With the Showtime drama about survivors of a plane crash returning with new episodes, here's everything we know about what's to come.
Yellowjackets is the hit survival drama that unfolds over two timelines: one in the past, when the high school soccer team’s plane crashed in the northern wilderness, forcing the stranded teenage girls to do anything to survive; and another in the present, picking up with four adults, who managed to make it out alive nearly 25 years earlier.
After an explosive debut, which earned seven Emmy nominations, Showtime renewed the series from creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson for another season. And as anticipation builds, here’s everything we know about season 2, including the first official look at newest cast members Elijah Wood and Lauren Ambrose, as well as the extended trailer, teasing what's to come in the new episodes.
New and Returning Cast Members
Season 1 starred an ensemble cast, with Melanie Lynskey and Sophie Nélisse as the adult and teenage versions of Shauna, respectively; Tawny Cypress and Jasmin Savoy Brown as the adult and teenage versions of Taissa; Juliette Lewis and Sophie Thatcher as the adult and teenage versions of Natalie; as well as Christina Ricci and Samantha Hanratty as the adult and teenage versions of Misty.
Other initial survivors included assistant coach Ben Scott (Steven Krueger), the late coach’s two sons, Travis (Kevin Alves) and Javi (Luciano Leroux), as well as team members Jackie (Ella Purnell), Van (Liv Hewson), Lottie aka the Antler Queen (Courtney Eaton), Akliah (Keeya King), Laura (Jane Widdop) and Mari (Alexa Barajas).
While Laura died trying to take off in a small prop plane early on and Jackie froze to death during the season 1 finale, fan-favorite Van survived being mauled by a wolf. After her fate was revealed, Purnell told ET, “I keep trying to convince the writers. Like, I’m trying to come up with all these different reasons why they should write me in the next season,” joking fans should start a petition to bring her back as a ghost.
As of now, there’s no plans for Jackie’s return in season 2. But the show is adding adult versions of key characters, with Van to be played by Ambrose. She joins Obi-Wan Kenobi star Simone Kessell, who will take on Lottie, who was revealed to secretly be meddling with the other adult survivors at the end of the season.
Additionally, Wood will have “a season-long guest arc” as Walter. According to Showtime, he is “a dedicated Citizen Detective who will challenge Misty in ways she won’t see coming.” After the news was announced, the actor shared, “I am beyond stoked to join y'all.”
"Most of my scenes, not to spoil anything, but a lot of my scenes this season have been with Elijah Wood. and it's wonderful working with him again," Ricci told ET about reuniting with her Ice Storm co-star.
Several performers have been adding in recurring roles, with Nuha Jes Izman joining as Crystal, a fellow member of the JV soccer team and a theater stan who befriends Misty. The role being touted as significant to the plot of season 2.
Additionally, Nicole Maines has been added as Lisa, a friend of adult Lottie who is trying to recover from a past trauma. "Buzz, buzz, buzz," Maines posted to Twitter following the announcement.
François Arnaud will guest star in four episodes as Paul, who is described as a New York writer and secret boyfriend of coach Scott (Steven Kreuger) while Nia Sondaya will replace Keeya King as teenage survivor Akilah. Also set to appear in season 2 is Lynskey's husband, Jason Ritter, who is slated to guest star in one episode.
After the newest additions to the series were revealed, Hanratty said she was “so excited to welcome all the new Yellowjackets cast.”
Writing and Filming New Episodes
Filming for season 2 began at the end of last summer in Vancouver, with the creators busy writing scripts for the new episodes.
As the cast prepared to return to Canada, Lynskey said she was looking forward to reuniting with her younger counterpart to discuss playing Shauna. “That’s the main thing I wanna do when we get back to Vancouver is sit down with Sophie after we’ve read the first script and have a talk and just, you know, do it the way we’ve been doing it ‘cause I felt like it worked,” Lynskey shared.
