Spoilers for Altered Carbon season 1
Despite what happened in the finale of Altered Carbon, Joel Kinnaman may still return for season 2 of the Netflix show. Though the debut of the series was somewhat lost amidst the chaos of The Cloverfield Paradox, the first season of Altered Carbon proved what Netflix could bring to the sci-fi genre. Based upon the novel of the same name by Richard K. Morgan, the series was a lavish and immersive look at a future where bodies can be swapped out like cars or outdated phones. And though an ensemble emerged over the 10 episodes, the series was still anchored by Joel Kinnaman as the latest host for Takeshi Kovacs. But with the actor only signed for one season, Kinnaman may not return to Altered Carbon.
The first season ended with Kovacs leaving his latest sleeve, one of Altered Carbon's key pieces of terminology, and heading off-world in a new body. The move not only made sense in-story, but provided an exit for Kinnaman. It didn't take long for the actor to move on, either, as Kinnaman will star in Amazon's Hanna, a TV remake of the hit film. But though Kinnaman has a new job at Netflix's rival, doesn't mean he can't come back.
THR spoke with Kinnaman about whether he's done with Altered Carbon for good, and fans of the actor will be pleased with his response.
"I can't confirm that. We don't know anything about the second season."
A traditional TV schedule would make it quite challenging to star in two shows at once, but Netflix has a different method of shooting. What's more, but Kinnaman wouldn't need to be the star of season 2—meaning he could certainly fit in a few recurring guest roles whenever season 2 starts shooting. Of course, Kinnaman doesn't even know if that's in the cards.
"I don't know what's going to happen. No one does, really. Season two hasn't been picked up yet, so who knows?"
Netflix is well-known for giving second seasons to even shows that have a mediocre performance, and Altered Carbon was mostly positively received. It also built up a strong supporting cast and created an intricate world that has plenty of mysteries left in it. What's more, but Morgan's book series has two more entries Netflix could explore. If they do, Kinnaman isn't opposed to returning.
"If it was a cool story, for sure. I loved making this show. I had a great experience. The feedback has been fantastic. But I have no idea what's going on with the second season."
Luckily, the conceit of Altered Carbon means Kinnaman doesn't have to return as Kovacs. He actually played two roles in season 1, with his sleeve's original consciousness Elias Ryker getting some screen time. The finale of Altered Carbon brought Ryker back to his body as Kovacs headed into the sunset, so if season 2 could easily feature Kinnaman in that role. In fact, it would almost be a guarantee if the show plans to return to the story of Detective Ortega in season 2 of Altered Carbon.