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Archive 81 season 2: Will the Netflix horror return?

The show's epic cliffhanger has left viewers hungry for more. *SPOILER WARNING*

Mamoudou Athie plays Dan Turner in Archive 81
Published: Wednesday, 19th January 2022 at 12:33 pm

Netflix served up a treat for horror fans this month with the launch of Archive 81, a nail-biting supernatural story that demands an urgent follow-up.


Mamoudou Athie (The Get Down) leads the cast of the acclaimed series as restoration expert Dan Turner, who becomes obsessed with reconstructing the lost tapes of documentary filmmaker Melody Pendras (Altered Carbon's Dina Shihabi).

She met a grim fate back in 1994 after launching an investigation into a sinister cult, which Dan is shocked to discover could be connected to his own father in some way.

The gripping mystery is loosely inspired by a scripted podcast which first launched back in April 2016, with the showrunners assuring there's plenty more ground to cover if Netflix orders more episodes.

Read on for all the details we have so far on the fate of Archive 81.

Archive 81 season 2: Will the Netflix series return?

Netflix is yet to announce whether it will renew or cancel Archive 81, but there's reason to be optimistic that the show has a future on the streaming service.

In it's first week, it was the seventh most-watched series on the platform, with subscribers racking up a grand total of 22.2 million hours viewed (according to Netflix's own Top 10 site).

The streamer would have no trouble enticing the creative team back, as Archive 81 showrunner Rebecca Sonnenshine has confirmed the show was "always" intended to continue beyond the first season.

On the prospect of returning, she told Entertainment Weekly: "I hope so, but I actually have no idea. But I hope so. It was always meant to keep going. We are always thinking about season 2."

Archive 81 season 2 release date rumours

If Archive 81 were to be renewed for a second season – which remains unconfirmed at the time of writing – it would arrive on Netflix no sooner than early 2023.

Typically, scripted dramas have a production cycle that lasts for approximately one year, although some of the more visual effects-driven projects do take slightly longer.

Archive 81 season 2 cast

If we are blessed with more episodes of Archive 81, you can expect series leads Mamoudou Athie and Dina Shihabi to reprise their roles as archivist Dan Turner and filmmaker Melody Pendras respectively.

The supporting cast of the first season are all candidates to return, including Evan Jonigkeit (Frontier), Julia Chan (Katy Keene), Matt McGorry (How to Get Away with Murder), Ariana Neal (Hidden Figures) and Martin Donovan (Tenet).

Archive 81 season 2 plot theories

Dina Shihabi in Archive 81
Dina Shihabi in Archive 81 Netflix

Since the first season of Archive 81 dropped on Netflix, showrunner Rebecca Sonnenshine has made no secret of the fact that she wants to come back for more, even teasing some of the plot threads we could see in a potential follow-up.

The shock cliffhanger ending saw Dan Turner sent back in time to the 1990s, while Melody Pendras, the filmmaker whose work has taken over his life, was brought through to the present day by cult leader Samuel Spare.

Sonnenshine, who previously worked on short-lived time travel drama The Crossing, told Entertainment Weekly how she plans to use the mind-bending concept in future episodes of Archive 81.

"There's two different theories — block universe and expanding universe," she began. "I think that I don't want to cut off story possibilities, but I do think more of it as in a block universe.

"So I don't know if that would be true if there's an old version of Dan. But that's an interesting concept. That's what I like about this version of time travel is that kind of anything is possible. So anything is possible going forward."

Martin Donovan in Archive 81
Martin Donovan in Archive 81 Netflix

Meanwhile, Sonnenshine has also promised more information on Virgil Davenport's motives in the second season, acknowledging that her team "didn't get a chance" to expand on those in their first eight episodes.

“We do know what Davenport is up to and so that is very much a part of season 2," she told Variety. "That’s great that, hopefully, we leave people with questions.

"I definitely try not to answer questions before people ask them as an audience. You don’t want to frontload information. We have a lot of cool stuff planned for Davenport."

Other mysteries which will be explored further in Archive 81 season 2, if it goes ahead, include who was responsible for the death of Dan's family and what happened to Samuel Spare.

Sonnenshine has also confirmed that the show would not ditch the found footage format utilised in season 1, hinting to Variety that Dan will need to find a way of communicating with people in the present now that he's stranded in the '90s.

"There are all kinds of ways and there’s also other media out there that still exists that we know about in 1994," she added. "So we would not abandon it. It wouldn’t be the same device, but it would be a different window with a similar device."

Archive 81 season 2 trailer

Hold your horses! The show hasn't even been renewed yet, so don't expect to see fresh footage anytime soon.


Archive 81 is available to stream on Netflix. Check out more of our Sci-Fi and Fantasy coverage, read our guide to the best series on Netflix or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.


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