Barry Keoghan Exits Y: The Last Man, Producers Search for New Lead Actor

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BY February 8, 2020

The embattled FX adaptation of Y: The Last Man suffers another setback as Barry Keoghan exits the series. Set to play Yorick, the only male survivor of a cataclysm that kills all men, the part will now have to be recast by series producers. This marks the second big exit in the show that will bring Friends alum Marcel the Monkey back to TV. In April, the original showrunners Aida Croal and Michael Green left the series over “creative differences.” They were replaced by Eliza Clark who shared updates about series production on her social media channels. The report says that only Keoghan’s role will be recast, and that the series is still underway. Of course, Barry Keoghan leaving Y: The Last Man means that the series debut later this year will likely have to be pushed back.

Why Barry Keoghan Exiting Y: The Last Man Is Troubling

Barry Keoghan Exits Y The Last Man Keoghan in A Sacred Deer Movie Image via A24

As one of the most critically-acclaimed comic book series of all time, creators Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra hoped to see the story brought to live action. The series was first meant to become a series of films from New Line Cinema, but after being stuck in development hell they got the rights back. Enter FX, who started working on this series in 2015. Barry Keoghan wasn’t attached to Y: The Last Man until 2018, and he shot a pilot. However, the pilot had to be reworked after the exit of Croal and Green. Now, all of Keoghan’s scenes will have to be reshot as well.

Vaughan and Guerra, for what it’s worth, aren’t precious about the material. He told The Hollywood Reporter some years ago that they “wanted to find someone who loved the source material but didn’t feel so indebted to it that they would be afraid to change it.” So, its possible that even more creative differences have reared their heads, leading to Barry Keoghan deciding to leave Y: The Last Man because of changes. Of course, it also could be that it’s just taken so long to get going that he had to accept other work. The reports on his exit don’t specify why he left the show.

Why the Time Is Right for Y: The Last Man

Barry Keoghan Exits Y The Last Man Yorick and Ampersand Image via Vertigo

Since the comic series ended, fans felt that this show would be ripe for adaptation. Even before the superhero movie renaissance we’re currently in, this was a very straightforward story. There aren’t any flashy costumes or superpowers. If anything, it’s very much like The Walking Dead, only instead of zombies the predators the heroes face are other humans, specifically women. The original showrunners wanted to use this tale to tell a story about toxic masculinity. It’s unclear if Clark, if you will pardon the pun, leaned into that interpretation or wanted to take it another way. Because despite Yorick’s character being the “most important” person in the world (because he’s the only man who survived), the story is really about women.

Even today, films like Birds of Prey and Little Women struggle for purchase in the world of box offices and critical accolades. Y: The Last Man is another story that would allow for an examination of “a woman’s world” through an apocalyptic sci-fi lens. While things may arguably be better than ever for women actors and storytellers, the recent Oscars controversy shows we’ve not come as far as we should. Hopefully, Y: The Last Man can find a quick replacement for Barry Keoghan and find the television audience that doesn’t even realize it’s waiting for this kind of story.

What do you think? Is Y: The Last Man doomed or is this newest setback perhaps for the better? Tell us what you think and what you hope to see from the series in the comments below.

Featured image via FX

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Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.

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