Plot Twist: ‘Shogun’ Season 2 & Season 3 Officially In Development
— 17 May 2024

Plot Twist: ‘Shogun’ Season 2 & Season 3 Officially In Development

— 17 May 2024
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

From HBO’s Euphoria to Netflix’s The Gentlemen, there’s a frustrating trend with the shows we actually want more of being stalled for whatever reason. And just a few short weeks ago, we’d assumed Shogun season 2 would share a similar fate. But that’s since changed…

Hailed as “Game of Thrones set in Feudal Japan,” this prestige drama based on the 1975 James Clavell novel — itself loosely based on English navigator William Adams and daimyō turned shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu — ticks all the boxes: monster viewership, critical praise across the board, and most importantly, elite quality content. So it’s unsurprising FX is hungry for more viewable gold.

So where does the status of Shogun season 2 lie as of this moment?

Has Shogun season 2 been confirmed by FX?

It’s official: not only has FX and Hulu greenlit Shogun season 2, but also Shogun season 3. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a writers’ room is currently being assembled and will “open in the summer” to explore a continuation beyond Clavell’s original novel. 

Co-creators, executive producers, and writers Justin Marks and Rachel Kondo; fellow exec producer Michaela Clavell; as well as star and producer Hiroyuki Sanada are all involved with the development.

In the week prior to this announcement, an exclusive story broken by Deadline revealed that Hiroyuki Sanada had inked a deal to return as Lord Yoshii Toronaga, hinting this was no longer a limited series as originally intended.

“Securing Sanada, whose character’s journey to become shōgun and lead Japan to an era of peace was chronicled in the 10-episode adaptation of James Clavell’s novel, has been considered crucial to any plan to extend Shogun beyond its original instalment,” explained Nellie Andreeva of the prolific entertainment publication.

“The outcome of the effort would determine whether Shōgun would be considered a limited or drama series going forward, which could have major ramifications on the 2024 Emmy race, with the timing of the decision tied to the deadline for Emmy submissions.”

Even more surprisingly, not everyone is thrilled about this.

Previous to this, closing the book on Shogun had pretty much been a forgone conclusion, given the source material had already been explored in its entirety.

“We took the story to the end of the book and put a period at the end of that sentence,” series co-creator Justin Marks told The Hollywood Reporter.

“We love how the book ends; it was one of the reasons why we both knew we wanted to do it — and we ended in exactly that place. And I’ve been party to this in the past with shows like this, where you build a whole factory, and it only pumps out 10 cars and closes up shop.”

“We’re very proud of that because the book ends so beautifully and boldly in this very unexpected and meditative kind of way. So, the story is complete.”

Justin Marks (via Town & Country)

Marks continued: “It’s a bummer. You know, one of our producers wrote a nearly 900-page instruction manual for how we do this show — almost as long as the book Shogun itself. All of this infrastructural knowledge went into it.”

“I just hope someone else — maybe a friend — needs a production primer on feudal Japan at some point, so I can be like, ‘Here you go, use this book. That will save you 11 months.'”

“It feels a lot like parenting, where you get really good at, like, washing bottles, or all the other things that babies require, and then suddenly they don’t need any of that anymore. And you’re like, ‘Aw, I got so good at that,'” added series co-creator Rachel Kondo (who also happens to be Marks’ wife). 

But as fans of the literary inspiration know, Clavell’s fictional universe doesn’t end at Shogun. In fact, Marks and Kondo have also flirted with the idea of adapting The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell and calling it a “pseudo-season-2” as per the suggestion of The Hollywood Reporter’s Patrick Brezeski.

“We also made this show so long ago, because of the long tail of postproduction on it,” explained Justin Marks.

“It’s not like a normal TV series, where if we were in a situation like this promoting it, we wouldn’t just be in the writers’ room already, we’d be on set shooting Shogun season 2 by now.”‘

Justin Marks (via The Hollywood Reporter)

Elsewhere, in conversation with Town & Country, Marks revealed he was going to recovery time to “think about what will be next.”

“But honestly, it’s hard because you don’t have a master storyteller to set the map for you. So that would be a tough one.”

What could the second (and third) season of Shogun be about?

Beyond expanding upon the original novel’s storyline as FX ostensibly plans to do with Hiroyuki Sanada — similar to how David Farr is continuing The Night Manager starring Tom Hiddleston on behalf of the BBC and Amazon Prime Video — there are actually a few paths forward.

For context, the source material on which Shogun is based represents just one of six novels from James Clavell’s Asian Saga. Chronologically, it’s followed by:

  1. Tai-Pan (set in Hong Kong, 1841)
  2. Gai-Jin (set in Japan, 1862)
  3. King Rat (set in a Singaporean Japanese POW camp, 1945)
  4. Noble House (set in Hong Kong, 1963)
  5. Whirlwind (set in Iran, 1979)
Shogun season 2 plot (Shōgun)

Assuming it continues to explore a sensationalised version of Japanese history, Rachel Kondo and Justin Marks could pick things up over 200 years after the events of Shogun with Gai-Jin — official synopsis:

“Chronicling the adventures of Malcolm Struan, the son of Culum and Tess Struan, in Japan. The story delves deeply into the political situation in Japan and the hostility Westerners faced there, and is loosely based on the Namamugi Incident and the subsequent Anglo-Satsuma War.”

But if they choose to take the anthology route a la True Detective and delve into Tai-Pan, we can expect another prestige drama about European and American traders who find themselves in Hong Kong circa 1842 (the end of the First Opium War).

It’s also worth noting that the real-life Tokugawa shogunate famously lasted over 200 years. Meaning Kondo and Marks could very well fill in the narrative blanks with David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet as the springboard.

Who would the Shogun season 2 cast members be?

Shogun season 2 cast members (Shōgun)

In light of the recent reports, aside from Hiroyuki Sanada returning as Lord Yoshii Toronaga in the Japan-set historical epic, sources have indicated that Cosmo Jarvis will likely also return to reprise his role as Pilot-Major John Blackthorn; who serves as Toronaga’s hatamoto and, as Sanada’s Lord Toronaga admits in the season finale, personal circus monkey.

[SPOILERS] Sadly, we shouldn’t expect Anna Sawai to reprise her role as Lady Toda Mariko considering the events of ‘Chapter Nine: Crimson Sky.’

There is a Shogun season 2 release date or trailer…

… but watch this space for any potential developments on both fronts. In the meantime, check out the trailer for Shogun season 1 below and revisit the limited series in its entirety via Disney+.

Shogun (2024) Synopsis:

The series follows “the collision of two ambitious men from different worlds and a mysterious female samurai — John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis), a risk-taking English sailor who ends up shipwrecked in Japan, a land whose unfamiliar culture will ultimately redefine him; Lord Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada), a shrewd, powerful daimyo, at odds with his own dangerous, political rivals; and Lady Mariko (Anna Sawai), a woman with invaluable skills but dishonourable family ties, who must prove her value and allegiance.”

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]


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