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The Queen's Gambit Season 2 - Will It Ever Happen?

With its magnetic, self-destructive lead, mastery of re-envisioning chess as an adrenaline-fueled sport, and gorgeous period sets and costumes, Netflix's "The Queen's Gambit" unexpectedly became a global overnight sensation when it hit Netflix in October 2020. Adapted from the 1983 novel by Walter Tevis, the seven-episode limited series was nominated for two Golden Globes and won 11 Emmys.

"Gambit" dives deep into the character of Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy), an orphan who develops a troubling pill addiction at a young age but who finds solace in the game. Set in the 1950s and '60s, "The Queen's Gambit" follows Beth through her tumultuous life, depicting her ascendency in the male-dominated ranks of professional chess. Fans loved following the dramatic (and sometimes harrowing) twists and turns of Beth life journey. Pleas for a second season were immediate — and at least initially, unanswered. 

"It's wonderful to know that people loved the show where they want to spend more time with these characters," executive producer William Horberg said in 2021. "We never envisioned it that way." Although Horberg noted that there had been some open-ended discussions, the show's fate — like the future of Beth — was left uncertain. But in recent years, beyond-the-books adaptations like "Game of Thrones" and "Big Little Lies" have set a possible precedent, with new source material written specially for additional seasons, raising the question: Could "The Queen's Gambit" Season 2 ever happen?

Why isn't The Queen's Gambit Season 2 happening yet?

While there's definitely potential for a second season of "The Queen's Gambit," it's been several years since the chess drama debuted on Netflix, which is a long time to wait between seasons. The main reason Season 2 is not happening right now is because "The Queen's Gambit" was intended to be a miniseries, and Netflix has yet to order another season.

The show follows a bildungsroman format, with a compelling beginning, middle, and end. Beth's sobriety, her win against Vasily Borgov (Marcin Dorociński), and her world champion status leave her at her highest point, thus completing the first chapter of Beth's journey. The second chapter, or season, remains unwritten — not just for viewers but in terms of production, as well. This is because the series is based on "The Queen's Gambit" novel by Walter Tevis. Season 1 depicts the entirety of Tevis' standalone novel, so there's no more source material from which to adapt. Although it would be possible to develop Season 2 from scratch, it would put the production on a longer timeline.

Additionally, the main cast hasn't had time to get together for a second season. Since starring in "The Queen's Gambit," Anya Taylor-Joy has put her energy into film. She brought Jane Austen's Emma Woodhouse to life in 2020 and has shared the screen with the likes of Nicholas Hoult, Ralph Fiennes, Chris Pratt, and Jack Black in movies like "The Menu" and "The Super Mario Bros. Movie." Meanwhile, co-star Thomas Brodie-Sangster has been busy filming "The Artful Dodger" in Australia.

It was a long road to adapt Season 1 — and it almost didn't happen

Production time has been an issue for "The Queen's Gambit." It was a decades-long endeavor for the show's creators to bring Season 1 to the small screen. So if Netflix orders a second season, it could be years before it sees the light of day.

Production officially began in 1992, when screenwriter Allan Shiach (professionally known as Allan Scott) reluctantly acquired the rights to Walter Tevis' 1983 novel. "The book was more about the central character Beth's internal journey. That is hard to dramatize," he admitted to The Independent. However, he forged on, and after a decade and few failed attempts to get it off the ground, he partnered with the late Heath Ledger in 2007. In addition to working on the screenplay, Ledger hoped to use the project to make his directorial debut. "He was passionate about it; he was an intense, interested young man, and I was drawn to him immediately," Scott recalled after Ledger's death in 2008.

"The Dark Knight" actor envisioned Elliot Page playing the role of Beth, and he and Scott planned to make the movie at the end of 2008. However, Ledger's death halted production, and it wasn't until Scott teamed up with fellow screenwriter Scott Frank a few years later that "Gambit" finally saw the light of day. ‌Netflix was interested in Frank's miniseries idea after the duo failed to turn the book into a movie. Now, fans are still holding out hope that there's more to come.

