The final two episodes won’t air until July 28th but NOS4A2 has already been renewed for a second season!
Based on the bestselling novel by Joe Hill, the story, praised by the Library Journal as “fascinating and utterly engaging,” predominantly follows a woman trying to save her son from a vicious, supernatural killer who has set his sights on him.
With an audience score of 75% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s little surprise that the series based on the bestselling novel by Joe Hill is getting a second season. What’s more interesting is how the second season will play out.
The first season only deals with about half the novel, although its hard to say given that the final two episodes won’t air until the 28th, but it’s already made some vast changes from its source material.
Showrunner and executive producer Jami O’Brien told Cheatsheetbefore the first season aired that, “…one of our first kinds of departures from the book was to get all these guys closer together so they could actually interact including Maggie [Leigh, played by Jahkara Smith.]”
Image Via The Bestseller Experiment
Author Joe Hill was on board with the changes, noting, “One thing about an adaptation is that there’s more room for the characters to breathe because even in a 700-page novel you kind of only dip in”.
Ashleigh Cummings, who plays Victoria “Vic” McQueen also noted that the “…eighteen-year-old Vic in the book is quite different to eighteen-year-old Vic that we meet in the show because we kind of need to give her a character arc…”
While we haven’t seen the characters complete their arcs yet and become the characters we know and love from the book, it’ll be interesting to see where they end up when the season one finale hits.
Still, we’re already smiling because it’s exciting to already know that a second season is coming. It will be compromised of ten episodes, the same as the first season, and we’ll continue with these new versions of characters we’ve come to love.
However, given that Vic has different characteristics and there is more mingling between characters than in the books, it’s difficult to say how close this second season will be to the books.
But it should be an interesting one given that O’Brien has stated “I love the characters and the world, and our colleagues at AMC have been wonderful partners. I’m grateful to be playing in the NOS4A2 sandbox.”
Joe Hill, son of esteemed writer Stephen King, is best known as a novelist and is known for works such as NOS4A2. But he is also known as a deep lover of comic books, having written a dark fantasy comic called Locke & Key. The comic tells of a haunted house filled with numerous doors that transform all those who walk through them, with a restless creature waiting within to be unleashed upon the world! Its certainly what we’d expect from a horror novelist like Joe Hill. Bouncing off of these, it appears that Joe Hill will be launching a line of comics, all horror themed!
Image via Graphic Policy
Joe Hill confessed he always felt like a comic book writer ‘first’ and he felt he had discovered his element when writing comics. He felt Locke & Key was the most satisfying writing experience of his career and finds it incredibly satisfying to write scripts, working with artists, and working with other writers to bring comic books to fruition. The comic book line will be called Hill House, which will offer numerous limited series such as Basketful of Heads, The Dollhouse Family, The Low, Low Woods, and Sea Dogs. Hill will be writing the first series, along with numerous others for the future!
Image via Deadline
Hill’s comic, Basketful of Heads, will be about a young couple defending their home from a group of supernatural invaders, although not is all is at it seems with the seemingly mundane premises, nor the family itself. The artist for the series, Leomacs, says Hill perfectly captures the humanity of the characters, allowing the audience to feel for them amidst the chaos of the situation, allowing the scares to land even better than just a bunch of generics being killed off. The other premises of the line include American werewolves fighting during the American Revolution and a supernatural monster menacing researchers in the frozen Arctic.
The first issue of Basketful of Heads launches the line on October 30th, just in time for Halloween. Are you excited? Let us know in the comments!
Nos4a2 author Joe Hill is well-acquainted with mysteries: before he became a full-fledged thriller, fantasy, horror, & mystery writer, he was a mystery himself. The son of Stephen King, Joseph Hillstrom King chose to rise to the heights of his career with his parentage kept secret. Hill is a genre-bending whirlwind of a novelist, whose works have found mass-market success both in airport bookstores and on screens large & small. Hill’s Hornsstunned audiences with its star, Daniel Radcliffe; the terrifyingly original premise; and all the moral quandaries that come with it. Nos4a2 is currently airing on AMC Sundays at 10 PM, thrilling (and chilling!) viewers with its whimsical nightmare of a setting—the inside of its protagonist’s (and villain’s) minds. At BookCon, Hill gave fans an insight into something almost as scary as Charlie Manx… actually writing your novel.
For many genre fiction writers, one major challenge is explaining how the world got to this point—whether ‘this point’ is a society in which alien clouds hold skydivers captive (“Aloft”) or one in which Polaroids can steal people’s memories (“Snapshot”). Sure, you could have a drunken NPC stumble up to your protagonist and describe the mechanics of the world in meticulous detail… or you could NOT do that and have a better story for it. Hill distinguished what needed to be explained in a story and what could be left alone:
It depends on what the reader needs. In The Fireman, I never got around in the book to explaining where [the human combustion plague] came from. John and Harper have a conversation about it, and one says ‘I like the idea that the ice shrunk and a pathogen got out from under the ice.’ One character thought it was weaponized athlete’s foot… they don’t know, so why does the reader have to know?
Image Via Sharp Magazine
One of the things Hill recommends avoiding is bombarding the reader with a lengthy villain backstory. While we know it’s suspect to wave away a villain’s actions with one depressing childhood anecdote, according to Hill, it can actually slow down the plot. He opened up about the role of Charlie Manx in Nos4a2, perhaps his most ambitious work to date:
I went into the backstory of Charlie Manx and it was an info-dump, a giant dump of information, and it brought the story to a screeching halt… no one cares what life was like for the shark in Jaws when it was a baby. No one cares if the shark’s mom didn’t love him well enough. They just want the shark.
