Source: SaveWarriorNun Camapaign Discord
January 13th marked a month since Netflix announced its decision to cancel the hit series Warrior Nun. As heartbreaking as this news was, it wasn't as much of a surprise to fans as some might think. Despite season 2's 99% audience score (with over 8,500 fan ratings) and 100% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes (a record high for shows on the streaming platform), dedicated fans were aware that there were many actions, or arguably a lack of action, taken by the streaming company that had long hinted at this outcome. Fans of the show are now rallying on social media behind a worldwide campaign in hopes that their voices will be heard and their show will be saved.
[Read more on the events before and after cancellation in our other article : Warrior Nun Cancelled by Netflix to Fan Outrage]
It's known by many that the Sapphic community often gathers on social media platforms to make noise about their favorite shows and storylines. Online fandoms and fan accounts aren't new concepts, but the Sapphic community has earned a reputation for being especially loud. And, while entertainment media works slowly to distance itself from the "Bury Your Gays" trope that had pushed multiple online fanbases to "fight" the trend of queer character deaths in media, it is instead starting to seem like we are entering a new era of "Cancel Your Gays" following a shocking series of cancelled queer shows in 2022. Thus, It's no surprise to see fans reacting with, if I may, more relentless outrage than we've seen from fanbases in past eras.
In 2022, we witnessed the launch of numerous fan campaigns organized to try to save or renew shows that featured Sapphic stories. Many among them are still active to this day, including Motherland Forth Salem, First Kill, Gentleman Jack, Warrior Nun, and many others.
Warrior Nun's cancellation seems to have struck a particular nerve to its general audience as well as its outraged queer viewers, as many unexpected fans and allies of the show have joined the fight online. These include public personas, journalists at major publishers, and celebrities, like Snooki, Forbe's writer Paul Trassi, U.S. civil rights attorney and politician James Thompson, and Data Scientist Chrisopher Penn, who have all shown their displeasure and confusion alongside fans regarding the cancellation. Their support has ranged from outrage and support on social media to post card campaigns, articles, and data collection and analyses for the series. Overall, the consensus between them and the show's fanbase seems to be that Netflix's decision to cancel the show is outrageous.
A Campaign That Started Way Before Show’s Cancellation
Warrior Nun's uncertain future was picked up on by the fans and the cast and crew long before the release of the second season in November 2022. The notable lack of marketing and the ever-growing series of cancellations of Sapphic shows only added to the growing concern that pushed the fanbase to mobilize on social media efforts as early as the release of the trailer in mid October 2022.
At that time, mere days after the trailer release and a month before season 2’s premiere date, Simon Barry (series creator and showrunner) tweeted tips on ways fans could help ensure a third season, implying a potential fight the fandom would have to partake in to support the show, as it was becoming clear that they would need to promote the show themselves.
To this, the fans' reaction was to amplify their use of #WarriorNun and #WarriorNuns2, while organizing synchronized twitter power hours to expand the show's reach and attract a bigger audience. Season 1 watch parties were also organized among small groups and fandom group chats in order to boost views in hopes that Netflix would at least push the series to new viewers on its own platform.
Source: Twitter @SimonDavisBarry & @Sapphire_Soc
A shift in hashtags naturally occurred following the second season's release, and fans were then flooding Twitter with #RenewWarriorNun #WarriorNunS3 #WarriorNun3 alongside tweets imploring Netflix to renew the show for a third season. From the limited understanding and knowledge we have on the metrics Netflix uses to determine whether or not a series is renewed, viewing hours accumulated in the first month are apparently crucial. In its best attempt to make a large impact on these numbers, the fandom proceeded in an exhausting 33 days of continued rewatches of both seasons, all the while partaking in constant online discussion, promotion, and support of the series.
Regardless of the complete lack of marketing, the series had to compete for viewers with multiple major Netflix releases in that same month, including Wednesday, 1899, Manifest, and Dead to Me. And yet, the collective fan effort and natural interest in the show based on fan promotion, brought incredible results and kept the show's second season in Netflix's Global Top 10 for 3 weeks. They even managed to bring season 1 into the Global Top 10 during that second week. All of this, and the Rotten Tomato's ratings, proved the popularity of the show and the dedication of its fanbase, and highlights the absurdity of the show's ultimate cancellation.
Current Milestones Show This Campaign to be Impressively Effective
On the day of the cancellation, the #RenewWarriorNun, now #SaveWarriorNun Petition had accumulated around 3,000 signatures, which was already an impressive number as the campaign wasn’t fully organized just yet. Five days later, the same petition was reaching the 75,000 signature milestone. At the time of writing, January 24th, there is a total count of 110,240 signatures, and the number continues to increase.
