Netflix’s ambitious dystopian drama Altered Carbon was renewed for a second series in July 2018.
For the uninitiated, the stylish sci-fi, based on the 2002 novel of the same name by Richard K Morgan, is set three centuries in the future when the human soul has been digitised and can be transferred to different identities, known as “sleeves”.
The ten-part first series followed former rebel soldier Takeshi Kovacs, who is put into a new sleeve in order to help the wealthy Laurens Bancroft solve his own murder.
But what can we expect from the second series of Altered Carbon? Here’s everything we know so far.
When does the new series of Altered Carbon arrive on Netflix?
While an official airdate is yet to be announced, we may be waiting a while before the second series drops on Netflix. After 15 years in the works, expensive production on the first series took just under two years to complete – with lead actor Joel Kinnaman saying it was “a world with a bigger budget than the first three seasons of Game of Thrones.”
Filming on the second series is reported to have started in early February 2019 in Vancouver, meaning we can expect to see it in the latter half of 2019 at the very earliest.
Who will star in the second series of Altered Carbon?
Four further roles have since been cast, with Simone Missick, who played Detective Misty Knight in the Marvel Universe, to appear as expert bounty hunter Trepp, who can track down anyone if offered the right price.
Anthony Mackie, Getty, SL
Dina Shihabi, who previously starred in Marvel’s Daredevil, will play an out-of-work AI called Dig 301, programmed to assist archeologists and instilled with a new sense of purpose.
Veteran actor James Saito will play a Yakuza boss who controls a planet’s organised crime ring and has a shared history with Kovacs.
German actor Torben Liebrecht has seemingly been cast as the new series’ antagonist, playing Colonel Carrera – the leader of Protectorate Special Forces unit known as The Wedge – who is on the hunt for Kovacs.
Altered Carbon (Netflix, BA)
Two fan-favourites have also been confirmed for the second series, with Renee Elise Goldsberry and Chris Conner back as Quellcrist Falconer and Poe – despite the latter being killed off last series.
However, with the endless possibilities of sci-fi and the regenerative quality of sleeves, we could see some other characters potentially appear once more, with showrunner Laeta Kalogridis strongly suggesting the possibility.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly last year, she teased, “This is a world that allows you to ‘never say never.’”
What’s the plot for the new series of Altered Carbon?
There is already a wealth of source material out there, with Morgan having written a subsequent two books following Kovacs’ journey, with Broken Angels and Woken Furies following in 2005 and 2008 respectively.
Should Kalogridis stick to the books, the new series will jump another 30 years into the future where Kovacs is on a distant colony serving a band of mercenaries as they become embroiled in a war against a corporate-sponsored government.
Kovacs then teams up with pilot Jan Schnieder to recover an alien artefact from the middle of a war zone – which turns out to be a portal.
Enlisting the help of the shady Matthias Hand from the Mandrake Corporation, it is down to Kovacs to activate the portal – but once more, he’s drawn into another complex conspiracy.
However, Kalogridis has previously said that she may deviate from Broken Angel, as the events of the novel would be costly to recreate on screen.
“Richard has a very big-budget brain,” Kalogridis told Variety. “The second book involves a worldwide war with nuclear explosions, some space travel, a giant alien dreadnought and an interstellar fight between aliens. It is prohibitively expensive in scope.”
The new series is also set to explore the theme of identity, with a heavier emphasis on gender fluidity using the show’s “sleeves” as a vehicle for this.
“LGBTQ, and so many issues and the ways in which we feel comfortable or uncomfortable in our physical bodies, are things that I think the show is very right to explore, but has not yet been able to do,” Kalogridis said.
Morgan explained that he plans to see the TV series run for a further four series “should everything go well” – meaning either the remaining two books will be split, or more material will be written.
“The long-term aim is to produce at least five seasons of the show, and certainly Broken Angels and Woken Furies are an obvious place to start looking for future material,” Morgan said in a blog post in 2016.
Altered Carbon series one is available to stream on Netflix