One of the more surprising hits of 2017 was Big Little Lies. HBO is no stranger to luring big stars to short-investment projects, most notably their original films, but the pay cable giant is at least partially responsible for the current limited series trend after the phenomenal first season of True Detective. Signing huge movie stars to eight or 10-episode stories has now become the norm, and HBO launched yet another high-profile limited series earlier this year with Big Little Lies. While the seven-episode show fully adapted Liane Moriarty’s book of the same name, stars Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley expressed interest in getting the gang back together for a second season—and now it sounds like that’s very much a possibility.
TV Line was the first to report that HBO is eyeing a Spring 2018 production start for Big Little Lies Season 2, with Witherspoon and Kidman clearing their schedules to return. Indeed, Variety adds that Witherspoon has actually dropped out of starring in the Fox Searchlight space-set film Pale Blue Dot, which has Fargo and Legion creator Noah Hawley writing and directing, so her schedule can be clear for Big Little Lies Season 2.
And THR reports that all that stands in the way of a Season 2 renewal is to find a new director for the series. Wild and Dallas Buyers Club filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée directed every episode of the first season while David E. Kelley wrote every episode, but as reaction to Big Little Lies exploded and the actresses began talking about a potential second season, Vallée maintained that the show would be better off sitting as a one-season thing. The filmmaker eventually changed his tune, but he recently wrapped another high-profile HBO limited series adaptation, Sharp Objects with Amy Adams, and may be too busy with post-production on that show to take the helm of Big Little Lies Season 2.
As recently as two weeks ago Kelley noted they were “kicking around ideas” and working on scheduling to get everyone back together, so it sounds like he would return to write Season 2 even if Vallée won’t be back. But with the show snagging eight Emmy nominations and dominating the zeitgeist conversation like few shows can nowadays, HBO will no doubt work hard to make this thing happen.
I’ll be curious to see what filmmaker comes aboard and what kind of story they tell. I thought Big Little Lies was one of the best things on TV this year, with tremendous performances and a really fascinating visual approach that made the stories all the more visceral. Vallée’s touch will certainly be missed if he doesn’t return, and I’m of the opinion that a second season has a very strong chance of undoing a lot of the great stuff Season 1 tackled (and also that Ziggy kid is now Young Sheldon, so he’s little busy). But hey, I’m probably gonna watch it anyway.