Disney Plus Axes Gender-Swapped ‘Doogie Howser’ Reboot ‘Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.’, Drops Already Filmed ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ Adaptation And Reimagined Captain Nemo Series ‘Nautilus’

[Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly claimed Nautilus would be race-swapping Captain Nemo. Per Jules Verne’s original 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Nemo is in fact of Indian heritage. The version that follows has been updated to clarify that it is his origin and motives which have been reimagined.)

In yet another shake-up to their Disney Plus content, the House of Mouse has officially announced that not only have they hit the lights on Doogie Kamealoha, M.D., but they will also no longer be moving forward with their The Spiderwick Chronicles and Nautilus original series.

PEYTON ELIZABETH LEE in DOOGIE KAMEALOHA, M.D. - “Talk-Story” - Lahela tests her relationship with Walter; Benny tries to help Clara win over hospital employees. (Disney/Karen Neal)

PEYTON ELIZABETH LEE in DOOGIE KAMEALOHA, M.D. – “Talk-Story” – Lahela tests her relationship with Walter; Benny tries to help Clara win over hospital employees. (Disney/Karen Neal)

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These cancellations were first announced on August 28th and 29th, respectively, courtesy of Disney themselves.

Axing the gender-swapped reboot of the popular, Neil Patrick Harris-led 80s sitcom Doogie Howser, M.D after just two seasons, Disney declined to provide any additional comment on their decision outside of confirming that the series had indeed come to an end.

KATHLEEN ROSE PERKINS, PEYTON ELIZABETH LEE in DOOGIE KAMEALOHA, M.D. - “Mom-mentum” - Lahela considers a fellowship in Seattle; Benny ends up in the seniors group at a surf competition. (Disney/Karen Neal)

KATHLEEN ROSE PERKINS, PEYTON ELIZABETH LEE in DOOGIE KAMEALOHA, M.D. – “Mom-mentum” – Lahela considers a fellowship in Seattle; Benny ends up in the seniors group at a surf competition. (Disney/Karen Neal)

However, Deadline’s sources were supposedly able to conversely confirm that the other two Disney Plus original series were shelved as part of the company’s ongoing attempts to reduce their non-sports content costs by at least $3 billion.

“We have to be better at curating the Disney, and the Pixar, and the Marvel, and the Star Wars of it all,” Disney CEO Bob Iger explained of this initiative during the company’s Q1 FY23 earnings call. “And, of course, reduce costs on everything that we make. While we are extremely proud of what’s on the screen, it’s gotten to a point where it’s extraordinarily expensive. We want all the quality. We want the quality on the screen, but we have to look at what they cost us.”

Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) summons the abilities of the Ebony Maw in Secret Invasion Season 1 Episode 6 "Home" (2023), Marvel Entertainment

Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir) summons the abilities of the Ebony Maw in Secret Invasion Season 1 Episode 6 “Home” (2023), Marvel Entertainment

Interestingly, both The Spiderwick Chronicles, a live-action television adaptation of the titular children’s book series, and Nautilus, an action-adventure origin story for a reimagined version of Jules Vernes’ popular 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea character Captain Nemo, had both reportedly finished filming prior to their cancellations.

In light of their being cut loose from Disney Plus, both series are reportedly being shopped around to other networks, though no one has yet to officially buy the rights to either series.

Jared Grace encounters a group of goblins on Tony DiTerlizzi's cover to The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 2: The Seeing Stone (2003), Simon & Schuster

Jared Grace encounters a group of goblins on Tony DiTerlizzi’s cover to The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 2: The Seeing Stone (2003), Simon & Schuster

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Per Deadline’s sources, the abandonment of both The Spiderwick Chronicles and Nautilus comes as part of a new internal content strategy wherein “moving forward, Disney Branded Television, which supplies Disney+ with non-Marvel, Star Wars or Nat Geo live-action content, will be leaning more heavily into Disney-owned IP”.

To this end, it should be noted that neither of the source materials for The Spiderwick Chronicles or Nautilus are owned by Disney, with the former being owned by Simon & Schuster (whose parent company Paramount Global also produced the series’ previous 2008 live-action film adaptation) and the latter being considered public domain.

Jared (Freddie Highmore) peers through a holed stone in The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008), Paramount Pictures

Jared (Freddie Highmore) peers through a holed stone in The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008), Paramount Pictures

As noted above, while The Spiderwick Chronicles was set to be a straight-forward adaptation of the book series starring, Nautilus is apparently set to take the opposite approach to adapting its source material.

In Vernes’ original book, Captain Nemo, an Indian prince by birth, responds to the East India Trading Company’s murder of his parents and sacking of his home during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 by developing a disdain for humanity, which in turn leads him to strike out on the Nautilus in order to conduct his scientific pursuits away from the destructive tendencies of his fellow man.

However, in Nautilus, Nemo, as portrayed by Shazad Latif (Ash Tyler/Voq, Star Trek: Discovery), would have been captured and enslaved by the East India Trading Company.

Voq (Shazad Latif) attempts to deceive Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) in Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 11 "The Wolf Inside" (2018), CBS/Paramount

Voq (Shazad Latif) attempts to deceive Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) in Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 11 “The Wolf Inside” (2018), CBS/Paramount

Eventually escaping from his shackles, rather than turn his back on humanity in favor of the sea, this version of Nemo instead sets out to actively take revenge, assembling a group of like-minded outcasts to help him fight back against the historical group’s colonial ambitions.

But in the process of hunting their common enemy, the team soon discovers that not all is what it seems, as just below the waves lie a previously-unknown world carrying secrets of its own.

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