Despite originally billing Big Little Lies as a miniseries, HBO renewed the show for season two in December 2017. ET confirmed the following month that Streep had joined the show as Mary Louise Wright, the mother of Alexander Skarsgard's deceased Perry Wright, and mother-in-law of Kidman's Celeste Wright. Production on the second season started in March 2018.
Here's everything we learned from the show's TCA panel.
Streep Was "Addicted" to the Show Before Signing On
"I loved this show. I was addicted to it. I thought it was an amazing exercise in what we know and what we don’t know about people, about family, about friends, how it flirted with the mystery of things. What was unsaid, unshown, unknown was sort of the pull, the gravitational pull, of the piece and it was so exciting," she explained. "So when I got the chance to join the crew I thought, Yeah! I wanted to do it to be in that world."
There's a "Love" Between Streep and Kidman's Characters
It may not look like it in the trailer, but according to Streep, her character, Mary Louise, has an affection for her daughter-in-law, Celeste.
"I do love you, and I do love [Celeste]," Streep told Kidman. "That's the only thing I’ll tell you about my character. That’s the truth."
And Mary Louise May Have Skeletons of Her Own
"I’m playing with someone who is dealing with whatever the deficits of her parenting were and the mysteries of that and how you can’t go back in time and fix something," Streep said, referencing her character's son's history of abuse. "That was interesting to me, and it felt real, honest… I just, I felt like I had something to give to this piece."
The Cast Decided to Do Another Season Because They Wanted to Hang Out More
"We all said goodbye at the end, but we became very close and we had such a good time doing it. The desire to spend more time together was a huge part of it, but also there was an enormous demand from the audience," Kidman confessed. "I've never been in something that reached so far globally, and that was such a compelling idea in terms of putting it together again, that we were like, 'OK.'"
Season Two Lives Up to the Hype
Noting that season one uses the entirety of Liane Moriarty's 2014 novel, Kelly revealed that they didn't want to continue the story with a second season unless they thought the plot would live up to the first one.
"We really didn’t close the chapter. It ended on a really open note of what’s going to happen next… [so] there was a lot of fertile storytelling around to be mined," he said. "s the storytelling going to be compelling enough that it will rise up to the first year… everybody up here can get jobs. We didn’t want to do this unless we could at least have a fair shot of living up to the bar we had all set in year one."
Renata Becomes Part of the Group
Dern's Renata was a bit of an outcast last season, but not anymore (well, maybe still kind of). "She wants to hang out and drink wine," Witherspoon revealed. "It's so awkward!"
We'll See a Lot More of Bonnie
Fans of the book know that the character was featured a lot more in the novel than she was in the TV show -- but season two aims to fix that.
"How the book ended a lot to do with Bonnie’s character, so it was fascinating to see how she was going to respond, and how the actual event happened, and how it affected her in her real life," Witherspoon said. "We were lucky Liane Moriarty wrote almost a novela for us to use as a template…. The characters were alive in her mind and had these rich experiences… so that gave us a basis for which to go on for each character."
Celeste Hasn't "Healed"
"I don’t think [the season was created to give] answers as much as it warrants following the stories of these women," Kidman shared. "Having done what’s she’s done, for Celeste, what is the aftermath of abuse when the partner is gone? … It doesn’t mean you’re healed."
And Neither Has Jane
"For Jane in season one, she had this idea of who this person was… her idea was always if she could kill the man, she’d be free," Woodley dished. "So, without going into what happens this season, it feels very exciting and good for me to be able to portray a character that has had extreme trauma in her life and is now able to work on the other end of that trauma… how does she cope with that?"
Things Will Get Even Darker
Season one was full of comedic moments, but we'll get a little less of those next season. "Tonally, it’s still a mix of comedy and drama, [but] probably more dramatic than comedic this year, than last season," Kelley said.
"[It asks the question], 'How do we cope with [trauma]?'" Witherspoon added. "How do we carry on?"
Skarsgard teased during a September appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that he'd be back for more Big Little Lies.
"I was on set, yes. I can’t disclose what I did on set,” Skarsgard coyly shared. "Maybe, I was acting. I might have been just moral support. I might have just made coffee for the ladies. I might have helped Meryl Streep with her acting… Not help, but just give her little pointers, fine tune it a bit.”
Big Little Lies returns for season two on HBO in June. See more in the video below.