FX has surprised us all by announcing a premiere date for their adaptation of the acclaimed, but problematic, comic series, Y: The Last Man, and it’s a lot sooner than anyone expected! Now it remains to be seen if the show can address and make up for the transphobia and gender essentialism of the original comic...
According to FX, Y: The Last Man, "traverses an apocalyptic world in which a cataclysmic event decimates every mammal with a Y chromosome but for one cisgender man and his pet monkey." It will premiere Monday, September 13 exclusively on FX on Hulu.
This already is a big improvement on previous descriptions of the story, which have always stated that Yorick, played by Ben Schnetzer in the series, is the last man alive on earth, erasing intersex people, trans people, and gender-nonconforming people.
It will be very interesting how the show addresses trans people, and if they address intersex people at all. Trans women weren’t really thought about in the original comic, and when trans men were referenced, they were called slurs and only referenced, not shown.
The series’ premise is also based on gender essentialism. Yorick is the "last man" because he is the last cisgender man. Intersex people and trans men are completely ignored in the basic premise of the comic. But it seems that the show is working to undo some of that.
Back in 2019, it was announced that Charlie Jane Anders, a trans writer, was joining the writer’s room of the show, but we don’t know if she’s currently still involved. Production of the show has been a long and complicated process, with many actors, and even two showrunners, joining the project only to leave it before it even aired.
One of the biggest differences between the comic and the show is a new character, Sam Jordan, played by Elliot Fletcher (Shameless). Fletcher is a trans man, and so is his character, which is a huge step up from the comics, which are considered transphobic by many modern-day readers.
Fletcher’s character is described as "Hero Brown’s (Yorick’s sister) best friend and enabler" whose background "has made him resourceful and resilient in a world where surviving men are greeted with suspicion, or worse. Street smart but occasionally self-destructive, he is wry and funny, with a big heart."
The show will also feature several lesbian and queer characters, including Dr. Allison Mann, a geneticist played by Diana Bang (The Interview), Beth DeVille, Yorick’s ex-girlfriend played by Juliana Canfield (Succession), and Hero Brown, played by out actress Olivia Thirlby (The L Word: Generation Q).
Y: The Last Man was a groundbreaking comic when it came out back in 2002, but how will it hold up in the modern-day where more and more people are identifying as trans and nonbinary, and intersex people are starting to get a little much-deserved attention? We’ll find out in September.