“We will not be moving forward with a second season of Lovecraft Country,” HBO said in a statement to Deadline. “We are grateful for the dedication and artistry of the gifted cast and crew, and to Misha Green, who crafted this groundbreaking series. And to the fans, thank you for joining us on this journey.”
With its unique blend of horror, fictional period drama, real historical figures, fantasy, sci-fi and social commentary, the empowering Lovecraft Country took pop culture by storm in August and helped advance the social conversation ignited by the death of George Floyd.
Helped by strong word of mouth, the series starring Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors grew its fan base, with the Season 1 finale hitting a series-high audience on HBO (1.5 million) and becoming the most watched new episode of an original series on HBO Max in its first day of availability. By the time the finale was released in October, the premiere episode had crossed the 10M viewers mark.
But the enthusiastic reception of the first season of Lovecraft Country, created, executive produced and showrun by Green and produced by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions, did not automatically guarantee a renewal.
That is because Season 1 was based on Matt Ruff’s book, which served as a roadmap for the series. Like HBO has done with other series — most notably Big Little Lies, which ended up producing an original second season after a first installment based on Liane Moriarty’s novel — it pursued a potential second chapter of Lovecraft Country.
“Misha is working with a small team of writers and they’re coming up with a take,” Casey Bloys, Chief Content Officer of HBO and HBO Max, told Deadline in February. “She had a book to go on in the first season. She and the writers wanted to go off and take some time to go out and figure out without a book with these characters, what’s the journey we want to go on. We all want to be sure she’s got a story to tell. That’s where she is right now, working on those ideas. I’m very hopeful, as is Misha, so we’re giving them the time to work.”
Ultimately, after careful consideration, a decision was made not to proceed with a second season.
At the time of the Lovecraft Country finale airing in October, Green outlined for Deadline where she wanted to take the series. “I envision a second season that carries on the spirit of Matt Ruff’s novel by continuing to reclaim the genre storytelling space that people of color have typically been left out of,” said Green, who co-created another acclaimed series, WGN America’s Underground, before developing Lovecraft Country.
The 10-episode first season of Lovecraft Country followed Atticus Freeman (Majors) as he journeys with his childhood friend Letitia (Smollett) and his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) on a road trip from Chicago across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father Montrose (Michael Kenneth Williams). Their search-and-rescue turns into a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and monstrous creatures that could be ripped from an H.P. Lovecraft paperback.
Lovecraft Country was written and executive produced by Green. Peele executive produced through his Monkeypaw Productions banner. Abrams and Ben Stephenson executive produced through Bad Robot Production in association with Warner Bros. Television. Bill Carraro was also an executive producer. Other executive producers included episode 1 director Yann Demange and episodes 2 and 3 director Daniel Sackheim. David Knoller executive produced episode 1 of the series.