The Haunting of Hill House was so much more than some ordinary haunted house show. Based upon Shirley Jackson's classic 1959 novel of the same name, the Netflix series delivered memorably creepy scenes, including one stunningly choreographed long shot, along with a few terrifying jump scares. The truly chilling thing about the show, though, was its ability to seamlessly blend supernatural thrills with a thoughtful explorations on childhood trauma, grief, addiction, and strained family relationships.
After the success of Hill House, creator Mike Flanagan decided to renovate his eerie series and turn it into an anthology, titled The Haunting. The second season, called The Haunting of Bly Manor, will draw its primary inspiration from Henry James' classic 1898 horror novella The Turn of the Screw. Based on that source material alone, we can infer that The Haunting Season 2 will be every bit as frightening and smart as Hill House was. Let's take a look at everything we know so far about The Haunting of Bly Manor so far.
It will arrive in 2020. The Haunting of Bly Manor is set to premiere on Netflix sometime in 2020. Flanagan confirmed in a July podcast interview with ReelBlend that the series had wrapped before any coronavirus pandemic-related shutdowns and that his post-production team has been working to complete the season virtually.
"I don't expect to be delayed one bit. We didn't really miss a step," Flanagan said. "We've been jamming through [post-production]. It's been going great. It's definitely later this year. It's not going to get kicked off until 2021 or anything." Though an exact release date has yet to be announced by Netflix, Hill House debuted in October 2018, so we have a haunting suspicion we'll see Bly Manor follow suit and premiere this October.
It will adapt several Henry James stories. When Netflix announced Season 2 would be titled The Haunting of Bly Manor, it became clear that James' novella The Turn of the Screw — about a governess taking care of two children in a potentially haunted country estate — would be a big influence on the season. However, Bly Manor won't just draw from The Turn of the Screw and will actually incorporate elements of several of James' ghost stories.
"The thing I have access to, that no other adaptation of The Turn of the Screw has, is the rest of Henry James' ghost stories. I get to use all of them," Flanagan told Games Radar. "The Turn of the Screw has been adapted so many times. We know how perfectly it fits into a feature film format. We're doing a whole season of television. The Turn of the Screw is only one of a dozen stories that we're telling. All Henry James; all thematically linked.
"I think of The Turn of the Screw as the backbone of this season — the through line that carries us from beginning to end. But we get to go off into The Jolly Corner and The Romance of Certain Old Clothes, and so many other of these wonderful ghost stories that people haven't seen adapted before," he continued. "It's all wrapped up in what seems to be familiar, but that familiarity goes away really early in the first episode. It says, 'We're off on a whole other road.'"
You guessed it. The HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR, a new chapter in the Haunting series based on the works of Henry James, is coming in 2020. pic.twitter.com/nvhRBEfH2E— The Haunting of Hill House (@haunting) February 21, 2019
A number of Hill House stars will return for Season 2. Bly Manor is shaping up to be a reunion for Hill House's Crain family. Victoria Pedretti and Oliver Jackson-Cohen, who played the troubled twins Nell and Luke Crain in Hill House, have both boarded Bly Manor. They'll be joined by Kate Siegel, who played middle sibling Theo Crain, and Henry Thomas, who played the Crain patriarch, Hugh. Catherine Parker, who played Poppy Hill, has also joined the cast.
In the new season, Pedretti will play the governess, Dani, who is charged with caring for two "very unusual children," per the actress.
Nellie Crain may be gone, but Victoria Pedretti is returning to the Haunting universe in The Haunting of Bly Manor coming 2020! pic.twitter.com/uWoB5zdxKx— The Haunting of Hill House (@haunting) June 28, 2019
Jackson-Cohen will portray Peter, "a charming fellow" who lives in the eponymous estate and makes "life very difficult" for everyone else, according to the actor. (And if you've read The Turn of the Screw, you have an idea of what time of trouble Peter may cause.)
Siegel, Thomas, and Parker's roles in Bly Manor are still being kept under wraps. Carla Gugino, who starred as Olivia Crain in Hill House, has also hinted that she would be interested in returning for Bly Manor but nothing has been announced.
New faces are joining the cast. iZombie favorite Rahul Kohli has joined Bly Manor as a series regular. According to Deadline, Kohli's character is described as "a small town guy with a worldly mindset, who has returned to the country to take care of his ailing mother."
T'Nia Miller (Years and Years), Amelia Eve, and young actors Amelie Smith and Benjamin Ainsworth have also been added to the cast. Smith and Ainsworth, respectively, play Flora and Miles, the children under the care of Pedretti's governess Dani. Miller and Eve's roles have not been announced.
It'll be "scarier" than Hill House. While Hill House mostly kept the boofactor to a minimum, it sounds like Bly Manor will ramp up the spookiness quite a bit — and even feature some surprises for those familiar with Henry James' work. Flanagan told Birth.Movies.Death, "We're looking at all the ghost stories of Henry James as the jumping-off point for the season, so it very much is a whole new deal. It's a cool way to expand on some of the things I loved about Season 1, but within the framework of a new story, without having to be restrained by the decisions we made last time. For Henry James fans, it's going to be pretty wild, and for people who aren't familiar with his work, it's going to be unbelievably scary. I already think it's much scarier than Season 1, so I'm very excited about it."
Prepare to spot more hidden ghosts in Season 2. One of the most exciting aspects of The Haunting of Hill House was the fact that fans could watch and re-watch scene after scene to spot all the ghosts hidden throughout the series, and Flanagan said a similar ghostly game will be afoot in Bly Manor.
We are already discussing how to up our hidden ghost game. https://t.co/rW4AW0LpF2— Mike Flanagan (@flanaganfilm) February 22, 2019
"That's part of the DNA of The Haunting for me — that old-school approach to the ghosts," he told Birth.Movies.Death. "In particular, we're having an enormous amount of fun talking about how to take some of the ideas from Season 1 about hidden ghosts and things like that, and find new gears for them this time. It'll be the same type of story, and we'll treat the ghosts very much the same way."
The Haunting of Bly Manor will premiere on Netflix later this year. The Haunting of Hill House is streaming now.