Severance spoilers follow.
Apple TV+'s Severance, the ultimate work/life balance horror story, left viewers dying for answers as it reached its dramatic season one conclusion earlier this year. After all, who just ends a series like that with the future still unconfirmed?
Well, thankfully a second season was given the go-ahead not too soon after the show's season one finale... now it's just a matter of waiting for it to get back on our screens.
Kind of wish we had a severed brain just to skip to the next season, right?
With a cast led by Adam Scott, the Ben Stiller-directed dystopia was always unnervingly shiny and sterilised... and now the grotty, hidden side underneath the sheen is being exposed and it could potentially hold lives – both work and leisure – in the balance.
So what's the latest news?
Here's everything you need to know about the future of the innies at Lumon Industries.
Severance season 2 potential release date: When is it back?
In the week before the season-one finale aired, Severance was officially given the green light for season two.
"It's really exciting to see the response from people who are loving the show – and the level of fan engagement," Ben Stiller said (via Variety).
"It has been a long road bringing Severance to television. I first read [creator Dan Erickson's] pilot over five years ago. It has always been a multi-season story and I'm really happy we get to continue it. I'm grateful to our partners at Apple TV+ who have been behind it the whole way. Praise Kier!"
The renewal is not a massive surprise, seeing as the show has been steadily becoming a cult favourite, with viewership increasing week on week.
Data site ReelGood noted that Severance was the most-watched ongoing streaming series for four weeks in a row by the time it reached its conclusion.
Throw in that killer season one cliffhanger, and it was almost inevitable that the team weren't done with the show.
However, us Severance fans still have a wait ahead before we get to see any new episodes. One reason is that Ben Stiller is a busy, busy man. He's dividing his attention between other project commitments including work on the film The Bag Man.
In April 2022, Stiller told Deadline: "I'm hoping to shoot Bag Man this summer, which would probably be as we're gearing up for season two [of Severance], but definitely plan to be involved in season two very much and probably direct two episodes."
Summer came and went, but Apple announced in October 2022 that filming had commenced.
— Apple Original Films (@AppleFilms) October 31, 2022
Star Adam Scott retweeted Apple's message with an additional "Can’t wait for everyone to see what we’re doing in S2…" and a water-drop emoji.
A number of shows and movies have stopped production as a result of the strike, with filming on season 2 of the workplace drama among them in New York.
The WGA East Twitter account confirmed in May: "WGA members on strike walk the line for a sunrise picket at York Studios in the Bronx and Westchester, shutting down production on Severence, as members of IATSE and Teamsters respect our picket line."
Severance season 2 cast: Who will be back?
Along with the renewal announcement, it was confirmed the core four cast members will be back. These are Adam Scott (who plays Mark), Britt Lower (Helly), Zach Cherry (Dylan) and John Turturro (Irving).
Patricia Arquette, who plays office manager Mrs Cobel, and Tramell Tillman as her sidekick/enforcer Milchek are also back – with a vengeance.
While Arquette is remaining as close-lipped as the rest of the cast about what plot twists season two may bring, she did tell ET that viewers should "Be scared, be very scared," about what is to come.
"I think these guys have been working really hard, and come up with a lot of really creative things," she said on the red carpet for the Critics' Choice Awards on January 15. "They have a whole world in their minds. They just let us in, piece by piece, into what's going on, but I think it will be fun and beautiful and Britt is amazing as always."
One actor who is likely to take on a far more prominent role in season two is Dichen Lachman, who played the bizarrely aloof and monotone office therapist Ms Casey. Ms Casey was only in a handful of scenes during season one, offering mediocre insights into the outside world during "wellness checks" with the innies.
However, by the end of the series it's revealed she is far more interwoven into Mark's life than it first appeared. In fact, she's his presumed-dead wife... which is a whole thing Mark now needs to unpack and figure out.
Christopher Walken is also going to return as Irving's sweet-natured love interest, Burt, which could come in handy depending on how much Burt discovered that we didn't see in the final episode of season one.
Of course, with Lumon being a complicated world of never-ending corridors and siloed offices, new cast members – potentially playing Lumon employees – have been announced (via Variety), including Game Of Thrones and Wednesday's Gwendoline Christie, Arrested Development's Alia Shawkat, Fringe's John Noble and Unbelievable's Merrit Wever.
The creators have also shared some fantastic fantasy season-two guest cameos they're hoping for.
"For me there are a lot, people like Christopher Guest I kind of imagine: 'Wow that would be amazing if someday he might be a part of the show,'" Stiller said (via The Hollywood Reporter).
"It's fun when you have a show like this where it allows for people to maybe come in for an episode or two but also fit into the world of Severance."
