Everything We Know About Netflix's 'Russian Doll' Season 2
The Natasha Lyonne-starring comedy is finally coming back in April.
With every death, more and more people fell in love with the first season of Natasha Lyonne’s 2019 twisted time-loop comedy Russian Doll. The Netflix original centers on Nadia (Lyonne), a hard-partying New Yorker whose 36th birthday turns fatal, throwing her into a Groundhog Day-like scenario in which she must die repeatedly in order to solve the mystery of what killed her in the first place. Midway through the season, Nadia meets Alan (Charlie Barnett), who's trapped in a similar loop. Together, the two of them form a time-bending odd couple trying to get unstuck, and the result was a wildly popular show that garnered a great deal of critical acclaim and Emmy nominations.
While many lauded the series for being perfectly self-contained in its first season, Russian Doll co-creators Lyonne, Amy Poehler, and Leslye Headland indicated upon its release that they were interested in pursuing a multi-season arc. Then, several months after the show premiered in February 2019, it was officially renewed for a second season in June 2019. Since it's been quite a while since the show hit Netflix—and its ending was pretty ambiguous to begin with—you're probably curious about where the comedy is headed. Here's a rundown of everything we know about what Russian Doll Season 2 might have in store.
When will Season 2 of Russian Doll be released?
Russian Doll will officially return for Season 2 on Wednesday, April 20. (So, appropriately, 4/20, for all who celebrate.) Netflix finally announced the show's return in early March.
For fans who watched when Russian Doll first premiered in winter 2019, it may have felt like forever since we saw Nadia's horrified reflection in that bathroom mirror (over and over again). It was ultimately delayed due to the pandemic, but after a long wait, it's time to officially get excited because we'll be traveling through the multiverse with Nadia very soon.
Is there a trailer for Russian Doll Season 2?
A couple weeks out from the premiere date, Netflix dropped a full-length trailer for Season 2—finally giving fans some insight into what the new installment is actually about. After Nadia stumbles onto a subway car that resembles "some kind of '80s flashmob" and features ads for Sophie's Choice, she realizes that she's literally been transported back in time. We catch a glimpse of her teaming back up with Alan, telling him, "The universe finally found something worse than death: I broke time." It looks like the two time travelers, er, "time prisoners," as Nadia says, are forced into solving some kind of unfinished business, going from the present to the '80s to the early 1900s. It looks dizzying and wild, but even bigger and better than Season 1.
If one trailer wasn't enough for you, there's also a teaser available that dropped when Netflix announced the premiere date. It's another preview of Nadia's latest adventure, showing her getting on the subway, falling asleep, and ending up in some sort of time-traveling train car that takes her to some eerie destinations, instead of her stop in the Lower East Side. It's all very trippy and at one point she says, "When the universe fucks with you, let it," so get ready for what's sure to be a very maddening second season.
How many episodes are in Russian Doll Season 2?
According to IMDb, we're in for seven new episodes this season. That's one less than Season 1, but we'll take what we can get.
Who in the cast will be back for Russian Doll Season 2?
The ending of the first season, where Nadia and Alan (Charlie Barnett) finally escape their time loop and have a little parade in lower Manhattan, may have seemed like a proper resolution to their stories. However, Headland noted in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that no matter the direction the show goes, Nadia will always be a part of it in some way. "When initially pitched, Nadia was a presence throughout all three of [the proposed seasons]. But it was not in a very conventional way, if that makes sense. She was always a presence, as we knew Lyonne would always be the beating heart and soul of this show. Whether she was being haunted or she was haunting the narrative, she would be there."
For awhile, though, it was unclear whether Nadia's friends and partner-in-traveling-through-time-loops were also going to return. Based on cast photos shared by Lyonne, it looks like just about everybody is coming back—which makes sense, given their importance to Nadia. It seems like we'll be seeing more of Charlie Barnett's Alan, Greta Lee's Maxine, and Rebecca Henderson's Lizzy. While it was unclear for some time if we'd be seeing more of Chloë Sevigny as Nadia's mother, official photos revealed that she'll make an appearance, too.
Are there any new cast members in Russian Doll Season 2?
It seems like the long wait for more Russian Doll is definitely going to pay off based on the exciting names joining the cast. In early March 2021, Variety reported that Schitt's Creek breakout Annie Murphy (aka Alexis Rose) will appear in Season 2. The details are scarce on her character, but given her outlandish, Emmy-winning performance on the sitcom, the more tense comedy of her new AMC series Kevin Can F**k Himself, and Russian Doll's style, her role should be fun. What we do know about her is that she's supposed to be playing someone who is legitimately "one of the good guys" in Nadia's wild world. Lyonne told Entertainment Weekly that she's an "ally" her character will meet and a "core component and the heart of the season" who helps her come to terms with "the nature of mortality."
Aside from Murphy, Carolyn Michelle Smith (Colony, House of Cards) is another addition to the cast, which Deadline reported in mid-March 2021. It's also unclear who she'll be playing, but she's been tapped to recur in the new season. South African actor Sharlto Copley (Chappie, District 9) is another actor who's been cast in an also unknown, but recurring role. Broadway star Ephraim Sykes (Hamilton) is another newbie. He's set to guest star, and of course, Netflix is keeping its lips sealed so to not reveal any character details. With all of the secrecy shrouded in the season, we can only hope they'll be playing some eccentric personalities.
What will Season 2 of Russian Doll be about?
Until February 2022—three freaking years after the release of Season 1—there were basically zero details about what Season 2 might entail. Now, as the show is gearing up for the Season 2 premiere, Lyonne is finally giving a little insight about what fans might expect. She told Entertainment Weekly that the new episodes actually pick up four years after the events of the Season 1 finale and her character Nadia and Alan escaped the time loop. That doesn't mean it'll take on some linear story, though. She actually called the season a "puzzle box" and said, "It's definitely a wild ride. It is deep, and deeply off-the-wall."
That may sound pretty vague, but this time around it's confirmed that, instead of a time-loop, time travel will be part of the story. EW reported, "the duo discover a fate even worse than dying over and over, when they must sift through their pasts via an unexpected time portal located in one of Manhattan's most iconic locales." By the looks of the first teaser trailer, it seems like one of NYC's finest institutions, the subway, is what's about to double as a time machine for poor, unsuspecting Nadia.
Aside from that, in a postmortem about the ambiguous ending of the first season, Lyonne also hinted that there could be multiple versions of the characters walking around, depending on how successful they were at escaping their loops: "It raises the question of how many versions [of the characters] are there all together? That's certainly something that was considered. In this video game sense, it presents a question of do they in fact just enter a whole new sort of scenario in that moment, that they kind of completed that round?" Perhaps that will factor into the next season, too. Wherever it goes, we're excited to find out what madcap adventure Nadia and Alan are taking us on next.