The Mothership | Halle Berry sci-fi cancelled by Netflix due to ‘production and story issues’

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The Mothership, a Halle Berry sci-fi film, was scrapped due to “lots of production issues” according to Netflix boss Bela Bajaria.

Update: Just a little more detail on the scrapping of the Netflix sci-fi flick, The Mothership. Yesterday, The Wrap published a report with some quotes from Netflix content boss Bela Bajaria about the matter, but that report was suddenly taken down.

Since then, The Hollywood Reporter has put up its own report, which offers a bit more context. Bajaria made the comments at the streaming giant’s press event, Next on Netflix, in which it also unveiled its slate of upcoming films and shows. Squid Game season two, Beverly Hills Cop, that sort of thing.

In a brief snippet dedicated to The Mothership, THR quotes Bajaria as saying the film was scrapped due to “lots of production issues and story issues.”

“Everybody on both sides, the talent and us, all agreed that it was better to not launch it,” Bajaria said. “There was just a lot of issues during production and so creatively, everybody just felt like it was the right thing to just not do it and to do something else together eventually.”

Bajaria described the decision as “rare”, which is true – it’s highly unusual for a finished film starring an Oscar-winning actress to be scrapped, which makes us wonder just how bad it was. Here’s hoping a similar fate doesn’t befall Gareth Evans’ Havoc, which, like The Mothership, was shot in 2021 and hasn’t been heard from since.

Our original story follows…

1st February 2024: On the 24th January, news emerged that Netflix had scrapped a sci-fi thriller starring Halle Berry called The Mothership. The film was originally due to be released in 2023, but was quietly delayed.

According to Hollywood insider Jeff Sneider, The Mothership had been scrapped as a tax write-off, much like Warner Bros’ Batgirl and Coyote Vs Acme before it. Although shooting had wrapped, the film required “significant reshoots,” Sneider wrote at the time, which would have been complicated due to the ageing of its younger cast members. The decision was therefore made to abandon the enterprise entirely.

The story was, of course, unconfirmed. But in a story published over at The Wrap this morning (1st February), Netflix’s interim chief content officer Bela Bajaria offered the closest we currently have to an official statement on the matter.

Speaking at an unspecified ‘media event’, Bajaria – who temporarily replaces the outgoing content boss Scott Stuber – confirmed that The Mothership had “lots of production issues” and that a meeting was held between its production team and talent. It was in that meeting, Bajaria said, that “Everyone felt it was the right thing not to release it and to do something else together eventually.”

In essence, Bajaria backs up Sneider’s story, but also heavily implies that The Mothership was so irrevocably flawed that all parties involved simply agreed to abandon it – which is quite odd given the level of talent involved (writer-director Matthew Charman is the British writer of Bridge Of Spies, for which he won an Oscar).

There’s a further twist in the story, though: about six hours after it was published, The Wrap’s story vanished from the internet. Visit the post’s URL, and you’re greeted with a 404 error, at least at the time of writing; a snapshot of the story is still available via the Wayback Machine, however.

Whether the article was pulled at the behest of Netflix, Halle Berry’s representatives, or for a more mundane reason isn’t clear; we’ve contacted The Wrap for comment, and will update you if we hear a response.

The Mothership was, according to a synopsis, a sci-fi thriller about a mother who, a year after the vanishing of her husband, discovers something unearthly beneath her house. With a supporting cast including Molly Parker, Omari Hardwick and John Ortiz, it certainly had an intriguing pedigree both in front and behind the camera.

Sadly, The Mothership currently sits on a growing list of recent films that were shot and at least partly finished, but will never see an official release.

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