‘Shogun’ Creators Tease Going Beyond James Clavell’s Book and “Darker Chapter” for Season 2

[This story contains spoilers for season one of Shōgun season one.]

While celebrating season one of Shōgun at an Emmys For Your Consideration event on Tuesday, the team behind the hit FX series gave a few hints at what the future of the show may look like.

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Last month, it was announced that second and third seasons are in development, expanding the story past its original limited series format. That expansion will see the show move beyond the James Clavell book that inspired the series and was entirely covered in season one.

Co-creator Justin Marks said he and fellow creator Rachel Kondo (who are married) have been plotting ahead on a potential season two since December and joked they are at the “arguing” stage of development.

“And shooting down each other’s ideas,” Kondo added. “No, there’s a lot of chaos but creative chaos, where we’re throwing everything that we have at the wall, seeing what sticks. It’s been exciting and nerve-wracking because, obviously, this is uncharted territory — we don’t have a roadmap, we just have history.”

The pair were recently in Japan to do research and visit different locations, and in working alongside Clavell’s estate, are “trying to study his process of curation,” Kondo said. “How did he curate, which events, which characters, which characters can you conveniently combine — those sorts of things that kind of allow you to make something new.”

“There’s a lot of great conspiracy theory in history, a lot of different theories about, ‘Oh, it was said that this went on, but this really went on,’ and those little darker corners are what we’ve really enjoyed exploring,” Marks continued, also teasing how they are approaching two future seasons versus just one. “The third season is really an ending. We know where it starts, and we know where it ends, and we know who is there on that journey. We’re just focusing on part two right now to really make sure we can get to that point. But part two is, as second chapters go, kind of a darker chapter.”

Hiroyuki Sanada, who is a producer on the series as well as the star, said as they are discussing where the story will go in future seasons, “We don’t have James Clavell’s novel anymore, but we learned his spirit and the taste of storytelling. All his DNA is in our bodies, I believe.”

He added that “keeping quality is the most important thing to me” when returning.

One person who will not be returning is Anna Sawai, whose Lady Mariko died in the penultimate episode. Asked if she thinks her run on the show is entirely done or if she may show up in flashbacks, Sawai said, “They can do that. I don’t know if it’s necessary though. I don’t want them to write something just to have her in it, like it feels a little forced. I’m happy. I just want to watch it as an audience. I was telling them I’m happy to go to set and like walk the dogs or be with the horses, that’s my next job.”

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