One of the few welcome surprises of 2020 was just how good The Outsider was. The HBO limited series, based on Stephen King’s 2018 novel and adapted by the great Richard Price, was a skin-crawling exercise in sustained tension, full of atmosphere and dread. While weirdly overlooked at the Emmys (save for a nomination for Jason Bateman’s admittedly stellar performance), it was popular with critics and audiences, and while initially deemed a “limited series,” Price recently admitted to writing new scripts and Bateman (who also directed the first two episodes) said that HBO was discussing it. Now King has chimed in, insisting that a follow-up is on the way.
In a chat with Entertainment Weekly, ostensibly about his Mr. Mercedes show headed to Universal’s direct-to-consumer streaming platform Peacock, while discussing the Holly Gibney character (who appears in Mr. Mercedes and The Outsider, played by two very different actresses), King let slip: “Cynthia may get that time, because there’s going to be a second season of The Outsider as soon as they can get the production going.” When pressed on where a follow-up season to The Outsider would be headed, King demurred. “I know exactly where it’s going because I have seen some of the scripts. I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you,” the author said. “I’ll just say that it’s really great and a real spooky paranormal element.”
If you didn’t see the first season, it chronicled the events in a small southern town following the death of a young boy and the accusation that a beloved member of the community (Bateman) was responsible. Eventually, a private detective, Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo) is called in to assist and comes up with a very bizarre explanation: an ageless, shape-shifting monster is responsible for the child’s murder and is well on its way to killing again. This new season sounds like it will be tackling a different supernatural subject matter, but hopefully the survivors of the first season (there weren’t too many) will return in some form, led by Erivo, whose performance was truly magnificent.