A laugh-out-loud office-based comedy-drama-hybrid with a killer sci-fi thriller twist, Severance was the surprise TV streaming hit of 2022. It ended on such a shocking cliffhanger, with so many questions left unanswered that Severance season 2 is one of the most hotly anticipated returns in the televisual calendar.
Apple TV Plus’s first big hit rolled credits on the final episode of season one of Severance in April 2022, and now cast and crew are beginning to share details of what to expect when the show makes its inevitable return to our screens.
So what’s in store for Severance fans? Will the psychologically- trapped employees of Lumon ever find out the full details of their ‘real’ lives? And what the hell were those goats about?
From a Barack Obama casting rumor to the shooting schedule and fan theories, we're diving into the world of Lumon and severance surgical procedures ahead of the show's return.
Read on for everything we know so far about Severance season 2, and keep this page bookmarked – we’ll be updating it every time fresh info on the show is released. And be warned: some spoilers may follow.
Severance: the spoiler-free story so far, in a nutshell
Let’s get you all up to speed first. For the sake of not wanting to spoil too many of Severance’s excellent secrets, here’s just a top-line overview of the show’s world – a mini Severance recap of the overall concept.
The Apple TV Plus show centers around the employees of Lumon, a biotechnology company that works on a mysterious project so secret that its details are obscured from even the rank and file employees that make up the majority of its staff.
To further protect the company’s secrets, a surgical procedure is in place that most members of staff must agree to – it’s the show’s central hook – where an employee’s memories are split in two, one focussing on their work lives, and the other on the personal lives and memories they’ve had since birth. The two can never come into contact – a Lumon employee turns up at work, enters the workplace, and forgets everything that ever happened during the work day when they leave, meaning that their professional memories effectively constitute a whole other life being lived, that of their so-called ‘innie’, separate and unknown to the personal life.
While some employees believe this separation – this ‘severance – keeps their lives free of the stresses of work, it essentially subjects the other side of their brain to a life of abstract enslavement. However, when new employee Helly (Britt Lower) joins the Lumon Macrodata Refinement team, it sparks a rebellious streak in division head Mark (Adam Scott) and his colleagues Dylan (Zach Cherry) and Irving (John Turturro), leading to startling revelations not only about the company they work for but also the outer lives they cannot access.
Severance at San Diego Comic-Con 2022
The Severance cast and crew hit this year’s San Diego Comic-Con event for a panel discussion on the show’s story so far, and what’s going to happen next for those involved. And it threw up some interesting tidbits to get excited about.
"Something that I am excited about going into season 2 is building out the world a little bit more,” said series creator Dan Erickson at San Diego Comic Con 2022.
“Being able to see with this one slight tweak to reality what the different ramifications would be."
The panel also revealed some unlikely trivia about season 1 that we hadn’t heard before - such as the fact that, initially, Mark and Helly’s roles in the show were reversed, with Mark the new recruit waking up in the strange surroundings of the conference room. Also, the rainbow ceiling lights for the ‘Defiant Jazz’ scene were not communicated to the cast in order to preserve their real first-take responses to the surprising visuals.
"We didn't want it to feel like sci-fi – we wanted it to feel grounded," said Erickson, to the point where a real neurosurgeon was not only a consultant on the ‘severance’ procedure, but played an onscreen role in the show, too.
The physical presence of the elusive board was teased for season 2, while a discussion around fan theories presented “ideas better than” what even Erickson had in mind.
Severance season 2 cast: who’s confirmed?
If like us you’ve fallen for the lovably-lost cast of Severance, we’ve got good news. As of the time of writing, all the key cast members from season 1 are set to return for season 2.
Adam Scott (Mark), Britt Lower (Helly), Zach Cherry (Dylan) and John Turturro (Irving) will be returning to the Macrodata department, while Patricia Arquette (Mrs Cobel) and Tramell Tillman (Mr Milcheck) will once again be enforcers. Ms Casey / Gemma, as played by Dichen Lachman will be back, as will our personal favorite character, the kind-hearted Burt, played by the legendary Christopher Walken.
But could we have some more comedy luminaries join the cast? And even one of the most famous people on the planet – a former president?
“For me there are a lot, people like Christopher Guest [the comedy genius behind Spinal Tap and Best in Show]. I kind of imagine ‘Wow that would be amazing if someday he might be a part of the show,’ ” director / executive producer Ben Stiller said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab).
“It’s fun when you have a show like this where it allows for people to maybe come in for an episode or two but also fit into the world of Severance.”
In an even more ambitious move, Erickson teased that he was going to pitch a role to Barack Obama. "I think he’d be really good, he’d bring some gravitas,” the creator told The Hollywood Reporter.
Actress Jen Tullock, who plays Devon on the show, had some dream casting desires of her own too – she'd "pretty much give you every American dollar I’ve got in my bank account" to have Barbara Streisand make an appearance.
Severance season 2 will include ‘expansion’ of Lumon’s world
When a company, even a fictional one, has the power to make demands of their employee’s bodies, you can be sure they’ve got deep pockets and an even deeper reach into many aspects of the world they inhabit. Season 1 of Severance showed how many people in its universe actively protest against Lumon and its Severance procedure, and season 2 of the show will delve further into exactly how much influence Lumon has on the wider world.
