The reason Netflix's Firefly Lane was cancelled after season 2 – and the chances of season 3

sarah chalke, katherine heigl, firefly lane season 2
Why Netflix's Firefly Lane won't get a season 3Diyah Pera/Netflix

Firefly Lane season 2 spoilers follow.

It's been a swift two seasons, many questionable wigs and out for folksy Netflix drama Firefly Lane, and as sad as that may be, it's always been the plan.

Fans were reunited with life-long BFFs Kate and Tully (played by TV royalty Sarah Chalke and Katherine Heigl) in season two part 1 in December of last year, in which we finally found out why their seemingly unbreakable friendship turned sour in the season-one finale.

If, for some reason beyond our comprehension, you still haven't binged season two, we’ll fill in the blanks. It turns out Tully had been looking after Kate's supposed-to-be-grounded daughter Marah, let her go to a frat party, and then got into a car crash after picking her up when she'd had a few too many glasses of wine.

katherine heigl, sarah chalke, firefly lane

To be fair (and her intoxication aside), the crash wasn't actually Tully's fault, though Kate's upset is completely understandable. And by upset we mean red-hot furious.

Alas, part one left us on yet another (even more devastating) cliffhanger, concluding with Kate turning up at Tully's apartment after learning that she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer, only to discover that Tully had just left for a work trip in Antarctica.

The good news is you can now catch up with the remaining seven episodes of Firefly Lane, which reveal what this diagnosis meant for Kate and whether she and Tully ever repaired their friendship.

However if you’re already here, scouting for the vain hope of a season three, that means you’ve already made it through and, sorry keen beans, that’s it from the dance-partying duo. There won’t be another season to obsess over.

We know, we know, take a minute to let the pain of that realisation sink in. While it hurts, it’s not all too shocking. Part two definitely had a wholesome, wrapped-up kind of feel despite the bittersweetness of it all.

There’s no denying that more time in Tully and Kate’s world could never be a bad thing, but there's actually a good reason behind this decision.

Why Firefly Lane was cancelled

Note: MAJOR Firefly Lane book spoilers follow.

katherine heigl, sarah chalke, firefly lane

Because the series is based on Kristin Hannah's novel of the same name, Kate’s terminal cancer diagnosis panned out on screen exactly as it did on page.

Which isn't to say the show didn't feature changes to the source material.

"I think what’s cool is that: we changed just enough, so that readers who are watching the show – who haven’t seen it all – don’t know how it’s going to end because we’ve changed just enough," Friedman said (Via Tudum). "I like the idea that it’s going to unfold for them and they’ll still be guessing – and they’ll get to have that fresh experience with it."

"It’s still about female friendship. It’s still about Kate and Tully. As a viewer, I truly believed that these two women loved each other and that they would be there for each other forever. I believed that Kate and Johnny loved each other from the beginning, so I was really glad that as much as they changed it, they really kept the heart of the novel and the message."

When Tully learns of the news, she rushes back home to Kate's side and gives her old friend the support she needs before she passes away. We're not crying. You're crying.

If that wasn't heartbreaking enough, we get a touching flashforward scene of Marah on her wedding day and of Tully envisaging a conversation with her dead best friend over how proud they are of her.

The final emotional kicker, however, was when Johnny handed a grieving Tully a box containing a few special mementoes from Kate after her death, including her finished book… titled Firefly Lane. Now we're crying too.

"It was a really powerful experience," Chalke told Forbes of her final scenes. "I lost an aunt I was very close to when I was 24, and knowing that this part of the storyline was coming, there was a part of me that was wondering what this was going to feel like to shoot. It ended up being challenging but also a special experience.

"It was physically and emotionally exhausting. Because cancer and death have touched everyone, I hope we dealt with it in a way that rings true to people, and that feels good for them to watch."

katherine heigl, sarah chalke, firefly lane

Heigl added: "I don't know if it was because I was so deeply in love with Sarah as a human being, and so much of Sarah informed Kate. I also love Kate and Tully and their relationship. It all felt so overwhelmingly real in a terrifying way because it was so heavy and heartbreaking.

"It was hard to stop the emotion because not every scene is supposed to be a weeping, sobbing, grief-stricken scene, but it was always right there at the forefront.

"There's just something about these two women, this particular story, Sarah as a human being, and my love for the characters. It felt weirdly real."

It's no secret Netflix has a bad habit of cancelling shows with multiple threads left hanging. Some of the latest casualties include First Kill, Warrior Nun, The Bastard Son and The Devil Himself and Fate: The Winx Saga, just to name a few.

However, showrunner Maggie Friedman simply wasn't prepared to risk that, so in order to ensure the story was told in its entirety, the decision to "supersize" season two was made.

firefly lane trailer

"Originally, season two was just going to be 10 episodes, but I was talking to one of the Netflix executives who’s been such a great champion of the show and said, 'I know where the end of the story is'," she told Glamour.

"'I know exactly what I want it to be. I just want to make sure that we get there and don’t end on a cliffhanger and then something happens and we don’t complete it.' I wanted to make sure that I got to tell the full story."

"Because we did Part 1 and Part 2, we had the number of episodes, this was always Maggie's decision to arc this storyline," Chalke told Variety. "Basically, the arc follows the storyline of the book, and then it also goes off into brand new directions as well."

"That was the plan to know how many episodes it was going to be done over so that the story could be told in its entirety. There was no waiting on finding out if there's a pickup or not, and then [the story] is left halfway told, it was the completion of their journey."

Netflix VP of drama series Jinny Howe added that Netflix wanted to honour Friedman’s overall plan for the series: "She wanted to tell the story in the two books. This felt like the most special and best way to deliver the series to the fans of the show while honouring Maggie's vision at the same time."

katherine heigl as tully, firefly lane

So there you have it. Friedman didn't want us to suffer at the hands of another Netflix cancellation and for that we are eternally grateful. Even if it means we'll be sobbing into our pillows for weeks after.

And who knows? If Hannah decides to write a third book, which she hasn't ruled out, we might see a third season in the future.

The author was interviewed by No Apology Book Reviews in April 2021 and, when asked about her next book, she said: "I have been doing a lot of publicity and the pandemic has knocked me for a loop. I am just now thinking about some things. I had originally seen Firefly Lane as the start of a trilogy. So, I will never say never about writing a third book."

We'll be sure to have our pumpkin-spiced lattes at the ready.

Firefly Lane is now available to watch on Netflix.


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