If you breathlessly, obsessively watched the first season of Big Little Lies, you’re likely in one of two camps: the people who desperately want a second season and those on team “Don’t mess with perfection!” who are vehemently opposed. Either way, the passion peeps feel about this show is indicative of just how freaking good it is, especially for a seven-episode series that was initially marketed as little more than a soapy prime-time whodunnit. Instead, the stories were complex, the characters layered, and the subject matter—namely physical and emotional abuse, and sexual assault—tackled with sensitivity and brought to life by a stellar, mostly female cast including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley and Zoë Kravitz (who, P.S., cleaned up at every awards show since the show premiered.)
Since p. much the first episode, the rumour mill started churning out speculation about a possible second season, and the buzz only got louder after last spring’s finale. In December, HBO officially announced that Big Little Lies will return for a second season—thank goddess!—with Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon returning to their roles, and also to their executive producer posts. Other details, including a premiere date, have not been released, although The New York Times—citing an HBO statement—notes that most of season one cast will return.
But what else can we look forward to? Here, we break down everything we know about Big Little Lies Season 2.
Filming for Season 2 has officially begun!
The BLL cast is officially back. Members of the cast graced our IG feed with behind-the-scenes photos to mark the beginning of Season 2 filming. Zoë Kravitz and Shailene Woodley–a.k.a. Bonnie Carlson and Jane Chapman–each commemorated the return of their characters with a selfie. Laura Dern (Renata Klein) posted a *beautiful* sunrise snapshot of the set with the caption “I get to go to work to this?!” But the most exciting snap was one that was posted by Dern and Reese Witherspoon as their Big Little Lies characters Renata and Madeline Martha Mackenzie, sitting outside Seaside Coffee Shop. Each IG caption ended with the hashtag #BLL2. These insider snaps will have to hold us over, as HBO programming president Casey Bloys told The Hollywood Reporter in January that #BLL2 won’t air until 2019. *Booo*
Are you sitting down? Meryl Streep has joined the already-epic cast for Season 2
That’s right, the person WITH THE MOST OSCAR NOMINATIONS IN HISTORY (most recently for The Post) is offish going to be part of Season 2 of the HBO hit series. Streep will take on the role of Mary Louise Wright, the mother to Alexander Skarsgård’s Perry Wright, who (spoiler, duh), we all know met his death at the end of the first season. Streep’s character will join the ladies in Cali because she’s “concerned for the well-being of her grandchildren following her son Perry’s death,” HBO said. “Mary Louise arrives in Monterey searching for answers.”
Director Jean-Marc Vallée said “no way” to the sequel
The Montreal-born director, who previously worked with both Witherspoon and Dern on the film Wild, said he’d love to work with the two actresses again—but not on another season of Big Little Lies it seems. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Vallée said the BLL ending (WARNING: SPOILER AHEAD)—a detective watching the women frolicking on the beach through binoculars—was not an intentional way of leaving the series open to a sequel even though it differed from the book’s ending.
“No, it’s because we thought it would be an amazing way to finish it, to let the audience figure out and imagine on their own what might happen to these women. The detective might find something out, she might not. But these women have to live with this lie and they are okay with that. It’s not meant to revisit it or to allow another season. It’s the perfect ending. That’s all, thank you, goodbye, no more Big Little Lies,” Vallée said.
But wait—”Of course, I’d love to work with Reese and Nicole and these actresses again, but it should be something else. Although a nice title to follow-up would be Big Little Alternative Facts,” he continued. Though most of the cast agreed to return for Season 2, Vallée ultimately did not. Instead, the second season will be directed by Transparent‘s Andrea Arnold.
Liane Moriarty, author of the O.G. Big Little Lies novel, is working on Season 2
ET reported that after a session at the summer Television Critics Association press tour, HBO’s president of programming Casey Bloys told a group of reporters that chats about a second season of BLL are ongoing. “Liane [Moriarty] is taking her crack at it and I think that it’s interesting,” he said.
We could learn more about Bonnie and Celeste this season
Last April, Moriarty, gave The Sydney Morning Herald a bit of insight into the challenges for continuing this story. “I have started to think about ways this could continue,” said Moriarty. “The producers have asked me to see if I can come up with some ideas. I wouldn’t write a new book but perhaps a new story and then we’ll see what happens.” She also said that continuing to address Bonnie and Celeste’s stories would be a priority for a possible Season 2—and that she wasn’t super down with how the show left out Bonnie’s entire backstory of domestic abuse. “My original reaction was, what have they done? How have they left that out?” she said. “But a lot of people have said that they could tell [what was Bonnie’s true story], there had been little hints and that you can take that away. It’s implied in her performances and some little lines. I think I might have preferred to have had it in there but I wouldn’t argue against it either.”
Reese and Nicole have reportedly optioned the rights to another one of Moriarty’s novels
Harper’s Bazaar reported that the costars, who initially optioned the rights to the Big Little Lies novel, have been doing a little more shopping. They reportedly also optioned Moriarty’s book Truly Madly Guilty last year and, while it’s not a direct sequel to BLL, who knows what TV magic they have in mind?