Yellowjackets just got another new cast member

Simone Kessell is joining everyone's favourite cannibalism-adjacent mystery drama. Here’s everything else we know about season 2.

by Tom George and Jenna Mahale
12 August 2022, 11:00am

The exact appeal of Showtime’s Yellowjackets is tricky to pin down. What kept five million viewers coming back to the decade-spanning psychodrama week after week? Was it the canny treatment of our current cannibalistic zeitgeist? The chaotic evil of Misty Quigley? That impeccable time-jump casting? Between the 90s high school drama, creepy supernatural happenings and that killer soundtrack, season one of Yellowjackets had us tight in its blue-and-gold grip. Fortunately, more YJ is on its way, with season two announced along with some new cast members too.

The season one finale, which aired at the beginning of the year, left us with a major character death (be warned, spoilers ahead!) and gave us several new opened cans of worms as opposed to answers about the mysterious cult that seems to be following our plane crash survivor protagonists. Hopefully, season two gives us some closure. Here’s everything we know about it.

What can we expect to see from season two’s plot?

A number of our stranded soccer players were last seen in the middle of a bloody ritual involving a bear’s heart, but Sophie Nélisse’s Shauna is still reeling from her best friend’s tragic death: Jackie (Ella Purnell) met her untimely demise as she fell asleep in the cold outside, a choice she essentially made because of a fight with Shauna. 

“We are definitely re-visiting the winter storyline,” Ashley says. “We’ve been calling season two, ‘The Winter of Their Discontent,'” a nod to John Steinbeck’s book of the same name, as well as a line from William Shakespeare’s Richard III. It sounds dark and cold and grim and we’re so very here for it.

When will production start?

Not long after season one aired, the showrunners Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson said they were “in the writing process” with their staff and were “just getting started on the actual scripts,” though they have all been brainstorming “for several months now.” Deadline now reports that production of the second season will begin in Vancouver in late August.

But the requirements (and costs) of filming dreary winter scenes in sunny British Columbia can stack up quickly. “We’re starting those production conversations and we have some really amazing and creative people on our team,” Ashley shared with Variety earlier this year, adding that everyone “will have to get very creative on the production front,” and for viewers to expect some “movie magic at play.”

 Who will return from the original cast?

Christina Ricci, Juliette Lewis, Tawny Cypress, and Melanie Lynskey are all set to reprise their roles in the second season. Their teen counterparts, played by Sammi Hanratty, Sophie Thatcher, Jasmin Savoy Brown and Sophie Nélisse are also slated to return. Liv Hewson, who’s character Van narrowly survived season one albeit with a bear-mauled face, will also be returning and has been promoted to series regular. That suggests she’ll play an even bigger role this time around.

We’re also likely to see more Courtney Eaton, who plays Lottie, after the finale’s reveal of her potential involvement in Travis’ murder, and maybe even some Ella Purnell – yes, Jackie is dead, but there’s always flashbacks.

Are there any new additions to the Yellowjackets cast?

Not only will we see more of teen Van in the new season, it seems adult Van is still kicking about and will be coming back to create some drama with Tawny Cypress’ Tassia, Van’s former wilderness-lover. Playing her adult counterpart is Lauren Ambrose, an Emmy-nominated actress currently starring in M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological horror series Servant. Like Liv Hewson, Lauren will also be a series regular for the next season.

New Zealand actress Simone Kessell will also be joining the cast as adult Lottie, finally putting a face to the terrifying cult leader behind a number of the first season’s strange and violent events.

Is there a trailer for season 2 of Yellowjackets yet?

Not yet. But watch this space!

When is the release date?

Previously, Showtime’s Gary Levine told Vulture that they were looking to premiere Yellowjackets’ second season “at the end of 2022.” While that might still be possible under the show’s current production schedule, it’s one hell of a tight timeline; we’re more likely to see ‘The Winter of Their Discontent’ in the new year. That’s okay though. You simply can’t rush genius.

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