Amazon Cancels The Man in the High Castle: Season 4 Will Be Series Finale

Plus Official Season 4 Teaser Trailer

Another one bites the dust.

As the title of the post says, the upcoming season 4 of Amazon Prime’s The Man in the High Castle, which will be released in the Fall of 2019, will be its last. Many suspected that this would be the case when the show was given an early renewal for season 4, after it had taken so long for season 3 to be released. Another high quality show lost to Jeff Bezos’ short attention span.

But, despite my sadness over the loss, I feel there’s some good news here as well.

For one thing, look at this amazing poster! For another, a teaser video was also released today. And, in an interview with Deadline, the executive producers of the show, Isa Dick Hackett and David Zucker, strongly hinted about the possibility of a sequel series or film.

Let’s start with the poster, which portrays Obergruppenführer John Smith as a fallen and broken statue, in a similar fashion to the destruction of the Statue of Liberty that we saw at the end of season 3, suggesting that the events of that night have broken him as well. On that fateful night, he facilitated the destruction of Lady Liberty, was present for an assassination attempt on Himmler, and watched as Nicole Dörmer was arrested and sent for re-education, a euphemism for torture and retraining as one of Himmler’s paramilitary soldier-spy-slave-bots.

Worst of all, Helen and the kids left him, because of Helen’s justified fear that either John or Himmler would kill one or all of them next, in order to streamline and maintain John’s rise to the top of the Third Reich. Somewhere in all of this, he saw Juliana Crain travel to another world using only her own will, and he was powerless to stop her. And he learned that travel between worlds hinges on the traveler not existing in the other world. In a world that’s been subject to Nazi genocides for decades, that’s a chilling thought.

John Smith was already broken, deep inside, before Liberty fell, and that’s the other meaning of the statue. It mimics the pose and facial expression of Nicole’s statuary homage to Thomas, which replaced the Statue of Liberty. No one can actually stand tall and proud in the Third Reich, because there is no honor there. John Smith has always known this, but felt that survival, at any cost, was more important than morality and honor.

As he spent season 3 watching the alt-world films of Thomas, the meaning of Thomas’ sacrifice was slowly sinking in. Thomas wasn’t just being a good soldier who was following the rules. He had thought through his decision carefully and thoroughly, because that’s who he was.

Thomas chose to make the honorable choice. He felt that it truly was in the best interest of the greater good to end the lives of the chronically ill early. He didn’t want to hide his illness and live a lie, or run away and live in hiding for the rest of his life. He wanted to stand tall, and live, then die, according to his principles, as his father and his education had taught him to do.

Thomas lived without compromise. His father has gone well beyond compromise and become a genocidal traitor. How can John stand the thought of looking Thomas in the eye? Would he shatter, the way the statue is shattered?

Having lost everything of value to him in the quest to protect it, John just might be ready to change direction.

And Thomas just might be one of Mengele’s test subjects. We were shown those subjects over and over, with little pay off. It would be very like Himmler to have given Thomas to Mengele to lightly experiment on, with instructions to keep Thomas alive as a bargaining chip for the future. Once John discovers that type of betrayal, it could put him over the edge. He’s tolerated Himmler murdering or driving everyone else from his life, but John was willing to kill for Thomas and take other personal risks. Thomas is his greatest weakness and his greatest source of inspiration.

Teaser Trailer:

Juliana Crain lives! She appears to have made it to another world, with a civilian John Smith, who looks to be very cosy with her on the dance floor, and sounds very committed to helping her when he tells her she doesn’t have to do anything alone.

Can we handle a romance between John and Juliana? I could maybe handle a flirtation, but I’m very attached to John and Helen, and have always hoped that Frank and Juliana would find their way back to each other, although I’m not terribly attached to that. Every timeline that includes Joe and Juliana seems to end in one or both of their deaths, largely because of him, so I’m not rooting for that one.

But maybe a John Smith who came home from the war, had a family, and has lived a good life has blossomed into a decent, caring man who’s willing to fight for others. Then there’s Nazi John, who’s burning a pile of some kind of medallion that presumably went with a pile of bodies at some point. If anyone can tell what the medallions are, I’d appreciate the tip.

Wyatt is now the full-fledged leader of the Resistance, with groups of fighters ready to go. Some are already fighting in the teaser. Many new characters and situations are shown, while almost all of the characters from previous seasons are missing. There are a lot of familiar names missing from this cast list, too. (RIP, Frank and Joe.) Plus there’s a long list of new characters.