Although the petition shows excellent support from the fans and how much interest there is in a third season, the most impressive measurements are related to the campaign's constant battle raging online for media and public attention. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, this fandom is relentless. The worldwide media presence gives an obvious advantage, as it seems, no matter the hour, asi if there are always people awake for the fight. Between the fans and cast/crew members, the campaign's #SaveWarriorNun keeps being used daily on countless posts across media platforms. Today, the main hashtag counts no less than 7.6M and has trended in 37 countries as well as worldwide.
Adding to the noise, the campaign is sharing trend phrases, which aim to get eye-catching quotes and demands trending online. Since that decision, many key phrases were seen trending in countries' top trending pages, entertainment categories, and worldwide. To date, two of them really stood out;
NETFLIX FREE WARRIOR NUN at 119k tweets 24hrs
NETFLIX CORRECT YOUR MISTAKE at 6.8M tweets 24hrs
The latter earned itself over 20 articles covering the trend on the following day, almost all of them citing Warrior Nun's cancellation as the inciting cause. There's no doubt about the power behind the collective effort's media reach (and outreach), as, without having precisely counted, over 120 articles have spoken on the show's cancellation and fan outrage in the less than two months since it occurred. Among them can be found large and far-reaching publications such as Forbes, Time, Independent, Collider, and much more...
Let's now continue with latest and boldest move the campaign has accomplished so far. There's no way to write an article covering the fan movement without mentioning the campaign's purchase of a large billboard placed no place other than across the street from LA's Netflix headquarters. The billboard has also earned its fair share of articles, giving the campaign the boost it needs to keep pushing. It should also be noted that the billboard went up on the 38th day of the campaign, which is a quick and impressive feat.
Obviously it's only my opinion, but the show's metrics and all of these incredible fan actions are pretty convincing on the importance of the series and its popularity. Streamers would be foolish not to at least consider looking into the matter of buying the rights for this series.
The Holy War Movement, A New Initiative
Although there are some fragmented groups here and there working on side projects or movements, it seems that they're all linked together, one way or another, under the main campaign. While collecting my information to write this article, I had the pleasure to speak with both minds behind one of these independent operations.
The ‘Holy War Movement' was slowly hinted in a series of short teaser clips on twitter, from January 14th to 18th, before officially launching on the 19th with its own twist on the Flat Stanley Project. To respect the decision to keep this movement a secret, maximizing the 'big impact' on the fanbase, members were asked to help with keeping its growth in the shadows until the launch.
Source: Twitter @Holywarmovement
To write this part of the article, I had the opportunity to ask a series of questions to the creators of the project in the context of a short written interview.
When it comes to logistics and the work behind the scenes, a simple look at the movement reveals that fan action to save and support the show began way before its public launch date. When did the project really start? "Since the 14th of December.” …more
“Officially and for social media purposes, our project started at the beginning of January, which is when we started reaching out to potential members to help us on our journey. Although, I’d say it actually started the day after the series’ cancellation. The Holy War Team magically had the same idea of doing a global project, where we could involve the whole fandom, from all over the world, and showcase its international presence. So, you could say that our project was always on our minds since the 14th of December.”
__________ How long would you say this movement will last, if not a continuous effort? "Probably up till mid February." …more
"The HOLY WAR MOVEMENT project should last until February 14th. However, our Instagram, TikTok and Twitter accounts will stay active to fight for the renewal of the series. So we can expect surprises in the future."
__________ Knowing that there's already a group working on a main campaign, why did you start this paralleled movement? "We started the project because we wanted a global movement," …more
"We wanted inclusion. The first thing we thought together was about having the widest possible reach, everywhere, no matter where you are. We want to be seen and heard and maybe, who knows, reach Father Simon. In addition, we wanted interaction from the entire fandom, like a real war to be fought by all. Our goal was to bring the OCS back, with new recruits, ready for battle. The intention is to fight for what we love and want, which is to save Warrior Nun."
__________ How would you define the movement and what is the purpose? "We define the movement as powerful and loving." …more
"It's a long war and we need to be strong. It's hard, it's tiring, but we need to fight. Even though it's a war, the most important thing is that we're fighting together. We are saving our sisters. Strength and love need to be present. One does not exist without the other. Unity is the key word in all aspects of the movement."
From what I've gathered so far, this project is pretty secretive, what can you say about what’s coming without revealing too much?
"Be prepared to be amazed by the movement. If you dream of living in the Warrior Nun universe, keep following the project's trajectory."
Finally, what do you want to tell the readers about your movement?
"You are being heard and you are being seen. Thanks for your commitment and participation in the HOLY WAR MOVEMENT. We are extremely grateful. The intention of the Holy War is not to give up the fight and if you lack strength, we'll make you stronger. If you lack skill, we will help you by showing you the way. If you feel alone in battle, we'll give you love. They can't beat us, not together."
The last question that remains to cover is; why are these fans so invested, and what makes Warrior Nun the Show to fight for?
