7 Things We Know About The OA Season 2

Netflix
Netflix

It's been two years since Netflix announced that it was renewing Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij’s controversial show The OA for a second season. At the time, they released a teaser trailer that had glimpses of the Golden Gate Bridge and the word survived in Braille. Today, they dropped a trailer for the second season, which will debut March 22. The tagline? "No one survives alone."

It's an appropriately mysterious trailer for a show that left viewers guessing about whether or not the tale Prairie (Marling) told—which included near-death experiences, being held captive against her will, movements that open a door to another dimension, and angels—was even real. Here's what we do know about The OA's second season.

1. The second season is titled The OA: Part II.

In a 2016 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Batmanglij explained that The OA’s unusual format—which features episodes of varying lengths—was inspired by novels. “We wanted to take what we love about a novel and the novelistic experience and put it on the long-format series experience—not having all the characters in the first hour, not having all the chapters be the same length,” he said. “Could you imagine if the chapters of a book were all the same length? It would be funny. So we thought to ourselves about those constraints. Also, novels are often about something. They have an intention that the writer is trying to get across, and I think both Brit and I felt that we wanted to do that, too. We wanted to try to say something that we believed in.” He told Esquire that, “I think the novel analogy works really well; it's a novel, but it could easily be a series of novels. And I think it would be best as a series of novels!”

That helped guide the co-creators when they decided what to call the second season. “We always thought of [the parts of the OA] almost like books, and there could be many different volumes,” Marling said in an interview with Vulture when asked about why the new season would be called "Part II."

2. Part of The OA: Part II takes place in a different dimension than the first.

Brit Marling in 'The OA'
Netflix

In the trailer above, Prairie—who claimed she could open another dimension—awakens in the hospital to find herself in a parallel universe. According to Entertainment Weekly, Prairie has "successfully transported her consciousness into an alternate-universe version of herself"—a rich Russian heiress who was never a captive and was never experimented on. (Although, according to the official synopsis, she does "once again [find] herself as Hap’s captive.")

"It was really delicious to dive back into a realm you had been intimate with and land in the body of someone who had not been through all the experiences we watch Prairie go through in Part I,” Marling told Entertainment Weekly. Prairie's friends, meanwhile, are back in the dimension she left behind.

3. The OA: Part II was "carefully planned."

Shortly after the first season of The OA debuted without warning on Netflix, Batmanglij told Esquire that, although he and Marling “wanted [season one] to be its own standalone piece,” they “didn't want to go into it without having the larger picture planned out—I think the audience can always tell that, or feel it.” As he told The Hollywood Reporter, “This is a story that’s carefully planned … When we started, Brit and I spent two or three years conceiving of a whole world before we brought it to anybody, before it ever left our bedrooms.”

Marling assured THR—and fans of the show—that “there is an answer to every riddle and nothing is done to just be sound and fury going nowhere. It all goes somewhere.”

The goal, she explained to Entertainment Weekly in 2017, was to create a show that could stand up to the scrutiny of the internet age. “Now you can stop and start, you can watch it three times, you can screengrab and share it and be on Reddit,” she said. “So you have to have a narrative that’s robust enough to live up to that expectation. So we really tried to think about that and make sure every image and every frame was honest, and if we should get more than one season out, you could go back and watch the first season again and go, 'It was all there.'”

Which, of course, meant they had a clear picture of the second season: “There is a place that season two already begins in our minds and a place in which it ends,” she said. Hopefully this means we won’t have to wait too long for it!

4. The OA: Part II explores the first season's sci-fi roots more deeply.

“The first part is the story of a young woman who is traumatized and tells a group of boys this story and in so doing, allows them to face a moment of their own crisis at the end,” Marling explained to Vulture in 2017. “That is the self-contained story, but the more science fiction metaphysical threads are open-ended, so there can be a part 2 in which we can dive into those spaces.”

5. The OA: Part II involves a missing teenager—and a mysterious house.

Brit Marling and Kingsley Ben-Adir in The OA
Brit Marling and Kingsley Ben-Adir in 'The OA: Part II'
Netflix

The original cast is back, but The OA: Part II also adds Kingsley Ben-Adir (Peaky Blinders, Vera) as private investigator Karim Washington, who is looking for a missing teenager named Michelle Vu who was playing some kind of online game when she vanished. According to the synopsis, "His path crosses with OA, as they try to solve the mystery of Michelle’s whereabouts and a house on Nob Hill connected to the disappearance of several teenagers." In the trailer, the house is described as a place where everyone "either comes up cracked up or doesn't come out at all."

