The Gilded Age Is Already Renewed For Season 2
If you haven't started watching the series, this is your sign to do so.
It took 10 years for a proper American version of Downton Abbey to finally arrive on TV. The Gilded Age, first announced in 2012 as a straight prequel about Robert and Cora Crawley, spent a decade in development purgatory, bouncing from NBC to Peacock and finally to HBO. On the way, it morphed from a story about Cora’s coming of age in New York City into its own tale of new money versus old money in the robber baron era. The result is a hit, and The Gilded Age Season 2 has been officially given the green light.
Like Downton Abbey, The Gilded Age is a large ensemble piece with “upstairs” and “downstairs” casts, but featuring two houses instead of one, sitting alongside 5th Avenue and Central Park. On one side of 61st Street, there’s the stately van Rhijn home, headed up by widow Agnes (Christine Baranski), a daughter of New York old money. She uses the fortune she inherited from her late husband to support her spinster sister, Ada (Cynthia Nixon), and her penniless niece, Marian (Louisa Jacobson). Her wayward son, Oscar (Blake Ritson), holds her at arm’s length, but that’s because, despite his hunt for a rich wife to keep the family’s upkeep going, he’s living with another man.
On the other side, a new mansion has just gone up, the home of the railway magnate George Russell (Morgan Spector, sporting one fabulous beard) and his striving wife, Bertha (Carrie Coon, sporting one hell of a hat collection). They just so happen to have two marriage-age children, Larry (Harry Richardson) and Gladys (Taissa Farmiga), perfect for Oscar and Marian (but don’t tell Agnes that). Bertha is as determined to break into the old money society set as Agnes is to bar her. The resulting battle of wills is as delightful as any Julian Fellowes production could be.
The Gilded Age also has a story to tell about the experience of Black communities in New York in the 1880s. Agnes’ secretary, Peggy Scott (Denée Benton), is the daughter of the little-shown Black middle class of the era and determined to break into journalism. Her story, which is the primary driver of the van Rhijn’s downstairs set, is worth watching all on its own.
So, what’s in store for Season 2? Here’s a rundown of what to know and what to expect.
The Gilded Age Season 2 Renewal Updates
The first season of The Gilded Age debuted in mid-January 2022. Though the first episode wasn’t initially a hit, viewership has been growing steadily week to week. At the season’s halfway point, with Monday night viewership reaching Chernobyl-level highs, HBO execs decided it had earned another round. On Feb. 14, HBO gave period-piece fans a Valentine’s Day gift of a confirmation of Season 2.
The Gilded Age Season 2 Cast Predictions
The Gilded Age cast is not small. Downton Abbey’s cast of 19 regulars is dwarfed by the sheer amount of characters living on 61st and their friends, relations, and business associates. Between leading roles and recurring characters, there are on the order of 30+ actors who the show will likely be negotiating to bring back.
Christine Baranski, for example, currently stars in The Good Fight and The Gilded Age, although she has admitted making her schedule work for both is a “champagne problem” and that she dearly would like to return for Season 2. Likewise, Cynthia Nixon may well be doing And Just Like That Season 2, should HBO decide to renew that as well, but since both productions are on the same network, one assumes they can work it out.
As for Carrie Coon and Morgan Spector, one hopes they will also do what it takes to continue on the show.
As for the rest of the cast, fans will have to wait and see. Broadway vets like Donna Murphy, Audra McDonald, Kelli O’Hara, and Nathan Lane play some of the recurring characters. Whether or not they will be back remains to be seen.
The Gilded Age Season 2 Plot Predictions
The plot of The Gilded Age is relatively simple. One assumes a Season 2 would continue to chronicle the changes to New York as those like JP Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, and Cornelius Vanderbilt come in with new fortunes and new ideas and effectively remake the city. And it will likely continue the fight by the Gilded Age Four Hundred (the old money families’ society set) to keep these newcomers and their modern ideas out of the best ballrooms.
One thing Season 2 can’t not have? The houses, the costumes, and the sumptuous period details. Season 1 is filled with sweeping shots of the Russell mansion and long looks at the van Rhijns’ stately rooms. Though there may not be a singular house that stars in it, as Downton Abbey has, there’s plenty for fans to feast their eyes upon.
The Gilded Age Season 2 Trailer & Release Date Predictions
With Season 1 not yet complete and Season 2 nowhere near filming, it’s hard to guess when a trailer or a release date will arrive, although one assumes HBO would aim for Season 2 to premiere in 2023. But at least one thing’s for sure: It will not take another decade to get more of The Gilded Age.
The Gilded Age Season 1 continues with new episodes weekly every Monday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and streaming directly following on HBO Max.