With the series finale of HBO's psychological thriller, The Undoing, behind us, we're already preparing for the major withdrawals that will surely set in after we can no longer dive headfirst into the lives of the Fraser family every Sunday evening. Sure, the limited series is billed as an all-encompassing exploration of a single murder mystery and its effects on everyone involved, but let's be real—what wouldn't you trade for a season two of this Nicole Kidman- and Hugh Grant-filled prestige drama?
Though it may seem premature to start trying to manifest a second season of The Undoing into existence since, after all, we are still digesting how the first season ended, it is a truth universally acknowledged that anything Kidman touches at HBO turns to gold. It's safe to assume, then, that a continuation of Grace and Jonathan Fraser's story would be just as Emmy-worthy as this first set of episodes. While we wait for these dreams to come to fruition, here's everything we know so far about a potential season two of The Undoing.
Has The Undoing been renewed for a second season?
Not yet. For now, the show is sticking to its "limited series" designation and playing coy about whether the Undoing-verse will expand beyond the currently planned six episodes. That said, the installments that have been released so far have already been ultra-successful for HBO, with Deadline reporting increasingly higher ratings for each episode and record-breaking viewership numbers outside the U.S. It wouldn't be completely outside the realm of possibility for the network to further capitalize on this success by renewing The Undoing for a season two.
And while The Undoing is based on a single, sequel-less book, You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz, that hasn't stopped HBO before. Big Little Lies, for example, which shares Kidman and creator, writer, and executive producer David E. Kelley with The Undoing, also covered all of its literary inspiration in a single season, but still kept viewers hooked with an equally intense season two and, in fact, might even be extended into a third season if Kidman gets her way.
Have the cast and crew weighed in?
Though Kelley has kept his lips zipped about the possibility of a second season of The Undoing, one very important member of the crew did recently hint that the Fraser fam could reappear on TV screens at some point down the line. In a post-finale interview with us, Susanne Bier, who directed all six episodes of the first season, mused on a potential follow-up.
"I would love for David [Kelley] to write a season 2," Bier told Marie Claire. "But, as of now, there are no plans, no nothing of a season 2. There might never be any plans [for] it. I think it would be so much fun to do a season 2, but right now it's just wishful thinking."
But both Kidman and Grant seem less into the idea of continuing the series, with Kidman even praising the show as cinematic because of its succinct six-episode arc. "It's not like a drama series where you're not quite sure how they're going to evolve and you have a next season," Kidman previously told EW. "That's why I say it's like cinema, because you have a beginning, middle, and end."
And Grant even told Vulture that he and Bier decided to tweak the finale episode to make it crystal clear who was responsible for the death of Elena, thus ensuring there would be no loose ends that needed tying up in followup seasons.
What would The Undoing season two be about?
Because the first season of the show already diverges quite a bit from its source material, it's really anyone's guess what a new set of episodes would cover. Looking again at Big Little Lies—which resembles The Undoing not only in its cast and crew but also in its subject matter, with a murder investigation and a complicated marriage at its center—after wrapping up the investigation in the first season, a second season might shift its focus instead to even deeper explorations of each character as they deal with the ramifications of the original crime. Plus, maybe Meryl Streep would pop up here, too!
Then again, in an interview with Oprah Mag, Bier advised against using BLL as a road map for The Undoing's future. "I feel that The Undoing is very different. It has a different temperature. It has a different engine. I think David always intended for it to be very different, as did Nicole," she said. (Don't worry—I'm sure they can still find a new part for Meryl!)
When would season two of The Undoing premiere?
Based on my super-scientific analysis of the first season's (COVID-delayed) production and release timeline and past HBO renewal announcements, likely in the late winter or early spring of 2023.
HBO announced it had ordered the first season of The Undoing in March 2018, and filming took place across New York state in mid-2019. Though the show was set to premiere in May of this year, it was bumped to late October due to the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Big Little Lies, which was also expected to be only one season, was renewed in Dec. 2017, eight months after the first season concluded; the second season began production the following March and debuted in June 2019.
If these patterns hold true, we could reasonably expect a renewal announcement for The Undoing in July 2021, with production starting within the next year and the episodes finally hitting HBO sometime in the first few months of 2023. Fortunately, in the meantime, we'll have plenty of other Kidman-led book adaptations to keep us occupied: She's currently working with Kelley yet again on a Hulu version of Big Little Lies author Liane Moriarty's Nine Perfect Strangers, due in 2021, and also recently signed on to produce an Amazon adaptation of A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight.