The second season of Netflix’s Altered Carbon has just dropped on the streaming service, but if you’re already several episodes deep and casting your mind ahead to what’s next, the good news is that there are ambitious plans in place for the visceral sci-fi thriller.
Though a third season is yet to be officially greenlit, Richard Morgan – author of the Takeshi Kovacs book series on which Altered Carbon is based – was talking about a five-season run as early as 2016, before filming had even begun on the Netflix adaptation.
“The long-term aim is to produce at least five seasons of the show,” Morgan wrote in a blog post, adding that the series could not only adapt his books but also potentially fill the gaps in time between them.
“Broken Angels and Woken Furies [the second and third novels to feature face-swapping space rebel Takeshi Kovacs] are an obvious place to start looking for future material,” he continued. “But the good thing about the Kovacs series is that it’s full of gaps – Broken Angels doesn’t get started until thirty years after the events of Altered Carbon, and you can assume a similarly lengthy hiatus between the end of Angels and the start of Woken Furies.
“There are certain references in the books to what may and may not have gone on in those intervals, but the truth is there’s space for almost anything to have happened, to Kovacs and to any of the other characters he has dealings with. Which has given us all a lot of food for thought!”
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Though season two of the Altered Carbon series, like the book Broken Angels, takes place 30 years after the events of the first season/book, that’s not to say that the Netflix show couldn’t adopt this approach of filling in the gaps instead of/as well as adapting Morgan’s stories in future.
Of course, best laid plans and all that… just because Morgan is hoping for five seasons (or more) of Altered Carbon, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll happen – ultimately, if the show isn’t working for Netflix then it could still be abruptly cancelled.
Counting against the show is the fact that it’s reportedly not cheap to produce, with some estimates putting its budget as high as $7 million (£5.25m) per episode. But there are positive signs too…
It took Netflix a few months to announce a second season of Altered Carbon after the show debuted in February 2018, but given that their July announcement came with Anthony Mackie attached as new series lead, it’s fair to assume that the show was actually renewed a while before, with the news being kept under wraps until Mackie had officially signed on the dotted line.
That kind of quick turnaround suggests they were happy with how the show performed, so in all likelihood if season two can match or ideally surpass season one’s performance, then an order for a third run of episodes can be expected in the not-to-distant-future. (According to data measurement firm Nielsen the first season of Altered Carbon pulled in an average 1.2 million viewers in its first three days on Netflix, reaching 2.5m in its first seven days on the platform.)
Once the numbers are in, it’ll be up to the powers-that-be at Netflix to decide how everything stacks up (pun intended) and if we get our five seasons.
The first two seasons of Altered Carbon are streaming now on Netflix