How to watch Altered Carbon – what’s it about and who’s in the cast?

Find out where to watch and stream Altered Carbon, if Altered Carbon is on Netflix as well as your guide to the cast and what the series is about

Joel Kinnaman in Altered Carbon

Netflix’s ambitious dystopian drama Altered Carbon was renewed for a second season in July 2018, with new episodes set to hit our screens on 27th February 2020.

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The 10-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.

How can I watch Altered Carbon?

You can watch season one on Netflix – and season two will debut there too.

What is Altered Carbon about?

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 memories and sense of self has been digitised in the form of a ‘cortical stack’ and can be transferred to different identities, known as ‘sleeves’.

More than three centuries in the future, in Bay City, life in this brave new world is explored by Takeshi Kovacs, the last remaining rebel soldier, who is given a second chance at life by a rich man who wants to solve his own murder. How is that possible? Well, even though both men are physically dead, their cortical stacks live on and continue to think digitally – and do all the other things people do when they’re alive of course, like scheme and plot government takeovers.

And we’ve also got some ideas about the plot of the upcoming second season.

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.

Altered Carbon
Altered Carbon

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.

Altered Carbon
Altered Carbon

“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 seasons “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.

How many seasons of Altered Carbon are there?

The series has one released season, and a second upcoming.

How many episodes of Altered Carbon are there?

Season one has 10 episodes.

Altered Carbon (Netflix, BA)
Altered Carbon (Netflix, BA)

Where is Altered Carbon set?

The series is set in the year 2384 in Bay City, a metropolitan vision of the future in which the human memory, consciousness, soul – whatever you want to call it – can now exist in digital form as a cortical stack. Creepy, right? Or maybe it’s comforting to think our minds could last forever – you chose!

Where is Altered Carbon filmed?

The series is filmed in Vancouver – it took over eight months to film the series there, and parts of the futuristic metropolis Bay City were actually built there.

Other current-century buildings were also used though – like the TELUS Studio Theatre at UBC Chan Centre For The Performing Arts which was the battle arena inside Bancroft’s palace.

When does Altered Carbon return?

Here’s what we know so far.

While an official airdate is yet to be announced, we may be waiting a while before the second season drops on Netflix. After 15 years in the works, 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 eight-part second season – two episodes shorter than the first – is reported to have started in early February 2019 in Vancouver, meaning we can likely expect to see it sometime in 2020.

Who stars in Altered Carbon?

Joel Kinnaman initially played Takeshi Kovacs in the first series of Altered Carbon, but it appears Kovacs is changing sleeves in the new season, with Marvel star Anthony Mackie now stepping into the role.

Simone Missick, who played Detective Misty Knight in the Marvel Universe, will also join the show as expert bounty hunter Trepp, who can track down anyone if offered the right price.

Anthony Mackie
Anthony Mackie
Rich Polk / Getty Images

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.

Lela Loren (Power) will play Danica Harlan, the charming and ambitious governor of planet Harlan’s World who has the support of the people, but keeps an uneasy grip on the political players who surround her.

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)
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 season.

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.

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Speaking to Entertainment Weekly last year, she teased, “This is a world that allows you to ‘never say never’.”