6. The OA: Part II found inspiration in film noir.

As Batmanglij told Entertainment Weekly, “We think of Part II as very much a noir. We wanted to come in through the character of a cynical detective. Films like The Big Sleep didn’t seem antiquated [when they came out]. They were very modern. That’s why we thought, ‘What better place than San Francisco and the tech world to set a noir today?’”

7. There will be answers to some of The OA's most pressing questions.

Marling told Marie Claire in 2016 that “there are answers to all of the questions. That's the delicious thing about the gap between seasons. People watch and take it in, revel in the mystery, argue about it online. And then, if they should be so lucky, the storytellers get to meet the audience when the story continues.”

But neither Marling or Batmanglij gave any hints. In 2016, when asked by Rolling Stone about some of the most discussed questions left lingering from season one, Batmanglij was coy. Kahtun’s realm is “not purgatory—or maybe it is. It's supposed to be something specific … I don't think anyone's picked up on what it is just quite yet.” Was the FBI agent who randomly shows up in the Johnsons' home in the last episode of the first season planting evidence? “I'm just glad people are asking that question. I was hoping they would be, and they are. [But] I can't tell you just yet.” Are the books under Prairie’s bed an indication that she’s lying? “There are two obvious options and unlimited other options why those exist. One is, if you're traumatized by something, you might read up on it. But there's also a more cynical perspective that she was using those books to tell a story.”

Translation: You’re just going to have to tune in to find out. To see what happens, watch The OA: Part II on Netflix on March 22.

A version of this story ran in 2017.

The Very Real Events That Inspired Game of Thrones's Red Wedding

Peter Graham's After the Massacre of Glencoe
Peter Graham's After the Massacre of Glencoe
Peter Graham, Google Cultural Institute, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Ask any Game of Thrones fan to cite a few of the show's most shocking moments, and the so-called "Red Wedding" from season 3's "The Rains of Castamere" episode will likely be at the top of their list. The events that unfolded during the episode shocked fans because of their brutality, but what might be even more surprising to know is that the episode was based on very real events.

Author George R.R. Martin has said that the inspiration for the matrimonial bloodbath is based on two dark events in Scottish history: the Black Dinner of 1440 and 1692's Massacre of Glencoe. “No matter how much I make up, there’s stuff in history that’s just as bad, or worse,” Martin told Entertainment Weekly in 2013. And he’s absolutely right. See for yourself.

The Massacre of Glencoe

The West Highland Way in 2005, view from the summit of the Devil's Staircase looking south over the east end of Glen Coe, towards Buachaille Etive Mòr with Creise and Meall a' Bhuiridh beyond
Colin Souza, Edited by Dave Souza, CC BY-SA 2.5, Wikimedia Commons

In 1691, all Scottish clans were called upon to renounce the deposed King of Scotland, James VII, and swear allegiance to King William of Orange (of William and Mary fame). The chief of each clan had until January 1, 1692, to provide a signed document swearing an oath to William. The Highland Clan MacDonald had two things working against them here. First of all, the Secretary of State, John Dalrymple, was a Lowlander who loathed Clan MacDonald. Secondly, Clan MacDonald had already sworn an oath to James VII and had to wait on him to send word that they were free to break that oath.

Unfortunately, it was December 28 before a messenger arrived with this all-important letter from the former king. That gave Maclain, the chief of the MacDonald clan, just three days to get the newly-signed oath to the Secretary of State.

Maclain was detained for days when he went through Inveraray, the town of the rival Clan Campbell, but still managed to deliver the oath, albeit several days late. The Secretary of State’s legal team wasn't interested in late documents. They rejected the MacDonalds's sworn allegiance to William, and set plans in place to cut the clan down, “root and branch.”

In late January or early February, 120 men under the command of Captain Robert Campbell arrived at the MacDonalds's in Glencoe, claiming to need shelter because a nearby fort was full. The MacDonalds offered their hospitality, as was custom, and the soldiers stayed there for nearly two weeks before Captain Drummond arrived with instructions to “put all to the sword under seventy.”

