Lucha Underground has been renewed for a fourth season on El Rey. The news was announced on Twitter moments ago.
— Lucha Underground (@LuchaElRey) November 10, 2017
MGM (who produces the show), El Rey (who airs the show) and Lucha Libre FMV (who owns the LU trademarks) had been negotiating on a deal for months. Much like everything else with Lucha Underground, it took a lot longer to get done than anyone was hoping. There was an upcoming deadline for El Rey to renew the show or lose the exclusive rights to it, and it appears that deadline got everyone to agree now rather than risk whatever would’ve been next.
There are expected to be some budget cutbacks. Those are presumed to be coming back in a reduction of the amount and cost of the vignettes based on interviews from people who work on the show, but the exact details are unknown. The idea is they could still do some of those, and try to tell more of the stories in front of the crowd.
There’s a lot of questions left open, and I’m not talking about who Dario was on the phone with:
- How many episodes will there be? LU has never had a consistent number and no number was announced.
- When will taping start? LU people have said previously it’ll take about four months to go from green light to taping, which might mean a start date in March 2018. It seems a safe bet the show will continue in LA; there’s been no talk about moving it like there was in previous off seasons. EDIT: A LU press release says “production will start in early 2018.”
- When will the show start airing? It’s taken between 3 and 6 weeks for post-production on LU in the past, so April is the absolutely earliest LU would be back on the air. It could be latter: El Rey’s strategy is to pair it with other original shows to use LU to promote them, and it may be about when those shows are ready.
- WHO will be on the show? This is the question that’ll generate the most discussion from now until that first taping. There’s many categories of problems to deal with:
- People out of contract who are probably not coming back (Prince Puma, Rey Mysterio, Sexy Star, others?)
- People in contract who do not seem eager to come back (Jeff Cobb’s the name which has come up publicly) – will they have no choice? Will LU do something to make them happy
- People who were working for AAA but left to work for the Crash (Penta, Fenix, Jack Evans, Daga) or just left (Mascarita Sagrada). LU has said – repeatedly – anyone under contract to is invited back and expected to be part of Season 4. Will AAA try to negotiate that? Will they be able to co-exist with AAA wrestlers and people in charge while being rivals elsewhere?
- and just the general concept of new people being brought in. How much harder will it be to get US people to sign after the people on the show didn’t get any work for what’s going to be nearly two years? Can LU safely build around people from AAA without worries of visa issues or employment issues that handicapped season 3? LU people would rather deal with these problems than have no show, but it’s going to be a lot of work and some drama to get there.
- What happens when Season 4 ends? Hope you’re ready to go all thru this again in a year’s time. There’s is part of a larger question – will Lucha Libre FMV be able to generate income out of Lucha Underground in addition the TV show so everyone will be invested in the show continuing? – but there’s nothing indicating a indefinite existence for the show right now. The next contract isn’t guaranteed and there will be another guessing game when this one is done if everything else stays the same. (The one difference is less people might be certain the show is doomed for sure next time around; if LU survived this time, then who knows how long they might keep doing it.)
That roster news will probably start shaking out first. I think there’s people who probably assumed LU was done at this point and may start agitating for a way out of their deal, and maybe even they’ll get it. Taping dates will take a while to come; don’t start worrying about tickets until 2018. I’ll continue to write an obsessive amount of this show in the meantime.