HBO’s Chernobyl told a very contained story, so when you read this headline before you clicked, I wouldn't be shocked if you had a question about where Chernobyl 2 could go. However, show creator and writer Craig Mazin has some ideas for how to bring the type of narrative back, although I urge you to think of it more as a follow-up series than a straight up Season 2 or sequel.
In fact, when Craig Mazin talked about how a follow-up could work, he explained in an interview that if he were to pitch another series – which, mind you, does not seem to have happened yet – he would do it as more of an anthology series, noting,
If I came to HBO and said ‘I want to do another season of Chernobyl, except it’s gonna be about another terrible tragedy,’ whether it’s Bhopal or Fukushima or something like that, I would imagine they at least would give me polite interest.
It’s not a bad idea. Anthology series have done big business on certain networks. HBO has done a similar thing with True Detective and shows like American Crime Story and American Horror Story have followed a similar format. It allows a fanbase to stick with a general premise or showrunner without a specific storyline growing stale.
In the same interview with Decider, Craig Mazin also talked about why Chernobyl became Chernobyl in the first place, noting that it wasn’t the disaster specifically that drew him in and that it was Soviet Russia that was ultimately the hook for him. So perhaps a follow-up would focus on another path the Soviet Union took when
The disaster is not what drew me to Chernobyl. It’s the specifics of Chernobyl. If I were to continue this anthologically, probably it would be another investigation of another aspect of Soviet life because that part is something that is fascinating to me and kind of exciting to view again. It helps us reimagine our own paths, too. I’m a child of the ‘70s and ‘80s and my life, in part, was shaped by the existence of a nation that doesn’t exist. I want to know more about it.
Chernobyl was a major success for HBO. Headlines around the time of its release talked about it being a major hit, even noting its ratings were better than Game of Thrones in one category of viewership: streaming. Chernobyl also had an interesting effect on both tourism in the disaster area and bringing attention to stray puppies there as well. That's not even getting into how highly rated this series has been by both critics and fans alike.
Due to both the fan and critical response, plus all of the additional stuff listed above, it wouldn’t shock me if HBO would want to see more from Craig Mazin moving forward, whether that be a follow-up sort of anthology series about either disaster or about Soviet Russia. There’s nothing in the works yet, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated regarding Chernobyl 2 or whatever it ends up getting called.
For now, HBO has some other stuff returning and heading to its lineup. You can see more with our fall TV schedule.