HBO

How Excited Should We Really Get About This Report Of A Deadwood Movie?

Get the cans of peaches out of the cupboard, but maybe don't open them yet.

As you may have already seen all over the internet's many entertainment sites: the Television Critics Association press tour hosted HBO's panel yesterday, and in his own session, programming president Michael Lombardo stated that the network was all set to make a Deadwood movie. According to TVLine's Michael Ausiello: "HBO programming president Michael Lombardo confirmed to TVLine that he personally gave series creator David Milch the green light to resurrect the acclaimed yet painfully short-lived Western." Heeeeeeeey! Sounds good, right? Except here's what Ausiello goes on to write: "Timing wise, Lombardo says Milch has another project he's currently working on, 'But the understanding is that when he is done with that he will turn his attention to [writing the] script for the Deadwood film.'" Which is why the current headline on this A.V. Club post might be deceptively optimistic:

A.V. Club

A.V. Club

I've screen-capped the headline on what I feel is the very real possibility that it will, at some point soon, get walked back with some more conditional language. Because as much as anyone who watched the show has been hoping and wishing that this movie would be revived since it ended its third and final season close to ten years ago, this latest announcement is studded with qualifiers.

Lombardo is, the existence of Ballers to the contrary, clearly a very intelligent and shrewd person. He knows quite well the effect it would have when he told a ballroom full of TV critics HBO is all about bringing Deadwood back: joy! Excitement! A plethora of celebratory blog posts! But once you get past the headlines, he's careful not to overpromise. For instance, when Ausiello asks him how the production's going to round up its cast, many members of which have gotten way more famous since the show was on? "'I'm going to leave that in David's hands,' Lombardo says with a smile. 'He's confident he will be able to.'" Nellie Andreeva at Deadline quotes Lombardo thus: "'[Milch] pitched what he thought generally the storyline would be -- and knowing David, that could change. But it's going to happen.'"

But is it, though? Because I feel like all I'm hearing is a willingness on HBO's part to consider a script that David Milch hasn't started writing yet but has totally thought about, featuring a cast of performers who say they are very eager to reunite...or at least say so now, at a time when the project exists only in the abstract. Untold thousands of things could happen between now and when Milch gets to a point where he might sit down to write it, starting with...like, he could take another job in the interim that's a little less vaguely defined? He could take so long to write it that key cast members die? He could decide that, in fact, he has said told as much of this story as he cares to, and straight-up just change his mind about doing it at all?

Everyone's thrilled that this possibility has been floated, publicly and on the record, because it's been devoutly wished by so many for so long. But so far, it's only sweet, beautiful drunk talk. Michael Lombardo definitely wants you to discuss it and get HBO's press day all over your RSS and social media feeds, but he might caution you not to start buying snacks for your viewing party yet -- and if he won't, I am.