Altered Carbon's central sci-fi premise gives the Netflix series a bit of an anthological bent. Basically, in a world where immortality is possible and bodies can be easily swapped, new stories with new actors can be told in the same world. So when Anthony Mackie took over as Takeshi Kovacs in the show's second season, it made sense. But with a new showrunner in place for S2 alongside a new star, a new story, and a slew of new characters, fans might want to know what exactly is going on in that first full trailer — like, for example, who the new big baddie of the season is and how Kovacs' murdered friend is making his return.
Not to worry: showrunner Alison Schapker has answers. Speaking to TV Guide, Schapker explained that Mackie's casting ("baked in as a dream 'get' from the time I arrived at the show") is still bringing a new energy to the show despite him playing a character that fans are well-familiar with. The showrunner says he will "look to Joel Kinnaman's performance as a kind of inspiration," rather than a matchy-matchy aping this time around, which sits well with the rest of the three-decades-later story's design.
"We purposely designed Season 2 to reward fans who watch Season 1," Schapker said, "but also invite fans who are coming to the series for the first time. Because it's a new mystery on a new planet and Kovacs is in a new sleeve, so you can absolutely dive in." These new viewers might not get why Kovacs' relationship with Quellcrist Falconer (Renée Elise Goldsberry) is so tense, but they'll have the same background as everyone else when it comes to the season's main villain.
This new antagonist is Col. Ivar Carrerra (Torben Liebrecht), a Protectorate Special Forces leader after Kovacs. Schapker said the actor, who came from the German entertainment industry, "delivered a really charismatic and powerful turn as an antagonist worthy of Kovacs and one who also has a secret we hope fans will enjoy discovering." They always have secrets, don't they?
And not just the bad guys! OG Kovacs (Will Yun Lee) is somehow returning to the fold (he's "vital to our season," Schapker said) while Kovacs' new pal Trepp (Simone Missick) is a bounty hunter joining his team. "One of the things Quell taught Kovacs in Season 1 was, he can't go about things as a lone wolf. He needs to build a pack," Schapker said. "And that will hold true in Season 2. Kovacs will have to find a new team of people to rely on and one of those people is going to be Trepp."
Thankfully for fans, one of those — well, not people per se — will be Poe (Chris Conner). The AI returns after being killed in the first season...but exactly how is unclear. The only thing that is clear is that the character will be as different as the story. "Poe's not exactly the same. So he's gonna return but be slightly askew," the showrunner said. "So it's the Poe we love and we've missed, and we're not going to make fans wait a very long time to find out what happened with him. But at the same time, he's gonna have a struggle as well." All in favor of abandoning every other mystery to find out what's going on with Poe?
These answers and more will come when Season 2 of Altered Carbon returns to Netflix on Feb. 27.