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Warning! The following contains spoilers for the Season 1 finale of Altered Carbon. Read at your own risk!
In a world where the human consciousness can interchange bodies, it's not all that surprising that Altered Carbon's Takeshi Kovacs can exist outside of Joel Kinnaman, the actor that played the character in Season 1. In fact, fans should expect a different face on the present day Takeshi Kovacs should the series return for Season 2, as the finale saw Kovacs swap out Ryker's body (portrayed by Kinnaman) for a silhouetted figure that was unseen. A change in actors is to be expected, but showrunner Laeta Kalogridis recently said she's interested in making an even bigger change than that:
I totally have thought about Kovacs being a woman. I've discussed that with the studio and network precisely because I think that's part of the promise of this type of story -- you can explore what those gender differences mean from the inside and not just the outside.
If ever there was a series that could get away with a gender-swapped recast and not see nearly as much criticism as other shows have for doing so, it's Altered Carbon. The show already established gender-swapped sleeving could happen when Takeshi re-sleeved Vernon's wife Ava in a male sleeve, so it wouldn't be a plot point that requires all that much explanation. The fact that Laeta Kalogridis has already discussed the possibility of this change with the powers that be could indicate we'll actually see a female Takeshi Kovacs should Altered Carbon get a Season 2 renewal.
It's worth noting the Altered Carbon sequel novel, Broken Angels, does not feature Takeshi Kovacs in the sleeve of a woman. If the series wishes to keep in line with the novels, chances are it would not go the female route in its Takeshi Kovacs recast. That said Laeta Kalogridis told EW many elements from Broken Angels will have to be reworked to make the production budget feasible for Netflix to sign off on Season 2, so the crew worked with the series' author Richard K. Morgan to hammer out a version that could work. So, if Broken Angels did at one point rely on Takeshi Kovacs being a male for things to make sense, Morgan and the Altered Carbon crew could've changed that in their re-working of the second story to make way for a female Takeshi.
Whether or not Takeshi Kovacs' new sleeve will be a male or female is unknown, but one thing that is known is that Joel Kinnaman is out. The actor indicated in interviews not too long ago he wasn't returning, and just a couple days ago it was announced he's teaming up with Amazon for a television iteration of Hanna. Another thing known for certain is that Netflix has not given a Season 2 renewal order for Altered Carbon, so it may not matter at all who Laeta Kalogridis wants for the role if that doesn't happen.