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Altered Carbon: Don't Expect More Joel Kinnaman in Season 2

The star doesn't think he'll be back, and with good reason

Tim Surette

(Warning: This story contains spoilers for Season 1 of Altered Carbon, so if you haven't watched the whole thing, you'll have to erase your stack after reading this.)

Now that you've plowed through all of Season 1 of Altered Carbon-- Netflix's new series about a dystopian future where people's consciousness can be transferred to and from different bodies -- you're probably wondering when you can get more. Well, there's good news and bad news.

The good news is that there are three books in Richard K. Morgan's novel series, and Season 1 of Altered Carbon only covers the first. The bad news is that if Netflix follows the path of the books, it will almost certainly mean most of the faces we finally got to know in Season 1 will be gone.

When TV Guide asked star Joel Kinnaman, who plays the new body of story hero Takeshi Kovacs (and the old body of Bay City cop Ryker), if he'd be back for a second season, he was pretty definitive in his answer.

"I don't think so, no," Kinnaman said. "We have no idea what the second season would be, but my guess is that they would follow the two other books, and they are all on completely different planets, completely different worlds, and my guess is -- and I don't know -- my guess is that it's sort of going to be an anthology show where maybe a couple of the characters continue into the next season. But no one knows what's going on in the second season."

Here Are the Big Influences on Altered Carbon

It's true that the character of Takeshi Kovacs continues in the next two books, but because of the universe's technology, he's in a completely different "sleeve," or physical body. That means that Will Yun Lee, who plays the real Kovacs, might not be in there either.

"We don't really reveal what happens to Kovacs' birth sleeve, but because he's not in it anymore, I would assume that sleeve is dead," Kinnaman said when asked if Lee would be back in the potential Season 2.

Because the second book, Broken Angels, is set on a distant colony and Kovacs' consciousness would have to be needlecast to his new sleeve -- think of it as a soul going into the Cloud, that's how these supersoldiers are moved around the galaxy -- we'd likely see an actor other than Kinnaman or Lee play this latest version of Kovacs. But Lee could still show up in the same way he appeared in Season 1.

"So I think Will Yun Lee, if he continues to be in the show, it will be in flashbacks," Kinnaman said. That would follow suit, since Kovacs' flashbacks to his love story with Quell (Renée Elise Goldsberry) formed the emotional core of the series. Which is alright with both Goldsberry and Lee.

Joel Kinnaman, Altered Carbon

Joel Kinnaman, Altered Carbon

Katie Yu / Netflix

"I have no idea [if I'll be back], but I enjoyed the part that I played," Lee told TV Guide. "To allow our relationship to flourish this way, as a person of color in this business for 19 years, I rarely have gotten this chance to be center of the screen as the hero, as a love interest, as someone who has real emotions with another human being, and so to be able to be afforded that, I think you'll see where the show will go further."

"Kovacs and Quell have this love story that started hundreds of years in the past, and in this world, what's really beautiful, is that it's bgger than any two physical forms, and it's bigger than death," Goldsberry told TV Guide. "Because in this world, in Season 1 of Altered Carbon, Quell is not alive. And yet she's always there, she's his intuition, she's his heart, she is still, for some reason, his leader and his moral compass. She's so many things for him. Even when she's not physically there. To imagine an actual union of them, in the flesh, is explosive."

Let's cross our fingers that if Altered Carbon does return for Season 2, no matter who is playing Kovacs in the present day, he's still thinking about his old flame Quell in the past and we get to see more of them together. That standalone episode explaining their love story was probably the highlight of the first season.

Altered Carbon is now streaming on Netflix.