Details have been very scant about the hotly anticipated follow-up to Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, but today we finally have a bevy of interesting details to report. For one, we know when The Haunting of Bly Manor will arrive: “fall of 2020.” Who wants to bet that the Halloween window is involved here in some way?
Today also brings some first-look images from the new series, and the first poster, which you can see below, in addition to some very interesting plot details straight from director/showrunner Mike Flanagan. In his quotes, he illuminates a bit how the unorthodox second season of the series will work, given that it’s not a direct follow-up to Hill House. Instead, the second season of the anthology-like series will tackle another classic piece of gothic literature in the form of Henry James’ classic novel The Turn of the Screw, famously adapted as The Innocents in 1961 and the godawful The Turning earlier this year—an early indication of what 2020 had in store for us all. Rather than this simply being another straight-up adaptation of The Turn of the Screw, however, Flanagan says that the season will actually incorporate elements of many other Henry James stories as well.
“The thing I have access to, that no other adaptation of The Turn of to the Screw has, is the rest of Henry James’ ghost stories. I get to use all of them,” Flanagan said in an interview with Games Radar. “The Turn of the Screw is only one of a dozen stories that we’re telling. All Henry James; all thematically linked. I think of Turn of the Screw as the backbone of this season—the through line that carries us from beginning to end. But we get to go off into ‘The Jolly Corner’ and ‘The Romance of Certain Old Clothes,’ and so many other of these wonderful ghost stories that people haven’t seen adapted before.”
There are also parallels to be made to American Horror Story here, as much of the core cast of the preceding season, including Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Kate Siegel, Victoria Pedretti and Henry Thomas will all be returning as new characters in Bly Manor. It makes one wonder—how many seasons of this overarching series does Netflix intend to make, and will they all star this core group of Mike Flanagan contributors? Does the series actually have an over-arching name?
Other notable performers in Bly Manor include T’Nia Miller, Rahul Kohli, Amelia Eve, Benjamin Ainsworth, Amelie Smith and Catherine Parker, who was dazzling as one of the co-stars of Flanagan’s early career feature Absentia in 2011.
Episode directors, meanwhile, include Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling, Ciarán Foy, Liam Gavin (A Dark Song!), and Axelle Carolyn. This would be a notable departure from The Haunting of Hill House, in which every episode was directed by Flanagan. Let’s hope that this season succeeds in matching the same tone of emotional intensity that made Hill House such a revelation. In the meantime, check out the poster below.