Since then, the Emmy nominee revealed that she’s read the script for the season 2 premiere. “I wish there was another script. I wish I had episode 2. I wish I had episode 3. I just wanted to keep reading it, which is a really good sign,” she gushed. “I was very intrigued by my character, and then also everyone else’s characters.”
As for whether or not she gets to huddle with the creative team like Lynskey did in season 1 remains to be seen. “I would like to. I want to do it when they’re ready. I don’t wanna push anybody. I can’t imagine the pressure that’s on them. Like, imagine writing the show and having it get the response it has gotten and then having to write another season. What a nightmare. I would be so stressed out,” the actress said. “So, I think the last thing they need is some actor who’s like, ‘Guys, what’s happening?’ I just want them to have some breathing room.”
Meanwhile, Ricci revealed to ET that "the first couple scripts had the entire cast gasping. So, it's even wilder, more crazy, more shocking and really compelling and fun."
Plot and Unanswered Questions
When Yellowjackets returns, it’s expected to pick up on both timelines, with the past still focused on surviving members of the team as winter nears. “I would say that season 1 was really about fissures and the past bubbling to the surface. And I think, you know, Bart used the word reckoning before, and I think that there will be a more direct reckoning with the past moving forward,” Lyle said.
Nickerson added, “There's also something that [director] Karyn Kusama said in our first meeting, which feels like a million years ago, where she pitched as a subtitle for the show, she said, ‘Yellowjackets: An American War Story.’ And that’s always kind of stuck with me. And I think that will be very true with season 2.”
That said, the biggest question going into season 2 is whether or not the teenage girls will finally engage in cannibalism, something that was hinted at at the beginning of season 1. Many fans believed that the series would reveal who would be the first among them eaten, but the creators explained why they didn’t want to go there -- yet.
“It’s a case of wanting to make sure that we build the story properly and have – despite the heightened quality of the show – have the right amount of grounding,” Lyle explained. “And in our minds, it just would take longer than the time we allotted for the first season to get to that actual point. I mean, in terms of crossing a Rubicon, that is a very big one. So, we wanted to really hit the emotional moments that we could see as precursors to that.”
She added that “the intention was always that season 1 was always meant to be spring, summer, fall with a sort of ‘winter is coming’ feel to it. And then season 2, winter hits and it’s sort of the apex of everything that we've seen building toward. I would love to reassure all our viewers that we're not going to drag out cannibalism for five seasons. It is very much coming, but we want to make sure we get there the right way.”
Beyond who is eating who, there are many, many unanswered questions the series will hopefully address in the new episodes: Who kidnapped Natalie and why? Is Lottie in charge of the rune people? Is Taissa a witch? What happened to Shauna’s unborn baby? What happened to the other survivors?
No matter what, "we aim to up the stakes in season 2,” Lyle teased. “I’m gonna leave you with that.”
Hopes for the New Season
Meanwhile, the cast has plenty of hopes for season 2, especially when it comes to their respective characters and who they get to film with. For Lynskey, that is spending more time with various cast members, new or returning.
“Honestly, in season 1, every scene that I got I would be like, ‘Oh fun.’ Like, I get to work with Juliette Lewis, I get to work with Tawny Cypress, I get to work with Christina Ricci, I get to work with Warren Kole and Sarah Desjardins, I get to work with Peter Gadiot. Like, everyone was fun. I just loved that everyone was so different. People’s approaches are so different and it just was a very, very creatively fulfilling time,” Lynskey said. “So, I just hope that I get to have scenes with all of them again. Well, not Peter because he died. RIP. But everybody else, I just love working with all these people. So, I’m just excited for all of it. “
Given that Natalie was kidnapped, it’s likely the adult women will have more scenes together as they look for their missing friend. “I have a feeling the three of them are probably going to have a lot of scenes together in the next season trying to find Juliette’s character. In my head, that’s the way it goes,” Cypress said, referring to Taissa teaming up with Shauna and Misty.
