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Though it wasn’t a major ratings hit when it first aired from 2002-8, HBO crime drama The Wire is now widely regarded as one of the greatest TV show of all time. It also has the honor of being named former President Barack Obama‘s favorite show.

Now Dominic West, who starred in all five seasons as homicide detective Jimmy McNulty, has revealed that a feature-length spin-off was once mooted by creator David Simon.

“We were talking about maybe a movie of The Wire for a while,” he told Empire. “[David Simon] said it would have to be a prequel, but we were all looking a little long in the tooth.”

West’s co-stars in The Wire included John Doman, Frankie R. Faison, Deirdre Lovejoy, Wendell Pierce, and of course Idris Elba, who played housing developer-cum-drug kingpin Russell “Stringer” Bell. West also revealed that once plans for a prequel movie fell through, David Simon considering reuniting the cast for a new story exploring the early years of Louis Armstrong.

According to West, it would have been “a crime story set in New Orleans that was not a Wire film, but would feature the entire Wire cast.”

Ah, what might have been. If it’s any consolation, West is due to return to TV next year in Stateless, a miniseries about Australia’s onshore immigration detention regime co-created by and starring the great Cate Blanchett.

Would you like to have seen a The Wire prequel movie?

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By Nick Levine