Taboo series 2 may see Tom Hardy’s presence scaled back

Tom Hardy will return as James Delaney for series two of Taboo, but don’t hold your breath…

Good news for fans of Tom Hardy-in-a-hat waging war on Regency London: BBC period drama Taboo was officially renewed for a second series back in March 2017. Less good news for fans is that it’s now over two years since then and there’s still no sign of it. So what’s the hold-up?

A very in-demand cast and creator, and a new addition to Tom Hardy’s family, is the answer reported by Radio Times. As of February 2019, writer Steven Knight had written six of the eight episodes and explained that the hiatus was partly due to Tom Hardy taking time off for his new baby.

The fifth series of Knight’s acclaimed gangster drama Peaky Blinders, coming soon to BBC One, has also been a factor, as has the new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol he’s currently filming with Guy Pearce in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge.

Add to that the release of Knight’s film Serenity this year, the very full dance card of Stephen Graham and the blowing-up career of Jessie Buckley and frankly, it’s a wonder any of them have time to put their socks on let alone produce eight new episodes of a period drama.

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We’ve recently had an update on the status of the series that proves Taboo series 2 (and 3) isn’t far from any minds.

“I can’t even tell you how many conversations we’ve had but we literally talked to (Knight) about it yesterday,” FX Chairman John Landgraf told Deadline at TCA this month. “He has an idea for a potential second and a potential third season of Taboo.” 

Landgraf added “It really just comes down to Tom; it comes down to what Tom wants to do, when he wants to do it, when he is available. I could see both those seasons getting made and relatively soon, and I could see neither of those seasons getting made.”

It was then heavily hinted that Hardy might have to take on a more minor role in Taboo going forward:

“We’ve talked about — and are still talking about — the possibility of doing a season of which Tom would be a part of but not at the very centre of it. He seems very emotionally, very committed to this character, though, and very committed to this show. And Steven is still passionate and wants to write it, but it comes down to Tom’s availability.”

Taboo series 2 plot

Series one told the story of the enigmatic James Keziah Delaney (Tom Hardy), a former East India Company man presumed dead following a shipwreck, and his return to London after a decade spent in Africa. It was a Gothic melodrama and a lurid tale peopled by larger-than-life characters and more than a few ghosts (literally – look out for five spectral visitations over the first eight episodes).

In series two “Taboo heads west and becomes a little bit more narcotic, more opium-affected,” creator Steven Knight told the Radio Times.

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Speaking to Huffpost UK, Knight explained that the plan is for three series in total, with series one “the escape”, series two “the journey” and series three “the arrival”.

Taboo series 2 (estimated) release date

All of the above means that there’s a good chance series two won’t start filming until late 2019/early 2020, in which case the earliest we could expect to see it is summer/autumn 2020.

Taboo series 2 cast

The major castmembers we can expect to return for series two include Hardy, Jessie Buckley, Stephen Graham, Tom Hollander and David Hayman, though (spoilers) ghosts being what they are to the series, we wouldn’t be surprised if Oona Chaplin, Jonathan Pryce, Franke Potente or Michael Kelly also floated in from time to time.

Taboo series 2 episodes

The second run will comprise eight episodes and be produced by Scott’s Free London company with Knight on scripting duties.

Producer Ridley Scott describes Taboo as a “dark, dirty brute of a drama”, while writer Steven Knight explains the thinking behind the first series, which he says “tried to take an impressionistic, rather than figurative, approach to a narrative which we hope more accurately portrays the spirit of an extraordinary time in history.” 

We’ll bring you more news as soon as it arrives.

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