Netflix loves to sell viewers a “limited series” and then turn it into a full-blown, long-running regular old series if things go well. That is how Riverdale lost 2017 bae Ross Butler to 13 Reasons Why’s originally-unexpected second season. Now, a question marks hangs above the future of the streaming service’s latest alleged “limited series,” Western epic Godless. As Netflix’s other big new drama produced by an Oscar favourite, David Fincher’s psycho thriller Mindhunter, was just renewed for season 2, it stands to reason fans are now asking “Is Godless next?” The fair answer is never say never, since there’s actually a really great, obvious idea to explore in season 2 of the Steven Soderbergh-produced period piece.
Prior to Godless’ debut, multiple outlets asked creator-director-producer Scott Frank if he planned for Godless 2.0. That’s a good question, since the series ends with hero Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell) taking in the views of the Pacific Ocean, villain Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels) dead in a field, and the surviving women of La Belle, New Mexico, welcoming their new, long-awaited preacher to town. That’s a pretty classic ending for a western, and Frank apparently hasn’t thought past it.
“You never know, but right now I don’t know what it would be,” he told The Hollywood Reporter of a prospective Godless continuation. The actors who play Whitey Winn, Game Of Thrones' Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and marshal John Cook (Sam Waterston) agree with their former Netflix boss, according to the publication. Brodie-Sangster said, “For me, unless they do something amazing with the writing and as long as it’s appropriate, I think it’s nice to actually have a Netflix show that comes out like this, where you have the beginning, middle and end.” Waterston added, “I think it’s a novel … I don’t think they’ll make a Godless 2,” But, hey, both of their characters were killed off by the end of the story. Is it so surprising they can’t really see the show going on?
That’s why a prospective Godless season 2 makes the most sense when you think about who actually survives the entire brutal Western. Namely, the women of La Belle. By the close of finale “Homecoming,” they have all gone through both physical and mental trauma. These are women who were shot, were forced to watch their friends be shot by an invading horde of violent men, and now have to rebuild their home from the ground up. And, all of them already suffered the original trauma of losing all of their husbands in a mining accident or an incident of cold blooded murder.
A random new man in a preacher’s suit doesn't fix all of that grief with a single short sermon. Rather, there’s an interesting, complex story there, especially when you take into account the most compelling characters of the entire series — Mary Agnes McNue (Merritt Wever), Callie Dunn (Tess Frazer), and Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery) — are still standing when Godless closes. Considering the fact Alice ends Godless with a Roy-supplied fortune, it’s easy to wonder what an all-woman town looks like when it’s bankrolled by two wealthy ladies like Alice, whom Truckee (Samuel Marty) admits will never leave La Belle, and sex worker-turned teacher Callie.
The other most compelling loose thread hanging over the end of Godless is the fate of Louise Hobbs (Jessica Sula), a young Black woman who loses all-but-everything in the a matter of hours. First her entire town, the all-Black settlement of Blackdom, is massacred by villain Frank’s men right in front of her eyes. To add insult to fatal injury, the Blackdom residents had absolutely no part in the dispute Frank's outlaws were so murderous about. Now, every single member of the Hobbs family is dead, save for Louise and her younger brother.
Considering that tragedy, one would expect Louise gets the finale consolation prize of a revolutionary-for-the-time interracial relationship with love interest Whitey. But, we already went over the fact the sheriff’s deputy dies as well, as he too is murdered by Frank’s posse. Louise was already out for blood before Whitey’s death, so what does her future look like after yet another tragedy befalls her?
Unfortunately, it’s possible Scott Frank will never answer these burning questions, as even Netflix entered production assuming Godless would be a one-and-done project. Frank told Variety that when he sent executives his script, the streaming service immediately wanted to make the Western their first in-house limited series. “Netflix kept every promise they made,” he added, and it’s doubtful they’re going to reverse that trend, even when it comes to season orders.
So, for now, we should expect to only get one season of Godless. Yes, even with all these tantalising sophomore year ideas that actually live up to that unfulfilled “No man’s land” promise. But, at least we have 13 Reasons Why season 2 to look forward to.
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