6 Things We Know About The OA Season 2
Yesterday, Netflix announced that it was renewing Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij’s controversial show The OA for a second season, and released a teaser trailer that has glimpses of the Golden Gate Bridge and the word survived in Braille:
It’s an appropriately mysterious peek at 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. Will we see Homer again, find out if there’s an FBI conspiracy, or learn more movements in season two? Most importantly, will mental_floss make another cameo? So far, Marling and Batmanglij aren’t saying much. Here's what we do know.
1. IT’S CALLED “PART TWO.”
In an 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 Two."
2. THEY KNOW HOW THE SECOND SEASON WILL START—AND END.
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 THR, “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, 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!
3. IT WILL LIKELY EXPLORE THE FIRST SEASON’S SCIENCE FICTION ELEMENTS 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. “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.”
4. THERE WILL BE ANSWERS TO SOME OF THE SERIES’ MOST PRESSING QUESTIONS.
Marling told Marie Claire 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 don’t expect any hints from either Marling or Batmanglij. 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 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.
5. MOST OF THE CAST DOESN'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT (OR IF THEY DO, THEY'RE NOT TALKING).
The cast had to sign standard seven season-long contracts, but that doesn't mean they were all necessarily clued in to what would happen after the first season. Sharon Van Etten, who plays Rachel, one of Prairie’s fellow captives, told Billboard that “I can honestly say that they haven’t told me anything. I don’t know if anything happens next or what happens next. If they do something, I would love to be a part of it. I definitely want to know what happens to my character.” Brendan Meyer, who plays Jesse, tweeted, "I actually know very little about where the story is going!"
But some of the actors have theories: Patrick Gibson, who plays Steve, told Newsweek, "I fully geeked out and became a complete nerd on this. When I watched it, I’m like: 'What does this mean?' I’ve got my own theory but I’ll keep it close to my chest.” Phyllis Smith, who plays teacher Betty Broderick-Allen, told Vulture, "Who knows what the second season will be, if we have a second season, but my stance is that [Brit Marling’s character] truly was an angel and we’ll see how it goes from there."
6. THEY HAVEN’T STARTED WORKING ON IT YET.
Netflix hasn’t announced a timeline for the release of the second season, and Batmanglij said that work on it hasn’t yet begun. But according to Jason Isaacs, who plays Hap, our parallel universe-living selves are much luckier:
In a parallel world you've already seen it. https://t.co/U9anaP82OQ
— Jason Isaacs (@jasonsfolly) February 8, 2017