“It’s really exciting to me to see how that dynamic is going to be because I spent a lot of this season with Melanie and Juliette. So, it’ll be interesting to see having Misty instead of Natalie and how that informs our relationship,” Ricci said, adding that she was also “excited to see all of the survivors together and interacting more because there are so many secrets.”
With the prospect of an adult Van entering the fold, it’s any wonder what that will mean for Taissa and her marriage. “Taissa’s marriage seems to be in shambles,” Cypress said, referring to Taissa’s estranged wife, Simone (Rukiya Bernard), in the present. “It’d be really fun to see an adult Taissa meeting up with an adult Van and where that goes and what that history is all about.”
Lewis, meanwhile, teased, “My character is going to be really unpredictable. She’ll be different than the first season.” As for who killed Travis? “I have no idea,” she quipped.
When it comes to the younger version, Thatcher would like to see Natalie spend more time with the rest of the girls and re-embrace her “huntress” persona in season 2. “She finds a purpose for a bit taking on that role,” the actress said. “I love that idea of her being the hunter of the group. But then she got distracted and started sleeping with Travis and I want to go back to that.”
When it comes to the impending the cannibalism that was first teased in the premiere episode, Thatcher doesn’t believe it’ll happen with Jackie’s dead body. “I don’t know we’re actually at that point of breakdown,” she said of the mental shift required for them to finally eat one of their own.
Thatcher added, “I think some people are very close to the edge of that, but I definitely don’t think Natalie is.”
When it specifically comes to playing Misty, “I always get excited for the fun stuff. You know, the murder cleanup and the mystery solving and all that stuff. Like, that’s the stuff I love,” Ricci said, referring to Adam’s (Gadiot) death in season 1, while noting that she wants more of her character’s backstory. “But I also am excited for our sort of knowledge of her to grow and for us to sort of find out more about who she is. You know, she’s a very active character, but we don't know that much about her real story and who she is. And I’d like to explore more of that as well.”
Ricci is also excited about how the new cast members will shake things up for the series. “I’m just excited for the story -- the story got so crazy in the last episode of season 1, and I’m just excited for that complexity and the new characters we’ll be introduced to and everything, you know,” she said.
Premiere Date and Trailers
In December 2022, Showtime revealed that season 2 will premiere on Sunday, March 26, 2023 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, with the first episode available to stream starting Friday, March 24 on the Showtime app.
The news coincided with the debut of a cryptic new teaser as well as the first official look at winter setting in for the younger survivors in the wilderness. "You won’t be hungry much longer," the show's official Twitter offered.
While fans eagerly awaited a full trailer and more in-depth look at season 2, the series started releasing photos of some of its newest cast members, including Ambrose as Van and Wood as Walter.
And during a conversation with ET, Ambrose opened up about joining the series. "Liv created a beautiful character that wasn't even necessarily meant to stick around. And because of Liv's very cool, beautiful performance, I get to be part of it now, too," she shared.
More recently, while promoting Scream VI, Brown told ET that she's "not prepared" for what will be revealed this season. "Like, whatever you are hoping is going to happen, it's worse than that. It's worse than that," Brown said, revealing that she's "seen episodes one and two, which are very satisfying."
Not only that, "but it just gets worse and worse -- worse as in better -- and episode six is really disturbing and I've never seen anything like it before," she continued, before proclaiming that "Sophie Nélisse will be nominated for an Emmy this season."
Her comments came shortly before Showtime debuted an extended, new trailer set to a Florence + The Machine cover of No Doubt's "Just a Girl."
A "huge fan" of the series, Welch said, "The song especially had a huge impact on me growing up, so I was thrilled to be asked to interpret it in a 'deeply unsettling' way for the show. We tried to really add some horror elements to this iconic song to fit the tone of the show. And as someone who’s first musical love was pop punk and Gwen Stefani it was a dream job."
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