Spoilers for Taboo are included below.
The BBC confirmed in early 2017 that Tom Hardy’s 19th-century escapade Taboo would be renewed for a second season, meaning more James Delaney, more dirty comrades from the league of the damned, and even more grunting.
We’ve been waiting for four years, and we’re still waiting.
“Thanks to FX and the BBC, partners who could not be more suited to cooperating in groundbreaking work,” its creator Steven Knight announced at the time, “James Delaney will continue to explore numerous worlds as he takes his band of misfits to a new realm” (via RadioTimes).
“We’re glad people want to know what happens next,” said executive producer Ridley Scott, “and that the BBC and FX are up for more adventures with the devil Delaney and the league of the damned.”
Season one was a “phenomenal success,” according to BBC director of programming Charlotte Moore, who added that the “record numbers” of viewers were partly attributable to the show’s placement on BBC iPlayer.
“Taking risks and showcasing distinctive drama in a new Saturday night slot on BBC One allowed us to take risks and showcase distinctive drama; and the growing talkability of Taboo has engaged younger audiences, with record numbers coming to iPlayer, with the availability of the box set maximizing audiences even further,” she said.
“It can’t arrive soon enough for a second series.”
“Their decision to put something like Taboo, which is very on the edge, on a Saturday night on BBC One was stupid,” Knight told RadioTimes.com.
“However, it was also inspired because it worked.” It got people talking, and it helped to establish that period. It was a forerunner in terms of Saturday-night drama.”
We’re going to aggregate all the newest news in one place in the run-up to Taboo season two’s upcoming airing because that’s how we roll.
Everything you need to know is right here.
Taboo season 2 release date: When will it air?
The first season premiered on BBC One in the United Kingdom on January 7, 2017, and FX in the United States on January 10, 2017.
The second season was supposed to start filming in early 2018. In mid-2017, series creator Steven Knight remarked, “I’m attempting to write it as rapidly as I can.” “We’re hoping to shoot it… early next year,” says the director.
But the year has passed, and Hardy and Knight’s hectic schedules appear to have delayed the release of more Taboo. Peaky Blinders is the brainchild of Knight. He also created See, a post-apocalyptic drama starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard for Apple TV+, and wrote and directed Serenity, a thriller starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. With Connor Swindells and Jack O’Connell, he just co-created the new drama series SAS: Rogue Heroes.
Hardy has been busy as well, having acted in the films Venom and Venom: Let There Be Carnage. He also starred in 2020’s Capone and is set to star in the cop thriller Havoc, directed by The Raid’s Gareth Evans.
Hardy and Knight are also collaborating on a new BBC One and FX production of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations.
The limited series will be divided into six episodes, according to Knight: “It’s a joy to adapt Dickens’ work. Not just because of the timeless characters, but also because of the very relevant plot, I chose Great Expectations as the next piece to bring to the cinema.
“As the son of a Blacksmith, Pip’s transition from the forge to society holds a special place in my heart.”
“We are honored to begin the next chapter of collaboration with Steven Knight, Ridley Scott, Tom Hardy, and their teams as they reconvene for this modern adaptation of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations,” said FX Entertainment’s president Eric Schrier.
Charlotte Moore continued, ” “Given its current and intimate narrative, [Great Expectations] is an excellent choice. For a new generation, [Knight’s] fresh take on one of Britain’s most beloved masterpieces will make it a must-see drama.”
In early 2019, we finally got an update on Taboo, but it wasn’t exactly good news: Knight announced that the second series’ writing was “nearly” finished, but filming wouldn’t start until late 2019 or potentially early 2020.
Then there came You Know What, which threw a wrench in the works for the vast majority of film and television professionals. Given Hardy and Knight’s aforementioned busy schedules, filming on Taboo hadn’t even commenced by that moment.
Another reason for the show’s delay is that Hardy and his wife Charlotte Riley, who also played affluent widow May Carleton in Peaky Blinders, welcomed a baby in January 2019.
For that reason, Knight told Radio Times, pre-production had been put on hold.
In an interview with Esquire in August 2021, Hardy revealed some Taboo details.
“The second season of Taboo is important to me, and it’s taken a lot of thought,” Hardy added. “I enjoyed the first one, and I want the second one to be extremely fulfilling.”
“We’re still kicking around ideas: we could continue linear, continuing time, or we could drop before London [the first season started with Delaney returning to London after years in Africa], or we could quantum-leap over time! I’m not sure whether to go orthodox – there’s already a series of those – but I’m not sure if that’s the best route to take.”
Hardy has spent some time considering where the series could go next.
“‘Let’s say they go to America, they get to Canada, fast forward to 1968, the Tet Offensive, the Vietnam War, look at the CIA, the Viet Cong, the French in Saigon….’ I was thinking in my head. Take the Delaney family tree into the jungle and reproduce the same familial dynamics that occurred in London, but with new people, reflecting on how history and corruption repeat themselves.
“It’s still taboo, and it’s still period, but this time it’s the 1960s. There’s something enjoyable about it. Or should we go back in time to the 1800s? What about the Napoleonic Wars? The American Revolutionary War? But nothing has entered my mind, heart, or desk that has made me say, “That’s it!” therefore I’m setting fire to it.”
Taboo season 2 cast: Who will star?
Hardy is the solely confirmed returnee for Taboo season two so far — after all, he did co-create it with his father, Chips Hardy.
