never got a chance to forge its own path. Here are 11 more nixed offshoots, including several that started (and ended) with backdoor pilots.
Toward the end of The Office, NBC developed a spinoff around Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) running a bed-and-breakfast out of his family beet farm, with Majandra Delfino and Thomas Middleditch playing the character’s siblings. NBC passed on the project in October 2013, but viewers saw what could have been in the Season 9 Office episode of the same title.
Green Arrow and the Canaries
This January, the CW pulled the plug on this Arrow offshoot revolving around Mia Smoak (Katherine McNamara), Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy), and Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) in Star City circa 2040. A backdoor pilot for the concept aired as a Season 9 episode of Arrow.
Jane the Novela
Speaking of axed CW spinoffs, this anthologized successor to Jane the Virgin would have had Jane (Gina Rodriguez) take over as narrator, as a new cast of characters brings one of her stories to life each season. After shooting the project down in May 2019, The CW President Mark Pedowitz said Jane the Novela lacked its predecessor’s quotient of “quirkiness and fun.”
How I Met Your Dad
Seven years before Hulu gave the green light to How I Met Your Father, CBS was prepping this similarly-titled spinoff of How I Met Your Mother, with Greta Gerwig on board as writer and star. Even better, Meg Ryan would have voiced an older version of Gerwig’s character as the narrator of the show. But CBS halted the project in May 2014, so this is one origin story we won’t get to see.
Law & Order: For the Defense
Much like it did with the Law & Order: Hate Crimes idea a few years ago, NBC rescinded its straight-to-series order to this Law & Order spinoff this July. For the Defense would have shifted the attention from the D.A.’s office to a criminal defense firm. What we didn’t know at the time, however, was that NBC would soon bring back the mothership back for a 21st season.
Marvel’s Most Wanted
Marvel started floating the idea of a series revolving around S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Bobbi Morse around June 2011, when the prospective series was called Mockingbird and billed as “Alias meets Felicity.” Once Adrianne Palicki started playing the role on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. alongside Nick Blood as fellow agent Lance Hunter, ABC expressed interest in giving the two characters a S.H.I.E.L.D.spinoff called Marvel’s Most Wanted. But in less-than-super news for comic-book fans, ABC offed the project in May 2016, with then-president Channing Dungey explaining that the network wanted a Marvel show that was “as creatively strong as it can be.”
Hit comedy Black-ish would have gotten a third spinoff—joining Grown-ish and Mixed-ish—had this idea gone forward. Old-ish, announced in September 2020, would have focused on off-and-on grandparents Ruby (Jenifer Lewis) and Earl Johnson (Laurence Fishburne), who had been stealing scenes since Black-ish’s first season. This May, however, ABC president Craig Erwich said there were “no current plans to make [Old-ish] as a pilot.”
Untitled Game of Thrones spinoff
As production came to a (controversial) close on the mega-hit Game of Thrones, HBO ordered a prequel spinoff chronicling “the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour.” Codenamed Bloodmoon, the project had ample star power, with Naomi Watts leading the cast and George R. R. Martin himself serving as co-creator. In October 2019, however, the premium cabler slayed that prequel, with rumors of production issues and an unsatisfactory pilot episode. But it immediately gave the green light to another prequel, House of the Dragon.
Untitled Gossip Girl spinoff
If you saw the Gossip Girl Season 2 episode “Valley Girls,” you’ve seen the backdoor pilot for a spinoff that never transpired: one that starred Brittany Snow as a young Lily Rhodes (before she became Lily van der Woodsen) as she gets kicked out of her private school and moves in with sister Carol, played by Krysten Ritter, in 1980s San Fernando Valley. The CW passed on the project around May 2009.
In May 2018, The CW put the kibosh on Wayward Sisters—a Supernatural spinoff about Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) overseeing a group of orphaned young women who band together to become a monster-fighting foster family—with Pedowitz saying the network felt it “had a better shot with [The Originals spinoff] Legacies.” But Supernatural fans at least got a backdoor pilot with the Season 13 episode “Wayward Sisters.”
Gilmore Girls nearly got a spinoff, with The WB ordering a pilot centering on Jess Mariano (Milo Ventimiglia), love interest of Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel), as he moves across the country to Venice Beach to reconnect with his father Jimmy (Rob Estes). The spinoff, Windward Circle, never made it to television—reportedly because of budgetary limitations—but viewers saw scenes from the California-set story in the Gilmore Girls Season 3 episode “Here Comes the Son.”