Why was Carnival Row canceled by Amazon? (Why there isn't a Season 3)

Carnival Row came to an end after two seasons on Prime Video. Why did Amazon decide not to go ahead with Season 3?
Carnival Row -- Courtesy of Prime Video
Carnival Row -- Courtesy of Prime Video /

Back in 2019, Amazon had a fun and intriguing hit with Carnival Row. It was renewed ahead of the series premiering, but the second season would be the last. We take a look at why.

There is no doubt that Carnival Row was a fun but also socially important series. While it was fantasy in the way of having the fae around, the fae were a great look at the way many minorities are treated in today’s world. As more people found out who Philo was, we got a look at how opinions change about people despite them being no different to the way they once were.

When Carnival Row Season 2’s premiere date was announced, it came with the confirmation that the second season would be the last. Why was that? Why wouldn’t Amazon keep this fantastical hit going?

Carnival Row was heavily affected by the pandemic

We can look at how long it took for Season 2 to come out to get an idea of the reason for the cancellation. While the first season came out in August 2019, the second season didn’t arrive until February 2023. That was a hell of a wait.

Why was there such a delay? Well, despite the early renewal, the series was hit by the pandemic. Filming had to be abruptly halted in Prague.

Within that, the initial creative team left the project. It led to a change of pace and storyline. This was a show originally planned out for four seasons, but without the original team, the series had to be adapted.

In fact, at one point in the middle of the pandemic, it looked like the second season wouldn’t happen at all. There was a concern that it would be un-renewed and we’d be left with the intense ending of Season 1.

MORE: Outlander fans spot familiar material in Carnival Row

The cost for Carnival Row was also high

Amazon likely assumed that the interest in the show had dropped. This meant there was the concern that not so many people would tune in, and that would put the show at risk of being canceled on a cliffhanger. Instead of that, Amazon opted to get the writers to wrap things to give fans some sort of ending.

This was an expensive series. We had the costumes, the graphics, and sets, and so much more. Amazon needed to make the money back for the series, and it’s clear that Amazon has put its money into other big projects such as The Wheel of Time and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

With the costs of shows going up exponentially from Season 3 onward, Amazon didn’t want to risk things. Ending it with the second season and bringing some closure for some characters was the better option than having it abruptly canceled.

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Carnival Row is available to stream on Prime Video.