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‘Shōgun’ Season 2: Everything We Know

‘Shōgun’ Season 2: Everything We Know
‘Shōgun’ Season 2: Everything We Know

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Spoilers for Shōgun season 1 ahead.

Since the electrifying conclusion of FX’s hit limited series Shōgun, questions about a potential second season have lingered—and now intensified—with a new report that star and producer Hiroyuki Sanada has signed on to reprise his role as Lord Yoshii Toranaga.

According to Deadline, Sanada has agreed to return to the show, in which his character battles to become a military dictator in 17th-century Japan. But sources tell the publication that “other elements are still being worked out and deals are being finalized” in an effort to extend Shōgun, which was only meant to last a single season. Making such a move would throw a compelling wrench into this year’s Emmys race, with the show potentially competing as a drama rather than a limited series. Vanity Fair has reached out to reps for FX for comment.

Adapted from the 1975 James Clavell novel by co-creators Justin Marks and Rachel Kondo, Shōgun has been a runaway hit since its February debut. “Ultimately, the audience gets to decide whether it’s something they want,” FX CEO John Landgraf previously told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that a follow-up would have to be “big and detailed as well as really deep in terms of character and the human condition.” Given its critical acclaim and commercial popularity—the series beat season two of The Bear as the most-watched Hulu premiere ever—it’s clear that appetite for the show is high.

Ahead, a look at everything we know—and have yet to learn—about a potential second season of Shōgun.

Who will return for season 2 of Shōgun?

So far, only Sanada’s name has been mentioned in reports about a possible return to the series. As the actor previously told Vanity Fair, “The novel’s events finish with our [finale], episode 10. If they want to make something more, it’s going to be totally original. Who knows? The model of Shōgun makes it easy to see what happened in real life, and then we can create an original story from then. Who knows? We have history.”

While Sanada has left the door open for a reprisal, the future is less clear for other characters, including Cosmo Jarvis’s Jack Blackthorne. He previously told VF about how difficult it was to leave the role behind at the end of filming for season one. “Blackthorne totally preoccupied and consumed me, and had for so long,” he said. “When it came to the final shot, it was just horrific, because it’s only then that I suppose Blackthorne had to be left behind and all of these adventures had to be left behind. And it was just kind of sad, you know? I suppose in a way it was relieving, but also, then you’re just another unemployed actor, and you don’t know what’s going to come next.”

There are at least a few beloved characters who will not return, as long as the second season follows a linear format. Tadanobu Asano’s Yabushige, who is sentenced to commit seppuku, a noble form of taking one’s own life, by Lord Toranaga in the finale. In the season’s penultimate episode, it is Anna Sawai’s Lady Mariko who meets her death in an act of similar sacrifice.

What will season 2 of Shōgun be about?

Marks confirmed early on that the first season of Shōgun would conclude “exactly where the book ends” and that he and Kondo “tell the complete story of the book” within its 10 episodes. But Clavell did write six books in his Asian Saga, including Shōgun, the third novel in his series. Each installment in the nonlinear sequence explores Europeans in Asia, with each centering on a different time period and location, spanning from Hong Kong to Iran.

If the creators were thinking purely chronologically, the next chapter of Shōgun would be Tai-Pan, the second novel in Clavell’s series, set in 1841 Hong Kong at the last gaps of the Opium War. Sanada’s potential involvement certainly suggests that at least his character would still be present in another iteration—even if the rest of the story assumed more of an anthology feel.

When does Shōgun season 2 come out?

Given that a renewal is purely speculative at this point, there’s no firm release date to share. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter last month, Marks noted the “long tail of postproduction” on the show, which could prolong the waiting period before a follow-up. “It’s not like a normal TV series, where if we were in a situation like this promoting it, we wouldn’t just be in the writers room already,” he explained. “We’d be on set shooting season two by now.”

This post will be updated.

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