EXCLUSIVE: Season 2 of Netflix’s sci-fi drama series Sense8, from Lana and Lilly Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski, is set to debut May 5. It comes almost two years after the first season premiered on June 5, 2015, a year and nine months after the series was renewed for a second season, and eight months after the second season wrapped its marathon filming in more than a dozen locations across four continents.
Because of the show’s lengthy pre-production, production and post-production, I hear the options on the cast were up months ago, and Netflix let them lapse. Keeping a large ensemble cast like Sense8, which counts 15 regulars, including the title eight, is expensive as talent-holding fees add up over time.
As Season 2 episodes are being edited, I hear Netflix recently reached out to the core cast with offers for new contracts to make them available for a potential third season. I hear about half of the eight leads have closed deals, and the rest are in negotiations. Insiders are optimistic all would come back. I hear that under the new pacts, which include Season 3 provisions, the cast would be on hold until June, so Netflix will likely make a renewal decision by then. Given the trouble the Internet network is going through to secure the cast, it is logical to assume that Netflix is probably high on a potential third season.
The eight main roles on the show are played by Toby Onwumere (who replaced Aml Ameen at the start of Season 2), Doona Bae, Jamie Clayton, Tina Desai, Tuppence Middleton, Max Riemelt, Miguel Ángel Silvestre and Brian J. Smith.
Allowing options to expire and then trying to make new deals is a potentially risky move as actors could book new series and become unavailable, and they also could have leverage in negotiating new deals. Fortunately for Netflix, all eight core cast members were available. Meanwhile, probably the best known actor on the Sense8 cast, Lost alum Naveen Andrews, who is not part of the core eight but plays a key role on the show, was recently cast in CBS’ high-profile drama pilot Instinct, which has him in first position. If that pilot goes to series, any future involvement in Sense8 would be in a guest-starring capacity upon availability.