"There’s definitely going to be some expansion of the world," Erickson said in an interview on season 2 with Esquire. "Within Lumon, we’re going to see more of the building, and we’ll see more of the outside world, too."
Lots of that will tap into exploring the mystery of Mark and Gemma’s (Dichen Lachman) relationship, too, with the season 1 finale tightly tied to their fates.
"There’s a question of sort of who was targeted first: was Mark targeted because of his relationship to Gemma, or was it the other way around? And that’s something that we don’t see this season, but we will in subsequent seasons," Erickson told Variety.
"That’s the big question, what is special about Mark? And is it actually that there’s something special about him or is it more about Gemma, and he was sort of pulled in? Those are all left unanswered this season, but we will get into it."
"I think that the biggest thing is how to maintain all those things in terms of the feeling of the show, while at the same time expanding the world since the end of the last episode," said Stiller in an August interview with Variety (opens in new tab).
"We’ve brought Mark and Irving and Helly to the surface, and I think those are storylines that people are going to be interested in. So, it’s going to be figuring out that balance. We’re writing and prepping right now to shoot in October."
Severance season 2 filming date revealed
Shows like Severance aren’t made overnight, and often require complex shooting schedules to accommodate other projects the cast and crew may be involved in. Severance is no different, and so its shooting schedule remains a little into the distance - and will run for several months.
According to Production Weekly, and as confirmed by Stiller, filming of Severance season 2 will begin in October 2022 and will likely stretch out to May 2023 - a seven-month window.
As we’ll explore in a second, this makes the Severance season 2 release date likely quite far off into the distance. Good things come to those who wait…
Season 2 of Severance script writing is still underway
If you’re looking for answers to Severance’s many mysteries though, you’ll want a peek inside season 2’s writing room, with scripts now being worked on ahead of filming. It’s said to be quite a collaborative process between the show’s key creative teams. Even star Adam Scott gets to ‘peek in’ on what’s coming up for his character Mark.
“It’s not really a straight line process, and it never was with this show,” Erickson explained to Deadline following the show’s 14 nominations for the 2022 Emmys.
“Ben Stiller is very involved with the creation of the story, which is the same as how it was in season 1. It was always about this sort of weird alchemy of his ideas and my ideas, and filtering those through each other until we get something that we both agree feels right. So, it’s a really in-depth process, but a joyful process, and that’s what we’re doing right now.”
What is the Severance season 2 release date?
Season 2 of Severance is confirmed – even before the finale of season 1 wrapped, the show’s success meant that Apple commissioned a new batch of episodes without delay. Ben Stiller always envisioned the show as a ‘multi-season’ story.
However, those wanting the cliffhangers to be resolved soon may be in for quite a long wait – it took many years for season 1 to make it from script to screen, as Stiller explains.
"It’s really exciting to see the response from people who are loving the show – and the level of fan engagement. It has been a long road bringing Severance to television. I first read Dan’s pilot over five years ago," Stiller said in a statement.
"It has always been a multi-season story, and I’m really happy we get to continue it. I’m grateful to our partners at Apple TV+ who have been behind it the whole way. Praise Kier!”
Filming for season 1 alone took 11 months to complete, and with writing underway as of July 2022, we wouldn’t expect to see season 2 of Severance debut until late 2023 at the earliest, with a 2024 return more likely. By our estimates, that lines up with the current October 2022 - May 2023 shooting schedule. As yet, however, no official date has been revealed.
It took us a couple of years to make S1. Hope you can hang in!April 18, 2022
Errr… you mentioned goats? What are Severance’s goats about?!
The goats! Of course - who could forget the series’ strange room with a lone employee feeding the tiny kids...
While we still don’t know exactly what that mysterious room was about, Erickson promised at Comic-Con that their meaning and purpose will begin to become clear when season 2 airs.
The return of the goats was also echoed in a Variety (opens in new tab) interview with director Ben Stiller. "Dan said yes [of another glimpse of the goats] at the Comic-Con panel, so I guess I can! Yes. There’s no way the goats are there for no reason."
In other words, EXPECT MORE GOAT ACTION TO COME.
Gerald Lynch is the Editor-in-Chief of iMore, keeping careful watch over the site's editorial output and commercial campaigns, ensuring iMore delivers the in-depth, accurate and timely Apple content its readership deservedly expects. You'll never see him without his iPad Pro, and he loves gaming sessions with his buddies via Apple Arcade on his iPhone 13 Pro, but don't expect him to play with you at home unless your Apple TV is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system.
Living in London in the UK, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK, and Executive Editor of TechRadar, and has covered international trade shows including Apple's WWDC, MWC, CES and IFA. If it has an acronym and an app, he's probably been there, on the front lines reporting on the latest tech innovations. Gerald is also a contributing tech pundit for BBC Radio and has written for various other publications, including T3 magazine, GamesRadar, Space.com, Real Homes, MacFormat, music bible DIY, Tech Digest, TopTenReviews, Mirror.co.uk, Brandish, Kotaku, Shiny Shiny and Lifehacker. Gerald is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press, and also holds a Guinness world record on Tetris. For real.
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