Big Little Lies was always supposed to be a limited series affair. It is, after all, based on a novel that doesn't have a sequel and does a pretty good job of wrapping itself up nicely, as we learned Sunday night.
There's also the matter that getting this pool of talent together seemed a momentous task the first time around. We're talking about three of our greatest working film actresses (Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern, all either Oscar winners or nominees) and two promising starlets on the rise (Shailene Woodley and Zoë Kravitz) here. To be sure, the cast all have a lot coming up on their plate. Aside from intriguing prestige and indie fare, most of these women are also tied up in big screen blockbusters in the near future. Nicole Kidman just joined the Aquaman movie (she'll play the titular character's mom). Laura Dern will join the Star Wars universe later this year in whats rumored to be a very important role. Reese Witherspoon is linked to a Disney live action reboot of Tinkerbell. Kravitz, of course, has a few more Fantastic Beasts movies to film (seriously: super hero movies, Disney live actions reboots, Star Wars and the Harry Potter universe. Is there a blockbuster franchise they aren't involved with?).
Sure, we'd love to see the ladies return, but we can't be greedy. We knew what we were getting into from the start. We should just be glad it happened in the first place.
Yet, apparently a second season is not only a possibility, but both Witherspoon and Dern are openly talking about it.
"People are asking us a lot if there is room for a Season 2 of this, and I know there is a lot of discussion, so. . ." Dern told Vanity Fair recently before trailing off.
Dern and Witherspoon, who are actually on vacation together now with their families, also held an Instagram live session on Friday to discuss the show and talked about the possibility of a second season.
"One of the main questions everyone keeps asking us is is there going to be a season 2," Witherspoon said. "We've been talking with the writer, and you guys should Facebook Liane Moriarty and tell her how much you want to see Big Little Lies 2. That would be good. She's thinking about ideas, and so we would love to hear ideas."
Hopefully, they're not teasing. With their mere suggestion, we're already invested in hope. In fact, at Witherspoon's suggestion, we're going to offer a few suggestion as to how this could even work.
1. A Direct Sequel With The Same Characters
The series wrapped up pretty beautifully with a happy little beach day that somehow made us cry. Sure, there were still a few thread left handing. Apparently, Kravitz's character Bonnie had a backstory in the novel that wasn't covered in the series that better explains her actions in the climactic scene. Yet, with that ending, we kind of hope these women keep on living the beautiful little life of white wine spritzer picnics and female friendship we left on. Besides, how many dark little secrets can one upper-crust town keep?
Oh, right. We still don't know if Madeline ever told Ed about her affair. In fact, come to think of it, the finale did pay an awful lot of attention to Tori, the wife of Madeline's former theater director fling, seemingly stalking and eyeing down our protagonist. Was it just a red herring meant to heighten the mystery of who dies by offering alternative options, or could it be the perfect thread that leads to a sequel?
Here's something intriguing to keep in mind: Madeline's affair wasn't part of the original book, and instead was dreamed up by the show's executive producer and sole writer David E. Kelley, supposedly because Witherspoon wanted her character to have a secret of her own and a bit more depth.
It could also have been the prefect subtle plot device to leave the door open for more. Alternatively, there's clearly something going on with Renata's husband, right?
2. An Anthology Series Set-Up With a Different Liane Moriarty Novel As Its Basis
Here's something intriguing: way back in August, Witherspoon and Kidman (who came together to buy the rights to the novel and put this all in motion in the first place) also optioned the right to Moriarty's latest novel Truly Madly Guilty. Could a Moriarty anthology series work? Perhaps. Unfortunately, this novel is of smaller scale. Most of the action takes place in a single day, and concerns three main couples with, of course, particular focus on the wives.
We haven't read it, but reading some of the reviews we kind of got some ideas of how casting could work. Two women are life-long friends, one a Type A queen bee and the other her emotional mess of a BFF. The third is a former exotic dancer. Our original thoughts were that clearly Reese was clearly the queen bee, with Kravitz as the former stripper and Kidman the messy best friend. Then, we thought, hmmm, it would make more sense age-wise for Kidman to play queen bee, Dern to handle emotional mess territory (see: Enlightened) and Witherspoon to play the ex-stripper. Apologies to Woodley and Kravitz.
Alas, the novel's smaller scale might mean it is better suited for a feature film instead of being drawn out into a seven-part series. Though, Moriarty does have five other novels, and Kidman and Witherspoon do seem to have a monopoly on optioning the hit novelist's work. Maybe one of the others could work just as well.
3. Forget Moriarty, Just Let David E. Kelley Handle Original Anthology Series Duty
The actresses are clearly the headline of this series' success, but the lesser remarked upon story is the return to form of David E. Kelley. He's one of television's greatest creators and writers, the only TV maestro ever to see two of his shows win the Best Comedy and Best Drama series Emmys in the same year (for Ally McBeal and The Practice, respectively). He's had a rough few years with series missed opportunities, but Big Little Lies (and, to a degree, Amazon's critically adored, but not quite pop culture-piercing Goliath) proves he's still got it.
If Ryan Murphy can juggle four anthology series, surely Kelley can be trusted with one. Just let him dream up some new scenario to tackle, with or without Moriarty's help, and unleash this troop of actresses on it. Yes, in an ideal world Jean-Marc Vallée would be back to direct as well, but perhaps some other auteur is willing to tackle TV could substitute.
Oh, and while we're on the subject, we'd be remiss if we didn't whisper this little wish into the universe in hopes of seeing it come to pass. Kelley happens to be married to an actress you might have heard of. Her name is Michelle Pfeiffer. After only working sporadically over the past two decades in order to raise a family, she's committed to a full-time return to acting. Surely she knows that some of the best roles for women right now are on TV, and it would only make sense for her husband to write her one. Could you even imagine Pfeiffer joining this little universe?
While we're on the subject, perhaps Kidman can pull her weight and get a role for her real life BFF Naomi Watts. Surely Kidman wants someone on board she can do Instagram Live sessions with while on a joint vacation.
Oh, and Laura Linney. Someone get Laura Linney involved.
We're going over board, but let's be honest, the true pleasure of this Bechdel Test-acing show was getting to see so many strong, iconic actresses team up and play against each other while the men, as great as they were, took a backseat.
It's something still incredibly rare even in 2017, and it only underscores why we're so desperate for more of it no matter how it happens. Please, HBO, just get Witherspoon, Kidman, Dern, Woodley and Kravitz back together somehow in any way possible. If you happen to add in a few more powerhouse actresses along the way, well that would just be icing on the cake.
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