Why was The Tudors canceled after four seasons?

The Tudors came to an end after four great seasons. Why did it end here and not continue with other Tudor monarchs?
Showtime's Premiere of the new dramatic series 'The Tudors'
Showtime's Premiere of the new dramatic series 'The Tudors' / E. Charbonneau/GettyImages

The Tudors came to an end after four seasons. It was able to tell the story of Henry VIII, but why didn’t it continue with other monarchs? We take a look at the reasoning.

If there is one monarch in history that has intrigued a lot of people it’s Henry VIII. He is known for having his six wives, and not being nice to any of them. In fact, he executed two of them! He broke away from the Catholic church to marry one of them, and he would be the father to one of the greatest monarchs the country has ever seen.

The Tudors brought us the story of Henry’s six wives over the course of four seasons. Why did the show end here, though?

It was always a story of Henry VIII and his wives

The Tudors wasn’t a story about the lineage as a whole. If that was the case, it really should have started with Henry VII of England taking the throne in 1487 after the Battle of Bosworth. It should have focused on how Arthur Tudor was set to be the next monarch, only to die after marrying Catherine of Aragon.

We should have seen Henry VIII marry Catherine and the need for the papal dispensation to do so. After all, this was important later on in the marriage when Henry wanted to end it to marry Anne.

So, it was clear from the start that this series was about Henry and not any of the other Tudor monarchs.

Historical inaccuracies changed the story

There was a major historical inaccuracy in the storytelling that made continuing the tale difficult if they did want to. In The Tudors, Henry only had one sister, Margaret. She went off to marry the King of Portugal and then ended up marrying Charles Brandon after that.

This wasn’t accurate. The real Henry VIII had two sisters. Margaret was married to James IV of Scotland, leading to Mary, Queen of Scots. She would have been important in a story about Elizabeth as there was a huge rivalry between the two queens. Mary was Elizabeth’s heir by the normal lineage but Elizabeth didn’t want a Catholic queen on the throne so wanted Mary’s son James VI of Scotland as her heir. Problems between them would eventually lead to Elizabeth signing for Mary’s execution.

The one to head to Europe and marry Charles Brandon was Mary, Henry’s younger sister. She married the old French king and there are no suggests that she killed her husband. She did eventually marry Charles, though. They had the children who would lead to Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Day Queen.

Michael Hirst was moving onto other projects

Michael Hirst single-handedly wrote the entire series. He always knew that there would be an end point, and it was more that he wanted to make sure the series had a chance to end on its own accord. SHOWTIME gave the series that time. Since the marriages of the four wives after Anne Boleyn were much shorter than his time with Catherine of Aragon and the buildup to marrying Anne, it made sense that only half a season was spent on each of those four wives afterward.

Hirst was also moving onto other projects. He had Camelot lined up, and he would eventually go on to create and write Vikings.

It was an ending and not really a cancellation, and you can tell that with the way the final season was set up.

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The Tudors is available to stream on Prime Video.