'Man in the High Castle' Team on Absence of Showrunner: "We're Running in Many Ways Like a Republic"

Frank Spotnitz left the Amazon drama midway through production on its second season.
Courtesy of Amazon
'The Man in the High Castle'

The Man in the High Castle is continuing at Amazon without a showrunner. 

Season one showrunner Frank Spotnitz left the project midway through production on its second season this spring. At the time Amazon said he would remain an executive producer on the project but that the need to base all creative efforts for the series, which was filming in Vancouver, on the West Coast contributed to his departure. Now, the team behind the show have explained that they are continuing on without a showrunner.

"We're running, in many ways, like a republic," said executive producer David Zucker during the Television Critics Association's summer press tour. "There are senior powers in every aspect of the realization of the show." 

He explained that production on the second season of the series was quite expansive, with a writers room in London, filming in Vancouver and postproduction in Los Angeles. But he noted that there have been few creative changes to the show following the departure of Spotnitz. "The process with Frank was an extraordinary one," he said. "I think the one thing that's probably most notable to acknowledge is that nothing has changed within the ensemble of the show and all of the talents who are contributing to fill what he so brilliantly set in course." 

The X-Files alum Spotnitz had been working for a number of years to bring Philip K. Dick's dystopian novel to the screen, and eventually found a home for it on Amazon. The series premiered last November as one of the streamer's first buzzy drama projects. It quickly set a new record as the most-streamed original series with members of Amazon's Prime service and was renewed for a second, 10-episode season. 

Season two, explained executive producer (and Dick's daughter) Isa Hackett, will involve meeting the mysterious Man in the High Castle and will continue to pull from its source material. "The narrative progression is different in the show than it is in the book," she said. "There's quite a bit of jumping around so there's still quite a bit to do." 

Hackett also revealed that the final scene in season one is not meant to be interpreted as a dream but as a dual reality to the one that was explored throughout the first season. 

Season two returns to Amazon on Dec. 16.