After four years, we’ve finally got an update on the future of Ratched at Netflix. Despite an initial two-season order, Ratched will not be returning for a season 2.
In case you missed it, the series serves as a prequel to the 1962 novel and subsequent movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (although it’s very much its own package and can be enjoyed without seeing the original movie).
Among the cast of the show, produced by Ryan Murphy, is Sarah Paulson (who frequently teams up for Ryan Murphy productions), Finn Wittrock, Cynthia Nixon, and Jon Jon Briones. The series was released to positive reviews from critics and audiences alike on September 18th, 2020.
The series was also an awards nomination magnet, scooping up 4 Primetime Emmys, but it’s worth noting it was a costly series for Netflix. Reports suggest the show costs between $10 and $15 million per episode.
Ratched Season 2 Renewal Status at Netflix
Official Netflix renewal status: Canceled
When Ratched was picked up by Netflix back in September 2017, it came with a two-season initial order. It’s diverged slightly since the original press release in that we got one episode more than originally promised. Still, as Deadline reports, “Ratched scored a two-season, 18-episode straight-to-series order”.
Ratched came to Netflix via the now-defunct Fox 21 Television Studios alongside The Politician, which was also given an upfront order (although that’s now complete and not currently expected to return for a season 3).
As you may know, Ryan Murphy, following those two shows, worked with Netflix in an overall deal with Netflix but has since moved back to Disney.
Over the past few years, there’s been no news regarding the future of Ratched, leading some, including us, to think the show was quietly canceled.
One cast member in the summer of 2021, Cynthia Nixon, suggested that the show may not get underway with filming until early 2022, although that never came to fruition.
According to Cynthia Nixon, “Ratched” Season 2 might not enter production until Early 2022:
“There was some talk that it would be the end of the summer, the beginning of the fall. That would work well for me, but I’m also hearing maybe not be until January or February.” #Ratched pic.twitter.com/K8T2Tf41bB
— The AHS Zone (@ahszone) June 1, 2021
In early August 2022, Variety provided a very small update to confirm what we’ve said above, there’s no news. In a wide-ranging interview with Sarah Paulson, they stated, “she [Paulson] tells Variety she doesn’t know if a second season is in the works or not.”
In late 2024, we spoke to Mac Quayle in the run-up to the Netflix movie Leave the World Behind and asked him about the prospect of returning for a season 2. He told us:
“Yeah, I think originally, it was intended to be at least two seasons, but I’m not sure what their plans are.”
Then, in January 2024, we got actual confirmation that the show wouldn’t be returning. Speaking to a fan at an event in January 2024, Sarah Paulson confirmed that the show wouldn’t return for a second season.
Sarah Paulson confirmed that “Ratched” will not be returning for a second season. pic.twitter.com/ig88tgKwcM
— The AHS Zone (@ahszone) February 4, 2024
What was the reason behind the cancelation? Could it have been complicated scheduling post-COVID? Was it Ryan Murphy being engaged with other projects at Netflix and elsewhere? Hopefully, more will come to the surface in the coming months and years, but we can finally lay to rest the prospect of a season 2 of Ratched.
What We Expected from Season 2 of Ratched
Season 1 of Ratched ends in an almighty cliffhanger, as you’re probably acutely aware now.
Edmund Tolleson has narrowly escaped the mental institution rendezvousing with both Charlotte and Louise with the trio heading to Mexico, but will he head back and finish the job?
Beyond that, DigitalSpy predicts we’ll see various relationships explored, such as Ratched and Briggs and Edmund and Charlotte.
Whether the series will go beyond season 2 is another question. In an interview with OprahMag, “We have an end game. There’s an end to the story as we know it, culturally, but so little is known about Mildred Ratched in the movie and the book. There’s nothing about her past. She’s a monolith. It’s almost like she’s not really a person.”
Some have speculated that the series will eventually end by crossing over with the movie that was released in 1975, but for now, that’s all speculation.
Sarah Paulson spoke to The Wrap back in 2020 and gave some idea about what we could expect from season 2 and even beyond.
She told the independent trade publication:
“… what you are probably going to see is a Mildred, who has now become even harder, because the thing that kept her soft was the part of her that was engaged in the love and the protection and the desire for absolution as it pertained to her brother. And now that that’s gone, I don’t know who she’ll become. But further and further away from her heart and her humanity, I can be pretty sure about that.”
Speaking about the future, The Wrap states:
“Paulson says Murphy has told her the “goal” for the show — should the show continue beyond Season 2 — is to end up in the ’70s era that “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” took place in.”
Did you want to see Ratched return for a second season on Netflix? Let us know in the comments.