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'Yellowjackets' creators talk 'exit strategy,' 'Lost' comparisons & Season 2
The creators of the breakthrough survival horror hit tease what's next.
Yellowjackets, the Showtime survival drama turned folk horror tightrope, was one of the biggest breakout TV hits of last year, a series that by the end of its first season run had viewers developing fan theories, analyzing every detail, and waiting with bated breath for Season 2 to finally debut.
Sadly, we still don't know exactly when we'll see the next chapter of the series, but on this week's episode of The Kingcast, Yellowjackets creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson did offer a brief update on their progress. Speaking to hosts Scott Wampler and Eric Vespe about the status of the show, Lyle confirmed that writing on Season 2 is underway, and that the showrunners have already done their full season pitch to Showtime executives, which she noted went into quite a bit more detail than the network expected.
"I think we pitched them for two hours straight," Lyle said, "and they were like, 'OK guys, this was not fully necessary. We did not need this much information.'"
Yellowjackets is, as fans of the show well know by now, a series that thrives on details, from recurring symbols and imagery throughout episodes to the ways in which the lives of the present-day adult survivors mirror their teenage selves in the wilderness of the past. The show's ability to play with those immersive details, as well as its survival drama premise and its time hopping, have already inspired comparisons to another TV hit: Lost. The comparison is not lost (get it?) on Lyle and Nickerson, and while they're both fans of the iconic series, they also noted some pitfalls that they'd like to avoid.
"We are huge Lost fans. I also think that something that we would try to avoid that it seems like Lost did at times, was the entire thing felt like it was about, at some point, what was happening," Nickerson said. "There could be people in the audience that are like, 'Shut up, we just care about the secrets,' but we really want the interpersonal journey to be as important as the full plan."
Lyle added, "I think what we're trying to avoid from sort of the Lost precedent, is it felt like -- and I don't know the intricacies of what that room was like -- but it did sometimes feel like they were doing something that was just cool, and then they would figure out what it meant later. That's something that we're trying to avoid, just having a moment that feels really cool and then reverse-engineering how it could fit into the plot."
And in terms of plot, Yellowjackets feels like it's just getting started. Season 1 ended with a major death reveal in the past and a major cliffhanger in the present, giving fans lots to think about before Season 2. According to Lyle and Nickerson, they definitely know where things are going, but they're also working hard to keep a sense of spontaneity to the overall narrative.
"We have a skeleton, we know the big tentpole moments that we want to hit, and we have an exit strategy," Lyle said. "Then, it does feel like you have to have the flexibility along the way, because we have a writers' room full of really, really smart people, and sometimes you come up with a better idea. So, we try to stay open to that."
As for the actual plot details of Season 2, including what's up with the cult these days and which survivors might be next to go as the group descends into apparent cannibalism, Lyle and Nickerson were, of course, tight-lipped. That said, Lyle did offer some encouraging thoughts about where the writing now stands.
"I think that there are going to be a number of things, and pretty early on in the second season, that people find satisfying," she said. "That's all I'll sort of tease about that, but we're feeling pretty good about where we're at."