The thrilling finale of Altered Carbon’s second season, titled “Broken Angels,” features some surprising twists and turns as Takeshi Kovacs sacrifices his Anthony Mackie sleeve (and stack) in order to save the people of Harlan’s World from death by Angelfire, via the Elder orbitals surrounding the planet. A few scenes later, we see a newly repaired Poe (Chris Connor) chatting with Dig 301 (Dina Shihabi) — or Annabel as she prefers to be called now — about a bit of code that happens to house a human DHF.
But what does this all mean for the future of Altered Carbon if the series gets picked up for Season 3 by Netflix? To find out the answers to these questions, we spoke to Season 2 showrunner Alison Schapker to help us break it all down.
Altered Carbon Season 2: Will Anthony Mackie Return for Season 3?
DHF stands for Digital Human Freight, which is the equivalent of a human soul or consciousness — basically, everything that makes you you. According to Schapker, that particular DHF is Takeshi Kovacs, which Poe is able to write down just before Kovacs’ stack is destroyed by Angelfire. Here’s what Schapker had to say about that final scene and whether or not we’ll see Anthony Mackie again:
“We all loved the end of Season 1, where Kovacs gives the sleeve of [Elias] Ryker back to Ortega and then all you see are these boots walking out of the elevator, and you’re like, ‘I think Kovacs is coming back, but in what sleeve?’” Schapker told IGN. “And we wanted to make that promise to the audience in Season 2. And we also just loved the idea of Poe, who’s been fighting deterioration the whole season, to then have his own moment of nobility where he basically sacrifices himself but manages to copy Kovacs at the same moment. So that’s our promise to the audience, there is his stack, there is Takeshi Kovacs’ consciousness. But in what sleeve… we’ll have to see.”
Another factor to consider is the fact that Joel Kinnaman did not make a Season 2 cameo apart from a few Season 1 flashbacks. While Kinnaman’s absence could be due to a simple scheduling conflict or various other reasons, lead actors typically demand top billing for each episode they appear in. Anthony Mackie reportedly made $475K per episode for his work this season, so any appearance in Season 3 could be costly.
Altered Carbon: Season 2: Will We See More of the Elders in Season 3?
Where Season 1 of Altered Carbon merely hinted at the Elder civilization that made stack technology possible in the first place, Season 2 delves deeper into their mysterious history, and we even get to see one out in the open. But there’s still so much we don’t know about the Elders, so we asked Schapker if we’re going to see more of them in future seasons.
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“For me, to be doing a show in space, to only have humans feels also not adequate to what I imagine the future to be,” Schapker explained. “So, whether or not we’re going to see more of the Elders, I think is very much an open question because we certainly now understand them a bit more. And what happens at the end of Season 2 really leaves its mark on Harlan’s World. So you go from having a planet that’s ringed by these Elder orbitals, to having a giant explosion, and now there’s a gaping hole over the planet, so they continue to influence how things are going to happen.”
Altered Carbon Season 2: What’s the Deal With Quell’s Visions of Kovacs?
“We’ve always played with this idea of ghosts and the people you carry around with you,” Schapker said. In the same way that Kovacs saw visions of Quell in Season 1, and then his sister Reileen (Dichen Lachman) in Season 2, Quell is now seeing a version of Kovacs that she’s carrying around in her head. Schapker also pointed out that these ghostly visions are not caused by a technologically embed device, but used as “a poetic device for the show.”
Altered Carbon Season 2: Does Will Yun Lee’s Kovacs Fit Into Future Seasons?
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Will Yun Lee’s return to Altered Carbon in Season 2 as a version of Kovacs who never killed his sister and never fell in love with Quell is one of the season’s most interesting storylines. And now that he’s decided to stop working for the Protectorate and help Quell restart the uprising, we’re curious if his story will continue if the series is renewed for a third season.
“I absolutely think that Will leaves Season 2 with a purpose and a mission,” Schapker told IGN. “He’s sending a team to pick up [Quell’s] sleeve, she’s casting off somewhere. She’s not saying where, and he has clearly turned. Now whether or not he’s going to stay that way, where we’re going to find him, how far in the future… But in my mind, yes, I would hope to continue exploring that Kovacs as well.”
David Griffin still watches DuckTales in his pajamas with a cereal bowl in hand. He’s also the TV Editor for IGN. Say hi on Twitter.