SPOILER WARNING: If you aren’t caught up with The Knick’s Season 2 finale, stop reading now.
The season-two finale of Cinemax’s The Knick certainly went out of its way to prove that Steven Soderbergh and the show’s creators Jack Amiel and Michael Begler aren’t afraid to kill their darlings. While the main character of the first two seasons – Clive Owen’s drug-addicted yet gifted surgeon Dr. John W. Thackery – may have spilled his guts for the last time, that doesn’t mean that the show has to die with him. In fact, Soderbergh just recently revealed that he’s always seen The Knick as a six-year show, with stories coming in two-year chunks, and casts occasionally changing out.
Soderbergh said as much in a chat with Variety about the future of the Cinemax series in the aftermath of the second season’s finale. This news comes on the heels of Soderbergh expressing an interest in having another director come in for the show’s third season and future seasons after that so that incoming filmmakers can more or less wipe the slate clean. In a sense, The Knick was conceived as an anthology series, so the look, the tone, the cast, and even the timeline can be quite flexible as it moves forward.
Here’s what Soderbergh had to say about seasons three and four and what the writing team has put together so far:
“It was always conceived in two-year chunks,” he says. “The writers met yesterday to talk about what year three and four would look like — when would it take place, who are the characters. We always imagined every two years we would annihilate what came before and start over. And that’s what we’re doing now.”
Having Thackery perform surgery on himself to his ultimate end is certainly one way to “annihilate what came before” so now all they have to do is the “start over” part. But because of the way the time period of future seasons may change, there’s every chance that Owen could make a return appearance in one way or another:
“I don’t know yet,” says Soderbergh. “There’s been a lot of discussion about if we switch time periods can we still bring back the cast but have them play other people. Everything’s on the table.”
So while The Knick might not look the same going forward, it sounds as if fans will at least get the chance to see how things will change in season three and beyond:
“I would like to keep going. I always thought of it as a six-year thing if we were allowed to continue. I hope we can figure it out. I hope we come up with something that I look at it and go, OK, I want to spend another two years of my life on that. Because that’s really the question. It’s an intense experience — rewarding, but I want to make sure we want to keep the bar at the same height or higher.”