Shailene Woodley, Reese Witherspoon, and Nicole Kidman in season one of Big Little Lies. (Photo: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/HBO)

This year’s female-focused HBO miniseries Big Little Lies was successful, to put it mildly. It was nominated for 16 Emmys and won eight, including Outstanding Limited Series, so it’s not surprising that the premium cable channel would want to return to that particular well. The only problem is that the seven-episode series was based on a novel by Australian writer Liane Moriarty, with everything wrapped up rather neatly at the end of the final episode. But according to Deadline, “sources at the time said that Moriarty—who had acknowledged she had been approached by HBO and the producers about a second season—had written a short novella that picked up the story and envisioned what happens next with the main characters.”

Consequently, Deadline announces today that Big Little Lies season two has now been confirmed, with prospects of shooting starting in spring 2018. Many members of the original award-winning team will be back on board, like executive producers and stars Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman and writer David E. Kelley, while “most of the original cast, which included Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgard and Laura Dern, are expected to return, and negotiations are underway.” (Some of those people may be trickier to have return than other people.)

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Director Jean-Marc Vallée, who won an Emmy for his stellar direction on BLL, went straight into another HBO series, Sharp Objects, so will not be returning to direct for season two, but will stay on as an executive producer. Instead, Fish Tank and American Honey director Andrea Arnold has signed on to direct; she previously collaborated with Jill Soloway on the Amazon series Transparent and I Love Dick.

Witherspoon enthused, “It gives us the opportunity to delve deeper into the lives of these intriguing and intricate Monterey families and bring more of their stories back to the audience who embraced and championed them.” Maybe there were a few loose threads after all; for example, what the hell was up with Ed (Adam Scott), the husband of Witherspoon’s character Madeline? Actually creepy or just hopelessly hapless? With any luck, we’ll find out in season two, although that’s still pretty far out: “HBO programming chief Casey Bloys tells Vulture that viewers will have to wait until 2019 for the show will air, saying, “It would be impossible to get on in 2018.”

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