After playing cards with their victims and wishing them goodnight, the soldiers waited until the MacDonalds were asleep ... then murdered as many men as they could manage. In all, 38 people—some still in their beds—were killed. At least 40 women and children escaped, but fleeing into a blizzard blowing outside as their houses burned down meant that they all died of exposure.

The massacre was considered especially awful because it was “Slaughter Under Trust.” To this day, the door at Clachaig Inn in Glen Coe has a sign on the door that says "No hawkers or Campbells."

The Black Dinner

In November of 1440, the newly-appointed 6th Earl of Douglas, who was just 16, and his little brother David, were invited to join the 10-year-old King of Scotland, James II, for dinner at Edinburgh Castle. But it wasn’t the young King who had invited the Douglas brothers. The invitation had been issued by Sir William Crichton, Chancellor of Scotland, who feared that the Black Douglas (there was another clan called the Red Douglas) were growing too powerful.

As legend has it, the children were all getting along marvelously, enjoying food, entertainment and talking until the end of the dinner, when the head of a black bull was dropped on the table, symbolizing the death of the Black Douglas. The two young Douglases were dragged outside, given a mock trial, found guilty of high treason, and beheaded. It’s said that the Earl pleaded for his brother to be killed first so that the younger boy wouldn’t have to witness his older brother’s beheading.

Sir Walter Scott wrote this of the horrific event:

"Edinburgh Castle, toune and towre,
God grant thou sink for sin!
And that e'en for the black dinner
Earl Douglas gat therein."

This article has been updated for 2019.

15 Game of Thrones Products Every Fan Needs

Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan, HBO

Though Game of Thrones might be coming to its official end, that doesn’t mean that your fandom can’t—or won’t—carry on. Whether you’re a years-long defender of House Stark or have been rooting for House Targaryen since the beginning, there’s a candle, collectible pin, coffee mug, card game, and pretty much anything else you can imagine with your name (and preferred sigil) on it.

1. A Song of Ice and Fire Book Series; $46

Bantam's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' book series

Bantam, Amazon

If you’ve never read George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series upon which the series is based, plenty more Westerosi drama awaits. And just because you’ve seen every episode of the series 10 times doesn’t mean you know which way the books will turn. (The TV show diverged from their narrative a long time ago—and dozens of the characters who have been killed off on your television screen are still alive and well in the books.) Plus, as Martin has yet to complete the series, you may just catch up in time for the newest book.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Map Marker Wine Stopper Set; $50

Nobody solves a problem like Tyrion Lannister … and his thought process usually includes copious amounts of wine (Dornish if you’ve got it). Something tells us you’re going need some vino yourself to get through the giant, hour-long hole left in your Sunday nights once Game of Thrones officially ends. Make sure you don’t let a drop of it go to waste by keeping one of these six wine stoppers—each one carved to represent the sigil of the most noble houses in the Seven Kingdoms—handy.

Buy it: HBO Shop or BoxLunch

3. Winterfell Coffee Mug; $25

If coffee is more your speed—we get it: the night is dark and full of terrors—this simple-yet-elegant Winterfell mug is an easy way to communicate to your co-workers why you’re typically a little bleary-eyed on Monday mornings.

Buy it: HBO Shop

4. Hodor Door Stop; $12

A 3D-printed Hodor door stop, inspired by 'Game of Thrones'

3D Cauldron, Amazon

An important part of being a Game of Thrones fan is accepting that showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff have no problem killing off your favorite characters, often in brutal ways. One of the series’ most memorable deaths was that of Hodor, Bran Stark’s personal mode of transport, who we loved despite the fact that the only word he ever uttered for six seasons was “Hodor”—and who we loved even more when, in the final moments of his life, we learned why that was the case. Pay tribute to the gentle giant, and his backstory, with this 3D-printed door stop.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Tarot Card Deck; $25

A 'Game of Thrones' tarot card deck, from Chronicle Books

Chronicle Books, Amazon

Channel your inner Maggy the Frog and see what the future holds for you and your loved ones (your enemies, too, if the mood strikes you) with Chronicle Books’s gorgeously packaged tarot card deck. The tarot tradition and Game of Thrones mythology blend seamlessly together in this box of goodies, which includes an instruction book and illustrated cards featuring your favorite characters and most beloved scenes from the show.