Erickson, on the other hand, was hoping to pitch a cameo to former President of the United States Barack Obama at the Emmys. Obama won the award for outstanding narrator of Netflix docuseries Our Great National Parks in September, so there's a chance he'll be looking to do more TV.
The fact Obama was the first person who sprung to mind for Erickson, and that he was already actively planning to approach a former President for a potential role suggests the scope of the show will be widened considerably in season two.
Meanwhile, Jen Tullock said: "If we could get [Barbra] Streisand to come around, I'd pretty much give you every American dollar I've got in my bank account."
So would we, Jen – so would we.
Severance season 2 plot: What's going to happen?
Season two of Severance will likely be far more dramatic than the first, with the season one finale blowing a massive hole in the lives of the Core Office Four.
For Helly, she has sabotaged a massive business event which was meant to be in support of the severance procedure, discovering her father Mr Eagan is a major player at Lumon. As a result, there may be hell to pay for her innie, or a lot of work for her outie to cover up what happened.
Elsewhere, poor Irving may well be tending to a broken heart upon the discovery that, in the outside world and unknown to both of them, his 'innie' love interest Burt was actually a happily married man who was planning a new life with his husband after retiring.
While he initially walked away, the final moments saw Irving banging on Burt's front door anyway to try and get to him. It's not known if he was able to reveal his identity in time before he was switched back into his outie mode.
Mark managed to let his sister know about what was going on with his "innie", and before his brain was switched back into "outie" mode, alerted her to the fact that his presumed-dead wife Gemma is actually still alive and working at Lumon.
We still don't know if Gemma has been severed, or if she's willingly working alongside Lumon perfectly aware of what's going on.
Finally, the fate of Dylan was left with a major question mark after he sacrificed himself to remain in the office, holding open the switches that allowed the others to go from "outie" to "innie" mode.
With Milchek breaking into the room he was in during the final moments of the series, it's clear he will likely have some pretty brutal punishment ahead of him at the hands of the infuriated office manager. Which, as we've already seen, can be tantamount to torture for the "innies" stuck in the office.
With Cobel on the rampage after losing her position at the company as well, it seems a war between the innies and the outies is brewing fast, as the innies try and release themselves from their repetitive, 9-to-5 hell.
And for those who find that watching a show with weird codes, black goo, and spooky existential mysteries gives them X-Files (or Lost!) flashbacks, don't worry – answers will be delivered sooner rather than later – possibly as early as season two.
"I think it's important for fans of the show to know that the unanswered questions do need to be answered at some point," Stiller said (via Deadline). "It's just, I think we feel this responsibility to do it in a way that is both responsible and entertaining.
"Part of the fun of the show, I've found, is that people have so many different theories and ideas and thoughts about it, so there's a responsibility you have, and one thing I can guarantee you is that Dan Erickson has thought about this, and thought about it a lot over many years.
"We felt that there's a balance [to aim for], because if too many questions are answered, then you don't have a chance to really speculate and live in the world as much. So, we're trying to figure out how to live in that world and figure out that balance, but the answers are there. It's just, we want to try to mete it out in a way that feels fun and satisfying."
"The stuff that you don't quite understand, you're wondering what that is, what does that mean, and what the hell is that? And to me, that's great to do, as long as the logic is behind it," Stiller said (via Decider).
"Then [we] figure out a way to tell that to the audience in a way that's not giving away too much too soon, and it's satisfying. That's the balancing act of it. There are definitely some really fun, weird things in season two.
"But always, it's through the lens of the basic story of these characters, these real people in this situation, because I do think that's what people hold on to. That's what I learned making the first season. I saw it when it came out for audiences…
"This is a show about this work family, these characters, these people. So, no matter how weird the environment they're in, you want to be able to relate to them as human beings. It's hopefully a combination of that, but definitely some weird stuff."
But no matter how weird things get, the team are planning towards a definitive ending.
"There's an overall plan for the show," Erickson told Esquire. "I have an end point in mind, and I intentionally didn't plan it season by season, because I wanted it to be flexible enough that we could get there in two seasons or six seasons."
"I want to allow us to be surprised by where the show goes. There’s a sense of what Lumon is trying to do and the role that our main characters are going to play in that, and where it all will culminate. It's really exciting to think about taking the next step on that trip."
Severance season 2 trailer: Is there one yet?
Sorry, folks – there is currently no full trailer showing what the future holds for either the innies or the outies.
However, there is a very brief teaser (maybe?) – which dropped during the Apple Far Out event showcasing the iPhone 14, during an AirPod promo video – but it's real blink and you'll miss it stuff. There's also a very real chance it's an Apple+ easter egg, as opposed to our first glimpse at season 2. Either way, make sure to keep your eyes wide when you watch it above.
We promise we'll let you know as soon as we know more.
Severance is available now on Apple TV+.
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