I don’t understand the need to reinvent a show during its final season. Viewers want to see the story wrapped up for their favorite characters and the storylines they’ve been following, not have a whole new set of characters and stories introduced. I guess last season was such a bloodbath that they have to bring in some fresh bodies to kill.

The cast list and synopsis:

The Man in the High Castle stars Alexa Davalos (Mob City), Joel De La Fuente (Hemlock Grove), Brennan Brown (Focus), Chelah Horsdal (You Me Her) and Jason O’Mara (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with Rufus Sewell (Victoria). Recently announced cast members for season four include Frances Turner (The Gifted), Clé Bennett (Homeland), Rich Ting (NCIS: Los Angeles), David Sakurai (Iron Fist), Carter MacIntyre (Benched) and Bruce Locke (Hero).

Based on Philip K. Dick’s award-winning 1962 alternate history novel, The Man in the High Castle explores what would have happened if the Allied Powers had lost World War II. The final season of The Man in the High Castle will be rocked by war and revolution. The Resistance becomes a full-blown rebellion, driven by Juliana Crain’s (Alexa Davalos) visions of a better world. A new Black insurgent movement emerges to fight the forces of Nazism and imperialism. As empires teeter, Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido (Joel De La Fuente) will find himself torn between his duty to his country and the bonds of family. Meanwhile, Reichsmarschall John Smith (Rufus Sewell) will be drawn towards the portal the Nazis have built to another universe, and the tantalizing possibility of stepping through a gateway to the path not taken.– Amazon via

Reichsmarschall Smith just might have a decision to make. Does he abandon this world to its fate and travel to a new world, hoping to find Thomas and peace? Or does he finally do the right thing and make this world a safe place for his daughters to grow up in?

(Remember them? His other 2 children? Honestly, the fact that the girls barely exist for him, while he’s willing to move mountains for his son, is probably enough reason to execute him.)

The chilling tagline for the season is “The end of the worlds.” Does that mean that the fractured timelines converge into one again? That destroying the portal will also destroy the worlds on either end? Or does it just feel like the end of the world to John or other characters. Or perhaps it’s the end of the German and Japanese empires, and the worlds they’ve created.

My guess is that the season will end with North America free from both empires, but one or both will still exist in the world. For now, there will be peace and a return to the pre World War 2 North America. But the Germans and Japanese will be lurking, leaving the potential for a sequel series or film.

In an interview with Deadline, executive producers David Zucker and Isa Dick Hackett sounded like they’ve already been thinking about how they can continue the universe. We could get a sequel series, maybe with some of the new characters they’re setting up this season, or we could get an episode of their Philip K Dick anthology series, Electric Dreams, that tells a side story. Amazon has a first look deal with Hackett and Electric Shepherd Productions for future Philip K Dick adaptations, so the possibilities are real. But I wouldn’t expect a direct sequel with the same actors.

DEADLINE: Well, there is a lot of material in PKD’s novel, even though the show expanded that world. I recall at Comic-Con last year Isa said that elements of Season 4 would draw from High Castle PDK material …

ZUCKER: Yes, and I think that could satisfy us when all is said and done that people feel, touched, inspired, challenged by what they viewed. But, you know, addendum to that, I think Isa and I both feel that there is a lot more story to tell in this kind of world.


ZUCKER: While we’re bringing this chapter to a conclusion, if one thinks beyond the final frames of this series, it is very provocative to think about what stories may come thereafter. Whether or not we all get to tell them or they get told in another incarnation in film and television, that’s for us to all see. However, I don’t think you can look at this as an absolute culmination because of the nature of the stories that we’re telling with that.—

The Man in the High Castle was developed by Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files), with Ridley Scott (The Martian), David W. Zucker (The Good Wife), Richard Heus (Ugly Betty), Isa Dick Hackett (Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams), Wesley Strick (The Loft), Daniel Percival (Banished) and David Scarpa (All the Money in the World) acting as executive producers for season four. Percival and Scarpa are co-showrunners for season four.

Sources: ‘Man In The High Castle’s 4th Season To Be Last For Amazon’s Alt-History Series— This is an excellent interview with the showrunners. Amazon Press Release

Poster courtesy of Amazon Prime.