“It came about as a result of doing [BBC One’s 2007 miniseries] Oliver Twist and portraying Bill Sykes,” Hardy told us in 2017.
“To be blunt, I wanted to portray Bill Sykes, Sherlock Holmes, Hannibal Lecter, Heathcliff, Marlow [from Heart of Darkness], and every other iconic character in one.”
Knight revealed why he and the show’s main man have such an excellent working relationship in an interview with Collider, and it might surprise you.
He explained, “I think it works because we don’t socialize.” “We do it now and then, but not very often.” I believe the connection is entirely focused on work.
“What I like about Tom is that his work is his passion. The performance. He isn’t a big lover of celebrities. But he simply enjoys acting. He enjoys the process as much as the craft.
“Having him occasionally available to play roles that you’ve written is fantastic for me because I know I can trust him to deliver what you’ve written.”
Lorna Bow/Delaney (Jessie Buckley), Mark Gatiss (the Prince Regent), Stephen Graham (Atticus), David Hayman (Brace), Edward Hogg (Michael Godfrey), Jason Watkins (Solomon Coop), and Nicholas Woodeson are among the main cast members that could return (Robert Thoyt).
Scroobius Pip (French Bill), Roger Ashton Griffiths (Abraham Appleby), Tom Hollander (George Cholmondeley), Marina Hands (Countess Musgrove), Lucian Msamati (George Chister), and Louis Serkis (Robert, James Delaney’s half-brother) are among the recurrent cast members that could all return.
Oona Chaplin (Zilpha Geary), Jefferson Hall (Thorne Geary), Leo Bill (Benjamin Wilton), Michael Kelly (Edgar Dumbarton), and Jonathan Pryce (Edgar Dumbarton) were all killed off in the first series and are unlikely to return unless they harass James Delaney from beyond the dead (Sir Stuart Strange).
We’ll be updating this page as the second series approaches, so bookmark it for the most up-to-date cast announcements.
Taboo season 2 plot: What will happen next?
The first series ended with James and his surviving comrades leaving sail for America, and Steven Knight has hinted at where James’ narrative may go next.
“Explosive stuff is going to happen in my thoughts, which will be fantastic,” Knight remarked. “There’s a fantastic location for it, but I’m not sure we’re in a position to discuss the specifics right now.”
In the second chapter, he teased that the program “goes west and becomes a little bit more narcotic, more opium-affected.”
Delaney’s allies and why they’re drawn to him were also discussed by Hardy in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“He’s put together quite a diverse group… He said, “There’s a certain nobility about that gang, the sort of less-polished people of society.”
“I believe one of the most important things we had in the original setting of the series was that you realize James is the least vicious guy in the room, whether it’s around the company of the king.” Those who are perceived to be more savage by those on the outside, the voiceless, have banded together to use their combined wisdom to become a force to be reckoned with.
“Everyone who climbs aboard that boat has something completely honest and noble about them.”
Hardy has also hinted that the second season of Taboo will be set in the US intelligence network ‘Colonnade.’
“James is equivocal with how much information he’ll disclose when he says, ‘We are Americans,'” he said. “You’ll know when the timing is right in his thoughts.”
By looking at real-life events that occurred during this time frame, Radio Times attempted to forecast what would happen next in Taboo season two.
The war between Britain and America, for example, was a major plot point in season one, but it ended shortly after the events of that chapter ended in early 1815.
“If a second series featured these events, it might make James’ ideas a little more difficult – how can he play Britain and America off against each other if they are more friendly?” they say.
It’s also likely that James will learn more about his American ancestors, perhaps through interaction with his mother’s Native American tribe. Other mysteries built up in season one, such as the story behind James’ tattoo and the murkier portions of his past, could be revealed as a result of this.
Taboo season 3 and beyond: What does the future hold?
There’s no way this one will become old — Taboo will only be on for three seasons, with Knight having a very clear vision of the show’s three-act structure in his head.
“The first was ‘the escape,’ the second will be ‘the voyage,’ and the third will be ‘the arrival,’ and that’ll be it,” he said, implying that Hardy will persuade Knight to abandon the structure entirely and move the action a few decades or maybe a century forward.
During a chat with Collider, Knight commented on his ideas, revealing that he had always intended to spread Taboo’s tale over three seasons:
“It will take three [seasons] if we all stick with it and want to keep doing it. That is my strategy. Because I’ve planned a geographical course for the thing to follow. It’s essentially a westward trek “Knight agrees.
“I’ve made up my mind about where I want to go. Which is usually useful to have while embarking on a long excursion, such as writing three eight hours. It’s helpful to know where you’re going.”
Of course, being the primary character, Hardy is heavily reliant on everything.
Landgraf told Deadline, “It just boils down to Tom.” “It all boils down to Tom’s preferences, when he wants to do it, and when he is accessible.
“We’ve discussed — and continue to discuss — the potential of producing a season in which Tom is a part of but not the focal point.
“He appears to be quite emotional, but also very committed to this character and the show. Steven is still enthusiastic in writing it, but Tom’s availability is a stumbling block.”
Taboo season 2 trailer: When can I watch it?
Don’t get your hopes up just yet, guys.
First and foremost, we require the all-important air date (trailers usually land in the month leading up to the premiere).
We’ll have a better idea once we know that.