Known plans for Season 5 included working from the new Underground Sanctuary and the long awaited for return of fan-favorite series regular character Ashley Magnus. Amanda Tapping has stated in several interviews and at convention panels that Helen had found a way to save her daughter during her 113 year trip back through time without interfering with the course of the natural timeline. Amanda had conferred with Emilie about this, to which she was on board to reprise her character. Unfortunately the show was cancelled before this plan could be filmed and shown in-universe. 
- How Magnus Could Have Saved Ashley
The set up for this already exists in-universe as seen in Episode 2x03 - "Eulogy" when Helen is searching for a way Ashley could have potentially survived her supposedly fatal teleport. In her search, Helen's analysis of the computer recordings from the EM field that night show that it had detected an unexplained weakening in the Shield at the exact moment Ashley teleported at 18:29 Hours; possibly letting her pass through the barrier. Neither Will nor Helen could figure out the real reason for why it had occurred outside of throwing around personal theories. None of Helen's tests showed that Ashley landed just outside of the Sanctuary or anywhere inside the building, nor still potentially stuck in the EM Shield's buffer system. (All of this evidence just simply supports that Ashley isn't physically 'there' at the Old City Sanctuary anymore, not necessarily that she's also been disintegrated.)
When Helen went back in time, she absolutely knew that she could not directly interfere or stop terrible things from happening; having to let things play out as any noticeable change could derail the course of natural history. Being that Future-Helen was able to secretively create the Underground Sanctuary by cleverly weaving her way through time to build it, it is possible that Future-Helen knowing about Ashley's teleport had intentionally interfered with the EM Shield to create a tiny 'hole', snatching Ashley's energy signal mid-teleport, to redirect her to land at the new Sanctuary; keeping her hidden there for the next three years until after the end of Season 4 where she would have finally been revealed on-screen in Season 5.
This theory is highly plausible to have occurred as Ashley being alive for all of this time wouldn't interfere with history, as she has still been physically removed from the known events of the Sanctuary timeline by having her live underground instead; most likely spending her time there helping her mother operate the new Sanctuary.
Several factors had culminated into the ultimate decision by SyFy to officially cancel of the show, preventing Sanctuary from having a fifth season.
- Factors to Take into Account
- Independently Financed
Sanctuary is a completely privately financed TV series; not funded by large production companies like the mass amounts of other regular TV shows. During the time the web series was transitioning into becoming a TV series, due to running out of money from not making enough revenue back from viewer webisode purchases as the show was heavily pirated across the internet, Sanctuary creators had to sell the mass majority (if not all) of the show's rights to their private financier "The Beedie Group" (an industrial development company - who were fans of the science fiction genre) in order for them to continue to invest heavily in the show as a single TV episode of Sanctuary typically cost $2 million in production expenditures; they had already invested at least $5 million into the webisodes.
- Parent Company
SyFy's parent company NBC Universal had been recently acquired by Comcast on January 28th, 2011. Because of recent changes in ownership and other ongoing trade-dealings etc., by the time early-2012 rolled around for the usual television show renewal process and announcements, SyFy was put on hold; not being able to green-light series productions. SyFy itself wanted to renew Sanctuary for a fifth season consisting of six episodes. 
- Note: Around this time, Networks had started a new practice to give popular shows 6-episode final seasons in order to wrap up storylines; so as to not end on a cliffhanger that would frustrate audiences.
Even though all other international markets had wanted to see Sanctuary continue and had agreed on a fifth season renewal, the Beedie Group would not move forward without a confirmation of backing support from the major US market.
- Lease Renewal
At the same time Sanctuary was stalled on renewal from SyFy, the lease for the building the show used to film in had come up for renewal as well. To continue to use the building, The Beedie Group would have to sign a new contract to rent the property for a span of 3 more years.
- Decision From The Beedie Group
Due to the uncertainly of renewal caused by delayed response from SyFy, eventually hearing back (too late) from SyFy about having only a 6-episode long Season 5, and having to sign a 3-year lease to rent the property, the Beedie Group made the financial decision to stem their losses by altogether pulling their funding and not resigning the lease; effectively putting an end to the production of the tv series. 
- Note: Sanctuary was a passion project for the Beedie group and not the company's primary focus nor did the show have a large sum in ROI; waning the groups interest in providing continued finance. Many cast and crew penny-pinched the entire run of the series, volunteering portions of their pay to go back into the show as they valued the experience to work on the project more so than their monetary compensation for their time and efforts. A notable example of this was Amanda Tapping who took a small pay as an actor and donated her added pay for being an Executive Producer. When the decision to not to renew the lease occurred, the cast and crew were suddenly left on short notice with a mad-rush of 3 days to vacate and clear out all of their belongings and show items, etc. from the entire building and offices. Many of the show items / props that were saved were donated to the charity organization "Sanctuary For Kids" and auctioned off in order to raise funds.
- Announcement from SyFy
Now that the show had lost their location space and their major financial backer(s), SyFy in turn had to announce the cancellation of the series on May 21st, 2012.
The Future of Sanctuary
Due to The Beedie Group owning the rights to the Sanctuary IP, they control the release and dissemination of Sanctuary related materials. Even though Damian Kindler, Martin Wood, and Amanda Tapping had wanted to officially release original music created for the show by Andrew Lockington, they couldn't move forward with the plan without approval. Any future seasons, web-series, movies, spin-offs, reboots, comics, books, apps, video games, etc. with the Sanctuary IP are essentially dead-in-the-water unless the Beedie Group are willing to either sell the rights or decide to get re-involved with the project.
References, External Links, and Websites
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 YouTube - Chris Heyerdahl Armageddon 2012 VIP Panel
23:43 - 23:59 Sanctuary was filmed in an old bicycle factory assembly warehouse for Norco bicycles.
41:14 - 45:01 Everything was saved on-set for each season until funding is secured last minute. Syfy finally given thumbs up for 6 episodes. Beedies didn’t want to put more money in. To do anything with IP, Beedies would have to want to put money in or sell for ~$45 million.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 YouTube - Denver Starfest 2014 Interview
3:15 - 4:17 Cancellation due to lease and financing / Syfy late on deciding.
4:43 - 5:18 The hope for season 5 to find Ashley at the new Sanctuary.
- ↑ YouTube - Amanda Tapping at Fan Expo, August 2012. Part 2/3
10:23 - 11:34 Emilie not able to return twice previously due to scheduling conflicts, but Amanda wanted her back for Season 5, still resolute that she never wanted the character written off.
- ↑ YouTube - Amanda Tapping VIP panel Part 3 Armageddon Expo Auckland 2011
14:53 - 17:51 Ashley could return but nothing could change (Magnus couldn’t interfere or stop bad events) that we “see” until once you get to the new sanctuary. Magnus weaving her way through time.
- ↑ YouTube - Armageddon 2011 Auckland Amanda Tapping 1/2
24:32 – 26:03 Ashley return next season in an organic way that made sense.
- ↑ YouTube - Amanda Tapping VIP 2011 Part 2
3:35 - 4:18 Independently financed show.
- ↑ Wikipedia - Comcast / NBC Universal
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 YouTube - Amanda Tapping Saturday Panel Shore Leave 2013 Part 1
5:26 - 7:27 Sanctuary Cancelled. 3 days to clear out. IP controlled by financiers. Comcast/Syfy issues.
- ↑ YouTube - Amanda Tapping VIP Panel Armageddon Expo Auckland 2011 - Part 1
6:21 - 6:38 Soundtrack release controlled by IP holder financier.
6:41-8:35 Story arc writing time maybe 1 month. Money to script from financiers.