Anya Taylor-Joy hasn't closed the door on The Queen's Gambit Season 2

It's not just fans holding out hope for "The Queen's Gambit" Season 2; Anya Taylor-Joy has teased that she is keen to play Beth again. "If I've learned anything from being in this industry, it's never say never," she told Town & Country in 2021. "I adore the character, and I would certainly come back if I was asked to."

Although she said she's thrilled with where her chess-loving character ended up both professionally and personally, there's plenty of room to explore the next phase of Beth's life. "I think the rest of her life will surely be an adventure as well," Taylor-Joy teased.

However, the actor did note in an interview with Elle that the series could make a significant time jump in Beth's life. Taylor-Joy suggested that the creators may prefer to revisit Beth when she is in her 40s or later, rather than picking up right where the story left off. However, no matter how much time passes, it seems Taylor-Joy will always be up for donning Beth's red hair again.

What other cast and crew members have said about The Queen's Gambit Season 2

Good news for "The Queen's Gambit" fans; it's not just Anya Taylor-Joy who seems committed for more adventures in the world of competitive chess. "Harry Potter" alum Harry Melling, who plays Harry Beltik — Beth's former fling and friend turned mentor — is keen to return too. "It'd be good, right, a 'Queen's Gambit' part two?" he told Town & Country in 2021. "The place we end in the limited series is the place we end in the book. I don't know if there can be another one, but stranger things have happened."

Stranger things have happened indeed, but unfortunately, it seems some members of the crew aren't as optimistic about the show's future. Executive producer William Horberg mentioned a second season had been discussed, but co-creator Scott Frank shut the discussion down.  

"I hate disappointing anyone, but no. I feel like we told the story we wanted to tell," Frank explained to Deadline at the time. "I'm terrified that if we try to tell more, we would ruin what we've already told."

What would The Queen's Gambit Season 2 be about?

It's fair to say that the first season of "The Queen's Gambit" provided a satisfying conclusion to Beth's lifelong journey, not only as a chess player but as a young woman struggling with addiction and feelings of abandonment. Her win against world champion Vasily Borgov certainly marked a turning point, but not everything was left completely resolved.

Season 1 of "The Queen's Gambit" left viewers with a few unanswered questions. The main one, of course, is what happens to Beth personally and professionally after beating Borgov? It makes sense that if Season 2 were to come to the small screen in the near future, it would pick up after her win in Russia. Anya Taylor-Joy hopes this newfound success will give Beth some peace. 

"I hope she starts doing things for her own enjoyment," Taylor-Joy told Elle after the first season. "I'd like Beth to pick up Benny and spend some time with him in Russia, just the two of them being snobby intellectuals together, and I hope she has a Bowie phase." Of course, Beth and Benny's relationship which also need to be addressed in Season 2. Having become sober and achieved career success, there's a lot of room to explore a healthier relationship for Beth. She may rekindle a romance with Benny or look for a relationship elsewhere.

Anya Taylor-Joy wants to see Beth become a mom

Motherhood was a significant theme in the first season of "The Queen's Gambit," so it only makes sense that this would continue in a second season. However, with Beth's birth mother and adoptive mom both deceased, there's only so much that flashbacks can reveal. Instead, there has to be a new story in order to continue the theme. "It would be very interesting to see how Beth would be as a mother," Taylor-Joy said to Deadline, "now that she's sober and more cognizant of the demons that pull her down."

Another prominent theme in "The Queen's Gambit" is that of parent/child relationships. Each of Beth's relationships with her respective parental figures have helped shape her as a person. Mr. Shaibel, the caretaker of the orphanage Beth lived in, was more of a dad to her than either her biological or adoptive father. Both were equally terrible to Beth, abandoning her when she needed their support, but now that she's an internationally renowned chess player, it's possible they could come crawling out of the woodwork again. It would be interesting to see Beth meet them face to face, particularly if Beth becomes a parent herself.

Fans launched a Twitter campaign for The Queen's Gambit Season 2

"The Queen's Gambit" achieved unprecedented success when it debuted in October 2020. The period drama was streamed by 62 million households in its first four weeks on Netflix, making it the most-watched miniseries on the streamer at the time. So, it's no wonder fans are champing at the bit to see more of Beth Harmon's complicated, messy, captivating story.

Fans have been so desperate for a second season that they launched a campaign on Twitter, inundating the show's creators with messages. Executive producer William Horberg noted to Deadline that his feed was full of pleas for a second season — though added that it ultimately did little to convince himself and Frank that they needed to continue Beth's story.

Nevertheless, fans continue to hope for more, years after the Netflix drama first premiered. They also have interesting takes on a possible second season and have made suggestions for what they'd like to see in the series.  "Need Season 2 of the Queen's Gambit to be told from Jolene's POV," one fan wrote on Twitter.

How does Netflix feel about The Queen's Gambit Season 2?

Netflix was clearly invested in "The Queen's Gambit," bringing it to the screen after years of failed attempts. In return, it brought millions of viewers to the streamer. Netflix continued to support the drama by making online chess games to match the show. The game allowed viewers to immerse themselves in the story by playing in the same locations as Beth (such as the basement) and replaying some of her biggest matches from the series.

So, it's fair to say "The Queen's Gambit" made Netflix money, but it also lost the streamer money as well. It caused a lawsuit for Netflix when real-life chess master Nona Gaprindashvili accused the series of misrepresenting her and her career achievements as a female player after an offhand comment claimed that Gaprindashvili had never played against men professionally.

In the fictional show, the line comes when a commentator is speaking about Beth. "The only unusual thing about her, really, is her sex," he says. "And even that's not unique in Russia. There's Nona Gaprindashvili, but she's the female world champion and has never faced men." Gaprindashvili has since claimed that the comment damaged her reputation, and she sued Netflix for compensation. The matter was settled between Netflix and the chess player for an undisclosed sum.

All that drama aside, we now know for a fact whether or not Netflix is interested in a second season. In September 2023, Chess.com reached out to the streamer and asked if we could expect any more installments in the Beth Harmon story. A spokesperson responded with an answer that's sure to devastate Anya Taylor-Joy fans everywhere: "There will not be a continuation of the series."

The Queen's Gambit is getting turned into a musical

As much as fans want a second season of "The Queen's Gambit," it is possible that the chess drama has had its time on the small screen. Instead of writing new material to create a second season that enters uncharted territory, the show might be better served in another form — a musical. Six months after the series aired, Variety reported that "The Queen's Gambit" is being adapted for the stage.

The entertainment company Level Forward brokered a deal with the trust of author Walter Tevis for the musical rights. "It is a privilege for Level Forward to lead the charge of bringing 'The Queen's Gambit' to the stage through the beloved and enduring craft of musical theater,"  Level Forward CEO Adrienne Becker and producer Julia Dunetz said in a statement about the deal. "The story is a siren call amidst our contemporary struggles for gender and racial equity, and we're looking forward to moving the project forward."

The cast and crew want to keep working together

Although a second season of "The Queen's Gambit" is not imminent, the cast and crew have expressed a desire to continue collaborating on future projects. After the show aired, some spoke about how they enjoyed the process of working together, wanted to keep it up, "and try to find another story to tell with the same passion and team of amazing artists," as executive producer William Horberg said to Deadline.

In some ways, they have done just that. Anya Taylor-Joy is set to reunite with writer/director Scott Frank for another project. "It's a really nasty, wonderful little thriller," the "Queen's Gambit" co-creator has said of "Laughter in the Dark", a noir Valentine's Day film. "I hope to do it with all the folks I did Queen's Gambit [with]."

Although it might be a departure from the world of chess, fans can hope that continued relationships between "The Queen's Gambit" cast and crew will keep them all close, perhaps continuing to leave the door open for a Season 2.