Archive 81 is Netflix’s first new horror hit. The eight-episode series became number one on the streamer’s top 10 list just days after its premiere, and with a shocking cliffhanger ending, fans are ready for more. But what will be in store for the show’s second season, if it gets one at all?
Loosely based on the popular podcast of the same name, Archive 81 follows archivist Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie), who’s hired to restore a series of tapes from 1994, which include footage from missing documentarian Melody Pendras’ (Dina Shihabi) investigation into a cult at the Visser apartment building. As he works on the tapes, Dan discovers his strange connection to Melody; he becomes intent on not only uncovering what happened to her but also saving her.
Ultimately, Dan learns that Melody didn’t just disappear during a cult ritual, she was instead transported to another dimension, the Otherworld, and has been trapped there since 1994. He manages to travel there to save her, but before the two can make it back to reality safely, they are separated: Melody was thrust back into the real world by the cult leader, Samuel, while Dan was somehow transported back to the ’90s.
The plot twist is the perfect setup for another season, so, what comes next? Here’s what we know.
Was Archive 81 renewed for season 2?
Not yet. But showrunner Rebecca Sonnenshine already has plans about where the story could go next. “I hope so, but I actually have no idea. But I hope so,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “It was always meant to keep going. We are always thinking about season 2.”
In fact, the brainstorming for season 2 started immediately after they finished working on season 1. “We basically, as soon as we wrapped our room, we started an email chain about ideas for Season 2,” she told Variety. “So all through production and post, we’ve been compiling and then really sitting down and thinking about what would happen in Season 2. So we’re ready to go, should we be so lucky to get a Season 2, we have some really cool stories to tell.
The Archive 81 podcast has three seasons under its belt, so the TV adaptation still has lots to work with if the show continues.
What will season 2 be about?
There are a lot of unanswered questions from season 1 that could be addressed in the next chapter.
For example, there’s the question of who exactly is responsible for the fire that killed Dan’s family. “We definitely know who did that, and that is season 2,” Sonnenshine told EW. “There are a lot of little Easter eggs or little things like that, that if you’re like, ‘I wonder if that’s something that is part of the mythology and that will be explored further?’ And, yes. Some things just didn’t actually make it into the season.”
There’s also the relationship between Samuel, the cult leader, and Virgil, the millionaire who hired Dan to restore the tapes. The show reveals that the two are brothers, but their motives, especially Virgil’s, could be more deeply explored next season. “It’s kind of at the top of our list for season 2, because we didn’t quite get to it, but also I can say that everyone in the show is doing something that they think is right,” Sonnenshine added to EW.
“Samuel is still very much part of the story,” she also told Variety. “And I think Season 2 is, where is Samuel? Where is he? And I think that that is a very exciting branch of our story that we definitely know what we’re doing with.”
Will it still include found footage?
Archive 81 is known for its found footage format, which helps lend an eerie feel to the mystery series. Sonnenshine says that, if renewed, the show will continue to use similar media, especially as a means for Dan, who is trapped in the ’90s, to communicate with people in the present day. It might just take on a different form from the tapes in season 1.
“There are all kinds of ways and there’s also other media out there that still exists that we know about in 1994. So we would not abandon it,” the showrunner told Variety. “It wouldn’t be the same device, but it would be a different window with a similar device.”
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