If you watched the last episode of Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere, you know showrunner Liz Tigelaar took a torch to the original ending of Celeste Ng’s bestselling novel—and she did it with Ng’s blessing. The explosive finale ends with a decidedly different conclusion than the book, one that shares the emotion of the source material but opens up a world of questions. No wonder fans want to see them answered.
The limited series, which stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington as two warring mothers in the picture-perfect Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio, has been one of the most-watched shows on Hulu since its release, according to Deadline. There’s no official word on a season 2 yet, but there’s some reason to speculate, especially given the cliffhanger at the end of the finale. Still, extending a limited series is a tricky business. If Little Fires does get reborn from the ashes, it deserves a carefully written script, preferably with Ng behind the wheel. Here’s what we know so far.
There are currently no known plans to renew the show.
Tigelaar previously told the New York Post that she sees the series “as one and done. I do feel like things are burnt to the ground.” (Pun very much intended, we’re sure.)
And in a separate interview with Entertainment Weekly, she added, “These eight episodes honor the book. This is a close-ended story to me and we’ve ended it where it ends.”
But according to a different chat with Vulture, she might be warming up to the idea of a follow-up. “Personally, I would love to do a season 2 because this was the best creative experience of my life,” she said. “My issue with season 2 is, I don’t know how Elena and Mia ever come together in an organic way.”
She also mentioned that she views the new stories created from the finale as leading to a “spinoff” rather than a second season.
Not everyone likes the idea of a season 2.
Fans and critics have expressed concern that, if Little Fires Everywhere earns a second season, it’ll fall into the trap of another Witherspoon project, Big Little Lies, which renewed its limited series for a lackluster second go-round. That’s a fair point.
But as much as viewers have enjoyed comparing the two storylines—which, yes, both have Witherspoon in the role of a rich, type-A mother—the shows aren’t as similar as they seem. Big Little Lies never strays too far from the source material. Little Fires took huge, intentional creative liberties. Why change so much if not to create opportunities for new storylines? There’s a lot of trauma to still be processed for the Warrens and the Richardsons, and Witherspoon’s production company Hello Sunshine can learn a lesson from Lies to create a more polished Little Fires.
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A spinoff could go in any number of directions.
Clearly, Tigelaar is more amenable to the idea of a spinoff than a sequel. But what—or, rather, who—would it follow?
The obvious answer would be Izzy. After the youngest Richardson runs away from her smoldering home in search of Mia and Pearl, she appears on a bus, destination unknown. Tigelaar told The Hollywood Reporter, “It doesn’t mean she’s never going to go back to Shaker Heights, because of course she’s going to go back. She’s 15 years old. But it’s more like she’s never going to go back to being the girl who’s going to sit in her Laura Ashley room and put on her flower dress and get her Rachel haircut and wear her tartan Keds. She’s done.”
Megan Stott, who plays Izzy, told ET, “Izzy might go and find [Mia] to maybe find some comfort and maybe stay with her for a while. But in the end, Mia would direct her back to her family and would have her go back to her own family, and I don’t think that’s something Izzy wants. So, I don’t think she would go back to [Mia again]. I think she would just move on with her own life and go to college and hold on for a while. And love art like Mia did.”
In Ng’s book, Izzy heads all the way to Pittsburgh, to Mia’s childhood home, in search of answers. But the show doesn’t give us such a clear image of the next chapter. We’re left wondering exactly where she’s headed and how she might get home. If a spinoff were to take place, it’d likely chart Izzy’s course to adulthood as she wrestles with her identity and sexual orientation, but also with her privilege—and the colorblind racism her mother and father have taught her.
There is actor interest in reprising roles.
Gavin Lewis, who plays Moody, recently told The Wrap that he’s open to returning. There was even discussion of the possibility on set. “There is always conversation of a second season on a television set. I mean, everybody talks about that,” he said. “I think there is plenty more story to be had if the writers decide to come back and do something more.”
Still, a sequel is not out of the question.
Two years ago, Ng participated in a Goodreads Q&A in which a fan asked if she would write a Little Fires Everywhere sequel.
She wrote, “Everything I know about the characters in Little Fires Everywhere is in the book—I promise I’m not holding out on you. But with that said, maybe they’ll come back to me for more of their story—never say never.”
In a more recent interview with Vulture, she added, “These characters may come back to me with an idea about more story that needs to be told…So right now I don’t have more to say about them, but maybe three years from now, we’ll make another episode.”
If the creators do end up opting for a season 2, they should do it right: Wait until Ng has penned a follow-up, and use it as the spark to start a new chapter.
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