The cast also broke the news of their rare 22 episode order during the virtual panel at San Diego Comic-con.
It's been a non-stop adventure since Abbott Elementary debuted on ABC, and the party is just beginning! Production for season 2 began on Monday, and Quinta Brunson shared that fans will be getting even more when season 2 premieres on Sept. 21.
The star and creator was joined at San Diego Comic-Con by co-stars Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Chris Perfetti, Lisa Ann Walter, William Stanford Davis and Sheryl Lee Ralph, as well as executive producers Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker in a live virtual panel.
On the first day of the 2022 convention, Brunson revealed the upcoming season also features more episodes than the first, having scored a rare full-season, 22-episode order, although she admitted that they likely weren't supposed to announce that bit of news yet.
ABC announced that the smash series had officially been renewed for a second season in March, ahead of the show's midseason premiere. Ahead of production's start, the show promoted Davis, a veteran character actor who recurred heavily on the first season as Abbott’s eccentric custodian, Mr. Johnson, to a series regular. The promotion marks the first series regular role for Davis in a career spanning over 25 years.
"I had to turn my phone off, I got so many calls," Davis shared at the panel. "It’s truly insane and I'm so blessed."
When asked what fans can look forward to in the next installment, Brunson said the new season will give viewers more chances to "fall in love" with the characters.
"We spent the whole first season building, showing what this show is capable of, and now we get to have some fun," she said. "We’ve done all the building, and now we get to have some of these fun bottle episodes, what I call Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episodes -- some episodes you'll learn a lot and some you won’t, you'll just fall more in love with the characters."
"And more episodes," Schumacker added, promting Brunson to say if "we can say that."
“OK, there you go. We have more episodes this season than in the first," Brunson confirmed after Schumacker shrugged.
While the cast remained tight-lipped on what other surprises are in store in season 2, especially when it came to possible famous cameos, Brunson did offer one tease: "You're going to see a cameo in the first episode."
"I'm not gonna tell you who it is but it's a really good one," she added, with Schumacker noting that they were only allowed the mysterious guest for "literally one day."
"It's someone we didn't think we'd be able to get," Brunson teased. "It's one of the biggest stars in the world to me. They are the biggest star we've seen thus far at Abbott Elementary."
On the other hand, Williams said he didn't have a specific star in mind as a dream guest star because he didn't want someone already known. "I want to see new people on the show. To give them opportunities. People I’m unaware of," he added.
Ralph echoed the sentiment, saying that the show was a prime opportunity for new talent to spread their wings and make their mark. "Like the actors that play our students, they're the stars of the future," she said.
Unsurprisingly, after a highly acclaimed debut season, the series made history by earning seven Emmy nominations in the top TV categories, including Outstanding Comedy Series. Brunson's multiple duties scored her three nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series, Lead Actress in a Comedy and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. The nods make the former A Black Lady Sketch Show star the first Black woman to receive three Emmy noms for the same comedy series.
Williams earned the Outstanding Supporting Actor nod, along with James and Ralph earning nods for Outstanding Supporting Actress. These are the first-ever Emmy nominations for all the actors.
The nominated stars shared their gratitude for the honor, with Ralph stating that all she wants now is "more of what [Brunson, Shumacker and Halpern] already give her."
Abbott Elementary season 2 premieres on ABC Wednesday, Sept. 21.