The abrupt cancellation of Netflix series Sense8 was a blow to fans earlier this year, with the globetrotting sci-fi drama ending its second season on a cliffhanger that left viewers desperate for the story to continue.
Quickly, however, their prayers were answered when Netflix bosses relented slightly, promising a one-off two-hour special to tie up loose ends and give the show a proper ending – and now series star Freema Agyeman has been discussing what we can expect from the series’ final chapter.
“[Series creator] Lana Wachowski had this five-year story arc; obviously I don’t know how that’s going to be affected now, considering we’re only two seasons in,” the actress, who plays trans sensate Nomi’s girlfriend Amanita “Neets” Caplan in the series, told RadioTimes.com.
“This special – I don’t know if it’s going to serve to answer all the questions, I really don’t know. I do know it probably won’t end on a huge cliffhanger like season two did, because should it not come back that would just… that’s what made everybody kick off I think.”
Furthermore, Agyeman said she hoped that the special might not mean the end of the story, hinting that there were some hopes that Sense8 could continue in some form going forward.
“I don’t know whether this special is going to serve to wrap up all the loose ends, or whether there’s going to be some sort of agreement or arrangement for moving forward, continuing with that story arc,” she said. “I don’t know – I’m looking forward to finding out.”
Still, even if another last-minute save wasn’t on the cards Agyeman says there’d be no hard feelings – because a show as expensive as Sense8 was always bound to be a risk.
“They shoot in 14 countries, it’s a massively expensive show – at the end of the day it’s showbusiness, this is a business, somebody is counting the bottom line,” she said. “It’s a business! But I think the fans felt really cheated that it ended on such a huge cliffhanger.”
But of course, it’s those “cheated” fans whose determination has now given Sense8 its reprieve, and Agyeman went on to pay tribute to their passion which she describes as “like nothing I’ve ever experienced before”.
“I’ve been lucky and fortunate enough to be involved in huge franchises that are very popular and have big fandoms that go with them,” the former Doctor Who star said.
“But on Sense8 I’ve had people standing in front of me literally crying with gratitude and relief, and saying that they are seeing themselves represented for the first time in an honest and true way on television.
“And I mean, they’re telling you that it has affected their lives so profoundly, and that is something that goes beyond just a TV show. The entertainment industry is there for so many purposes – it can be escapism, it can be entertainment, it can be an education. But to have people say to you it is changing their lives? I mean that’s not something we take for granted. It’s incredibly sobering, incredibly profound; it feels so much more than people just indulging in it for entertainment.
“I’m hyper-aware of the inequality and the prejudice that the LGBTQ community faces, and I do feel like that marginalisation is mirrored in mainstream television. There just isn’t very much of it going on, so I was so pleased to get the opportunity to be a part of this storyline, hoped to do it justice, hoped to achieve an honest portrayal of love onscreen, and thankfully we’ve had this great response from the community, who are celebratory of our representation.”
Agyeman rehearsing for her new play Apologia
Still, whatever happens with the future of Sense8, Agyeman will have plenty to keep her busy going forward, with the actress making her West End debut in London this summer in a revival of 2009 play Apologia that also stars The West Wing’s Stockard Channing and Downton Abbey’s Laura Carmichael.
“I like to describe it as a black comedy about secrets and home truths,” Agyeman said of the play, which was originally written by Alexi Kaye Campbell and is being revived by Jamie Lloyd.
“The protagonist is this mother, this matriarch called Kristin; she’s a liberal art historian and she is a formidable woman who has spent so much of her life fighting to get the word in order, make it a better place for the sake of everyone, that it means that her children have felt neglected as a result.
“The whole play’s set around this dinner table where her whole family come to celebrate her birthday, and what starts as a nice evening of social rituals soon descends into people really telling each other what they think of them.
“People will recognise themselves in some of these situations, but also recognise the points of view of some of these characters,” she concluded.
“And I think what Alexi’s done so cleverly is he presents everyone’s opinion, and that is dissected and vivisected, but none of them are seen to be correct. Nobody’s one opinion is correct, and I think the audience will be left to make their own judgement.”
APOLOGIA will be performed at Trafalgar Studios from the 29th July – 18th November