Let's finish this article the right way! I've asked this question to campaign members, to which I've received so many heart whelming responses. Here's some of them:
“For me, I rarely was able to fall for a show as quickly and easily as for Warrior Nun (coming from someone who gets bored easily) . The show makes it so easy to fall in love with and get hooked. With the filmography, the amazing, lovable, talented and diverse cast members, the music, the story and even the world building the series is just purely amazing. You can really feel everyone involved love the show and I've never seen any other show similar in this way. Where not only the fans are in the move, but also the cast members and the production team too. Also, I hate an unfinished story, so I joined the holy war to get the story finished and give everyone, that loved the show as much as me, a chance to get a finish show. Lastly, I'm not a part of lgbtq+, but I want to let them know that there are allies out them supporting them too.” -Ai Lily
“I saw Warrior Nun when it was first released, I liked the show and when I heard there was a second season I could not wait. In the time I waited I came out as a lesbian, and I watched a lot of shows on Netflix with LGBTQ+ representation in it. After First Kill was cancelled, I was a little bit angry but didn’t feel the need to fight for it. I was super exited when I heard that there would be a second season of Warrior Nun and immediately watched it and fell in love. As I am more active on social media, I heard that there was a chance Warrior Nun might get cancelled, and I heard about all the other wlw shows that got cancelled. I was really hoping for Warrior nun to get renewed, but when I heard it got cancelled, I was angry and sad. What made me even more mad was that Netflix announced a new Young Royals season not even 24 hours after the cancellation. And Warrior Nun wasn’t the first wlw show that got cancelled so I just had to fight for not only Warrior Nun but for all the future shows that might get cancelled.” -Twitter @nexopanter
“I decided to get into the fight because I felt seen and represented by the show, in a way that's rather rare. I know what it's like to feel like you hate what you are and the show manages to portray that in such a loving and careful way, that I've never really seen on television, let alone queer television. The fact that the characters are allowed to just be who they are and also be queer is so powerful to me and this show deserves to run for its entire arc so that more people have that chance to feel seen and represented on screen. That's why I'm doing it.”-Mara, twitter @maravelous917
“This show struck something in me that I haven't felt from a lot of shows. Being Christian and Queer is a horribly lonely path to walk, and I feel Beatrice's struggle in my soul. Her devotion to God but also Ava is a struggle I know many people go through who battle reconciling their faith and their orientation, and that representation MATTERS. In the show, they didn't belittle her faith, but used it in a way that made her stronger, and that resonated deeply with me. So I fight for the LGBTQ+ community but also for the queer folk struggling with their faith and place in the world.“ -Twitter @pyra_siwa
“I'll admit warrior nun may not objectively be the most perfect masterpiece of a show. it may not be as theoretically good as your classics such as Breaking bad, or in related genres, the avengers and etc. But why are there so many people, from all over the world, including me, choosing to fight for the show so ferociously? its simple. representation, and that sense of family. you could give me all the craziest and most flamboyant vfx effects, the most stunning visuals and maybe even the most surprising plot twist, and I wouldn't even begin to compare those to Warrior Nun. And that's because I have never, in my young queer asian life, seen so much of myself in a character on a show before (Beatrice). I have never, felt so safe for being myself, until I saw that she could be loved and celebrated. she could be someone of confidence, someone so strong. And the cherry on top? the fact that the cast, the crew, and the fandom, all feels like family to me. it feels like I somehow, fit. this is something you wouldn't find in any other show with huge artists and no representation. -Fawn, twitter @for_nunkind
I decided to fight in this Holy War because not every show brings to light, what Warrior Nun did to me. Most of the time I am hiding from the people that are close to me, because I know that they will not accept me for who I really am or I am scared that they will leave. This show has one of the best characters, played by actresses who put a lot of love in what they do, and the way they perform is telling a story. A story that deserves to continue and gives me a lot of courage in making a step. I have watched a lot of TV shows that were canceled and I chosen to make a step to save Warrior Nun, because this show saved me. I might not be the most chatting person and I might still hiding, but I am ready to make a change, and I am ready to speak about how this show changed my life. I am happy that I fight in the Holy War, because I found a family. A family that is ready to make a change. -Alex, Twitter @Alexand01964933
On a last note, I think it is safe to say that Warrior Nun is a show unlike any other, and its cancellation is clearly making a lot of noise in media. Let's hope it'll be enough to make things shift. Seeing the continued fan effort added to the immense demand for s3 (currently, according to Parrot Analytics, Warrior Nun is still among the most in demand shows in the US), any Streaming Platform would benefit a lot from picking the series up and completing its story. It's unfortunate that Netflix wasn't able to see it for themselves.
Join the fight and learn even more on how you can help on the official Save Warrior Nun website.
Or stay up to date with the Show's Metrics and Campaign Numbers.