Buy it: Amazon or Chronicle Books

6. Fire and Blood Candle; $12

Mad Queen or not, show that you still stand behind the Mother of Dragons by filling your home with this House Targaryen-inspired votive candle. Best of all: Just wait to see the look on the faces of your guests when they ask “Mmmm … what’s that smell?” If you’d prefer not to answer with “fire and blood—doesn’t it smell delicious?,” there are other scents available: one called "Moon of My Life My Sun and Stars," another called "Be a Dragon," and one inspired by the Iron Throne itself (which must smell like victory).

Buy it: HBO Shop

7. Clue: Game of Thrones; $50

Margaery Tyrell with the battle axe in Cersei’s bedchambers. Rewrite the rules—and brutal deaths—of Game of Thrones with this special edition of the classic board game, which tasks you with figuring out who murdered whom, using what weapon, and where the incident took place. A double-sided playing board lets you choose whether you want to set the game in The Red Keep or Meereen.

Buy it: HBO Shop or BoxLunch

8. Game of Thrones Monopoly; $24

'Game of Thrones Monopoly' game board

Hasbro, Amazon

Who wants to be the Lord or Lady of Winterfell when you can become the preeminent real estate mogul of all the Seven Kingdoms? This special-edition Monopoly board puts a distinctly Westerosian twist on the classic game, with silver tokens to represent the sigils of each of the main houses and a card holder that plays the series’ haunting score whenever you press it.

Buy it: Amazon or Best Buy

9. House Stark Hoodie; $60

If you really wanted to dress like a Stark, you’d have a master blacksmith on hand to help customize your armor—or at least turn your IKEA rug into a luxurious cape. If you’re far less crafty, there’s always this full-zip hoodie featuring an embroidered direwolf on the front and an outlined illustration of the same on the back. The minimalist design is a way to show your fandom in a way that, to the untrained eye, might just look like you’re a fan of wolves. But the rest of us will know better. And approve.

Buy it: ThinkGeek

10. Deluxe Iron Throne Funko Pop! Set; $130

Funko's Iron Throne Pop! set of five

Funko, HBO Shop

Though it seems unlikely that a few of these characters will ever sit on the Iron Throne (either because they’re dead or have gone mad), a fan can always hope. And buying them as part of this five-piece set is an easy way to collect them all. If you don’t see your favorite character here, Amazon has got plenty more squat-headed figures to choose from, including Arya, Brienne of Tarth, Rhaegal (poor Rhaegal), and Ghost (poor Ghost). If you ever happen upon a headless Ned Stark Pop!, grab it; this hard-to-find figure can sell for more than $2000 on eBay.

Buy it: HBO Shop

11. Iron Throne Bookend; $60

After devoting more than eight years of your life to seeing Game of Thrones all the way through, maybe it’s you who deserves the Iron Throne. You can’t sit on this 7.5-inch replica, the base of which features sigils from all the noble houses, but you can show off your fancy George R.R. Martin book collection … or all that dragon fan fiction you’ve been working on.

Buy it: Best Buy or the HBO Shop

12. Game of Thrones Music Box; $13

'Game of Thrones' music box

Shenzhen Youtang Trade Co., Amazon

Channel your inner Arya by psyching yourself up with the iconic Game of Thrones theme song whenever you feel the need to hear it with this hand-cranked music box.

Buy it: Amazon

13. Iron Throne Tankard; $70

Show your guests who's boss at your next dinner party—or raucous feast—as you take your place at the head of the table and guzzle your mead (or giant's milk—we don't judge) from this Iron Throne-themed tankard, completed with sword handle.

Buy it: HBO Shop

14. Game of Thrones Socks; $8

It gets cold in the North. Keep your tootsies warm with this six-pack of stylish ankle-cut socks.

Buy it: Target

15. Living Language Dothraki; $16

A copy of the Living Language Dothraki language course

Living Language, Amazon

By now, you've surely learned at least a handful of common Dothraki words and phrases. But if you wan to become fluent in the (fictional) language, this language course is one way to do it. Now: Finne zhavvorsa anni?

Buy it: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER