‘Shōgun’ Isn’t Likely to Get a Second Season

Estimated read time 5 min read

The Big Picture

  • Shōgun
    is FX’s biggest streaming premiere ever, with 9 million views globally in 6 days.
  • The co-creators Mark and Kondo chose to end the series at the natural conclusion of the book.
  • While a second season isn’t completely off the table, it is unlikely anytime soon due to the show’s design and satisfaction with the ending.

Disney has a new globe-conquering hit on its hands with FX’s limited series, Shōgun. The Feudal Japan-set epic starring Hiroyuki Sanada has become FX’s biggest streaming premiere ever, cutting down The Bear Season 2 after accruing 9 million streaming views globally in its first six days on Hulu, Disney+, and Star+, all while garnering glowing reviews from critics for its stunningly-accurate depiction of its culture and world. A second season, however, might not be in the cards despite the universal praise both stateside and abroad. Series co-creators Justin Marks and Rachel Kondo told The Hollywood Reporter in a recent interview that they took the story to its natural conclusion with its ten-episode run.

Adapting James Clavell‘s novel of the same name was a massive undertaking for the Shōgun team. With a hefty budget, it was tasked with not only living up to but going beyond the original miniseries adaptation released in 1980, which had more than a quarter of U.S. households tuning in while it aired. The series took nearly ten years to finally bring to life with Marks and Kondo boarding in 2018 and doing much of the heavy lifting when it came to creating a plan for their historically-accurate world. After spending so much time working with Sanada and the crew to ensure everything down to the smallest detail was correct and bringing Clavell’s novel back to life, they feel it’s best to end things where the novel leaves off.

“Maybe you’ll connect with this as a parent. It feels a lot like parenting, where you get really good at, like, washing bottles, or all the other things that babies require, and then suddenly they don’t need any of that anymore,” Kondo said. “And you’re like, ‘Aw, I got so good at that.'” Limited shows have extended beyond one season before – The White Lotus, for example – but Marks emphasized that Shōgun is different given that it already has a satisfying ending in their eyes with the book. That said, they hope their painstaking work in recreating 17th-century Japan can be put to use in other projects:

“We took the story to the end of the book and put a period at the end of that sentence. We love how the book ends; it was one of the reasons why we both knew we wanted to do it — and we ended in exactly that place. And I’ve been party to this in the past with shows like this, where you build a whole factory, and it only pumps out 10 cars and closes up shop. It’s a bummer. You know, one of our producers wrote a nearly 900-page instruction manual for how we do this show — almost as long as the book
itself. All of this infrastructural knowledge went into it. I just hope someone else — maybe a friend — needs a production primer on feudal Japan at some point, so I can be like, ‘Here you go, use this book. That will save you 11 months.'”

What Is ‘Shōgun’ About?

Marks doesn’t entirely close the door on Season 2 if they ever feel there’s an idea, but if it did happen, it wouldn’t be anytime soon. He notes that progress would likely be full-speed ahead on new episodes under normal circumstances, but that’s not how Shōgun was designed:

“Oh, that’s just our bodies talking. Like, do you want to have another kid right now? (
.) You know, we also made this show so long ago, because of the long tail of post-production on it. It’s not like a normal TV series, where if we were in a situation like this promoting it, we wouldn’t just be in the writers room already, we’d be on set shooting season two by now.”

Shōgun follows two men, Lord Yoshii Toranaga (Sanada) and John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis) whose paths converge after the latter’s ship from Europe crashes on the shores of Japan. Surrounded by political enemies and fighting for his life, Toranaga’s only hope may lie with the ship and its occupants, who can give the leader a leg up in the coming power struggle. For Blackthorne, the wildly different culture will spur a change within him as he realizes just how small his part is in the epic conflict. Joining the pair as the other driving force in this story is Lady Mariko (Anna Sawai), a woman with a disreputable family history, but enough ambition and expertise to play a major role in shaping the future.

New episodes of Shōgunpremiere every Tuesday on FX and stream on Hulu. The first three episodes are available to watch now. Check out the trailer below.

Shogun Film Poster

Shogun (2024)

When a mysterious European ship is found marooned in a nearby fishing village, Lord Yoshii Toranaga discovers secrets that could tip the scales of power and devastate his enemies.

Release Date 2024-02-00

Main Genre Drama

Seasons 1