Image Via Tell-tale TV
Of course, that isn’t to say that explanations are the devil (nope, that’s actually Daniel Radcliffe in Horns). Hill merely suggests that they’re something to be cautious about. There are aspects of the story that the reader does have to know, and then there are aspects of the story the AUTHOR needs to know: to clarify, everything. “Only a jackass would publish a book and create these mysteries without knowing [the answers],” Hill explained, “and I realized I was that jackass… I began building more of a history [in my stories] so that I would know for me, so I wouldn’t have to do a lot of shovelling later.”
In Hill’s own words, “explanations suck.” But he’s still pretty damn good at them.
Any adaptation is only as good as its source material—though good doesn’t exactly cover what we love most about Joe Hill’s NOS4A2. ‘Tremendous’ is the more appropriate word: a behemoth of 700 pages, the novel is an undertaking as imaginative as its characters, a complete reinterpretation of the vampire mythos we know. And, in the end, which is more terrifying? The devil you know—or the devil you don’t?
If Joe Hill were to describe his novel, and the AMC adaptation, he wouldn’t use the word ‘good’ either (and not just because he’s far cleverer than that). In an exclusive interview with Bookstr, he described the show in three words: “suspenseful, heartfelt, feminist.” But on AMC’S BookCon panel, he had far more to say.
Image Via Channel Guide Mag
The panel began with the above image projected onscreen. Wielding his classic wit, Hill remarked, “it’s nice that they thought to put a picture of me in the middle.”
While it’s true that Nos4a2 has been everywhere for the past few weeks (in the news, advertised several stories high among all the Times Square neons), AMC’s involvement is hardly a new development. According to Hill, AMC voiced its interest only a year or two after the book came out in April 2013. If that seems like a long time, know that it’s because the network is especially “methodical” about bringing a story to the screen. “They know the game,” Hill emphasized, “and they know how to do it.”
Fans who tuned in on June 2nd may have noticed some changes (major change: you can SEE Charlie Manx menace you from the comfort, or discomfort, of your darkened room). Most notably, Vic McQueen is a high school student rather than a young child. This choice allowed for an older, more skilled actor to take the role—but it also made room for a storyline with the freedom to incisively analyze gender and class. In the novel, Vic starts off in the wood, staring down the Shorter Way Bridge that will soon become the shape of her mental inscape, a bridge that allows her to travel with the power of her mind. In the show, Vic starts off in a bedroom: light-filled, meticulously tidy, Yale brochures on the duvet. And then comes the plot twist—it isn’t her room at all.
She’s cleaning it.
When he encountered this in the initial script, Hill said, “it showed such a depth with character.” Hill knew then that he wanted to team up with executive producer Jami O’Brien. “The room represents the things [Vic] is never going to have,” he addressed Jami, “[the scene] was one paragraph long, but it showed… this is someone who gets how to draw out a character.”
Image Via AMC
Jami O’Brien went further into her own analysis of Vic’s character and the choice to make Vic an older teenager, focusing on this period of her life rather than those adult years that the novel also covers. “The portion of the book that covers Vic’s youth, I love, because it sets up her family dynamic,” O’Brien raved. “She’s encountering her powers for the first time, and it’s the first time we see the thing that I love most about her: her tremendous courage.”
The bridge, shown above, was another challenge. Given the novel’s creative settings, the AMC team had to get creative with its depiction. “It was hard convincing people of what the bridge looked like. I did think I’d just literally lifted it from the book,” she explained, “but when it comes to a magical bridge encased in static, everyone has a different idea about what that is. I just kept trying to steer everyone… back towards the descriptions there.”
The novel is as rife with complex physical landscapes as it is with challenging psychological terrain. A topographical map of these characters’ heads would certainly be populated with all the monsters & chimeras that demarcate danger and uncertainty. Jami O’Brien was keen to address not only trauma, but also its familial legacy. “Vic has to come to terms with who her parents are,” O’Brien explained, which doesn’t necessarily mean forgiving them. “You can still love somebody and accept somebody and hold them accountable for their actions.”
Hill delved into the myriad reasons why Nos4a2 is really an unpacking of mental health “in the guise of a genre novel:”
The difference between Vic and Charlie is her empathy and capacity to forgive, which makes her more powerful. When Charlie describes what he’s doing, he sounds like he could be considered the hero. There’s almost no mother by his definition that would not be abusive. With his old-fashioned and sexist beliefs… the very act of making a child excludes, in his mind, a woman from being decent.
Image Via Amc
One of the most important things in conveying Manx’s character was nailing the voice. “If you figure out how a character talks,” Hill said, “you can get the rest of who they are.” Given that Manx was born in the 19th century (yes, that is where the whole vampire thing comes into play), his voice reflects not only his age but also his “out-of-date morality, the way he thinks about women and children.” By emphasizing the characters’ distinctive voice, actor Zachary Quinto has
But the panel wasn’t all business—O’Brien and Hill laughed as they delved into some of the series’ Easter eggs, little references to Hill’s father Stephen King’s work. An audience member asked whether or not references to the Pennywise Circus implied a shared universe… to which Hill replied, “‘shared universe’ does sound sexier than ‘joke.'”
But it was a little more than a joke, and Hill enthusiastically told us why:
Why do people love the idea of shared universes so much? Well, we’re all walking around with a shared universe in our head. Spider-Man is jostling around with Harry Potter and Charlie Manx. We like shared universes because that’s how our imagination works. When you’re a kid playing pretend, no one says ‘you can’t be Captain America because I’m Batman, and they don’t exist in the same universe.’
“If there’s something you hate about it,” O’Brien interjected, “you gotta watch anyway so there’s a Season 2 and we can change it!”