The Young Pope will not be returning for a Season 2 after all, but another Pope-centric limited series is coming to HBO. Indeed, filmmaker and The Young Pope creator Paolo Sorrentino has opted to eschew a second season of the Jude Law-fronted limited series in favor of crating a new limited series altogether called The New Pope. Per Variety, HBO and Sky have teamed up on the new series to be directed by Sorrentino, and while it will be “set in the world of the modern papacy,” the networks have declined to offer further details. Sorrentino and Young Pope co-writer Umberto Contarello are collaborating once again on this new series, but it’s also unclear if Sorrentino will once again direct every episode.
The Young Pope debuted in the U.S. earlier this year after first airing on Sky Atlantic in Italy last October. The series offered a modern take on the papacy with Law playing a fictional Pope, and with Sorrentino letting his artistic flourishes fly high with whimsical, almost existential aesthetic choices. The first season wrapped up in a way that could serve as a solid series finale, and indeed instead of trying to recapture that magic, it appears Sorrentino wants to tell a new, different story.
This is somewhere between an anthology and a spinoff, and I’ll be curious to see how The New Pope connects to The Young Pope, if at all. Is it a direct sequel, following Law’s successor? Is it a prequel? Or is it an alternate universe story, focusing on a different Pope at the same time period with a new, different take?
We likely have a while to wait as Sorrentino is currently serving on the Cannes jury while also developing his next film Loro, and production on The New Pope is not expected to begin until Fall 2018 in Italy, although casting is already underway for the title role so expect another big name actor.