Based on Richard K. Morgan’s novel of the same name, Netflix’s ambitious cyberpunk thriller Altered Carbon took years to bring to life. But, with its big massive locked and loaded, allowing the series’ team to go all out with sci-fi madness, Altered Carbon finally materialised on Netflix in February 2018 with a 10-episode first season. Viewers quickly discovered that the show, set in an alternate reality in which humans have discovered a way to digitise their consciousness, was well worth the wait, and the streaming service quickly renewed Altered Carbon for a second season only a few months after the first. Since the release of Altered Carbon season 2 on Netflix in February 2020, fans have speculated about the possibility of a third season.
Unfortunately, no third season of Altered Carbon has been announced. However, following the season 2 finale, there are many unanswered questions that could be addressed in a third chapter of the Altered Carbon universe, in which dead things don’t actually stay dead. First and foremost, some of the show’s most notable characters were shown little compassion in the closing episode of season 2 (much like HBO’s fantasy drama Game of Thrones made a habit of murdering off important individuals with little remorse), so who will star in a prospective season 3? Better yet, are the main characters’ stacks truly gone, or will they, in typical television fashion, reappear if only sleeve damage was sustained?
So many things will go unanswered while being hotly argued until a new set of episodes is released on Netflix. Here’s all we know so far about how a potential Altered Carbon season 3 may look and feel.
When will Season 3 of Altered Carbon be released?
A release date for Altered Carbon season 3 has yet to be confirmed, as Netflix has not officially announced it. However, a few pieces of information are available to put together a jigsaw puzzle.
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On February 2, 2018, Netflix released the first season of Altered Carbon. On February 27, 2020, the second season debuted on television. On March 19, 2020, an anime spin-off named Altered Carbon: Resleeved was released. It’s difficult to speculate on how Netflix feels about the cost-to-benefit ratio of any of its properties, and because the streamer is notoriously tight-lipped about its viewership numbers, the only data points available to inform guesses about a release date relate to the series’ high production costs. Netflix has been a little more permissive with cancelling shows recently, so Altered Carbon will need to have gathered significant viewership numbers for season 2 to warrant another renewal. However, with the release of the anime spin-off, the company appears to be committed to the underlying IP, so perhaps the odds will be in favour of Altered Carbon’s father.
In any case, fans should not interpret Netflix’s silence as particularly foreboding. The company didn’t order season 2 until five months after season 1 aired, so fans should wait until July to start writing obituaries.
Assuming Altered Carbon is renewed, season 3 won’t be available on Netflix until early 2022. The prospect of having to wait two years from now for a season that you’ll probably binge-watch in a weekend or less isn’t appealing, but Altered Carbon season 3 should be well worth the wait. In the meantime, you can watch the second chapter again, return to the first, or explore the spin-off universe.
Who is in the cast of Altered Carbon Season 3?
It’s too soon to tell who might be cast in Altered Carbon season 3 because no announcement has been made and no casting choices have been offered or even hinted at by the show’s creators. However, the humanoid AI Edgar Poe (played by Chris Conner) is implied in the series to have backed up a copy of O.G. Kovacs (Byron Mann) before his stack was destroyed. Showrunner Alison Schapker confirmed this during an interview with IGN.
“We all loved the end of Season 1 when Kovacs gives [Elias] Ryker’s sleeve back to Ortega and then all you see is these boots walking out of the elevator and you’re like, ‘I think Kovacs is coming back, but in what sleeve?'” According to Schapker. “In season 2, we wanted to keep that promise to the audience. We also loved the idea of Poe, who has been fighting deterioration throughout the season, having his own moment of nobility in which he basically sacrifices himself while also copying Kovacs. So, there’s his stack, and there’s Takeshi Kovacs’ consciousness, and that’s our promise to the audience. But what’s up her sleeve… we’ll have to wait and see.”
Everyone is hoping that Anthony Mackie, who played Kovacs in Season 2, will return for Season 3 of Altered Carbon. Unfortunately, if the authors continue to re-sleeve each season, it’s unlikely that Mackie will return, given he replaced Joel Kinnaman after the first season. However, there may be flashbacks in which Mackie appears. Furthermore, the actor told The Hollywood Reporter that he isn’t ready to put up his Altered Carbon boots: “I’m hoping to be able to bring Kovacs back next season. I’m not sure I’m ready [to end the series].”
Will Yun Lee, as “Kovacs Prime,” is expected to return as the other Takeshi Kovacs for season 3, along with Chris Conner as Poe, Renée Elise Goldsberry as Quellcrist Falconer, Simone Missick as bounty hunter Trepp, and Dina Shihabi as Dig 301. It’s unclear whether Dichen Lachman, who plays Kovacs’ sister Reileen Kawahara, will return. Season 3 of Altered Carbon will feature new characters, including maybe a new Takeshi Kovacs.
There has been some recent conjecture from the darkest reaches of the internet that Joker and Deadpool 2 actress Zazie Beetz may be cast as the latest Takeshi Kovacs sleeve. All of the speculation appears to be based on a 2018 interview with series creator Laeta Kalogridis, who told The Wrap, “The idea that this type of technology creates interesting intersections between your idea of your physical self and your idea of your inner or spiritual self, or your idea of being fluid in some way, certainly the idea of reassigning your gender, becomes a whole lot easier if you don’t have to do it surgically, becomes a whole lot easier. At the very least, things change. You are still in a body in which you were not born. And I think we’ve barely scratched the surface of the idea of being able to recreate the physical self in a different way.”
While a gender-swapped Kovacs fits the Altered Carbon mythology, fans should wait for confirmation from a credible news outlet before declaring Beetz an official member of the Altered Carbon season 3 cast.
What is the plot of Season 3 of Altered Carbon?
In terms of the plot of a prospective Altered Carbon season 3, your guess is as good as everyone else’s — including Schapker’s. Schapker, in fact, told The Hollywood Reporter in early March 2020, “I have certain wishes, but we’re waiting for official confirmation from Netflix. We don’t have a pickup truck. We’re just here for a season. I’m desperate for a third season. I have a lot of ideas for directions, but I’m not sure how much I can say about them. But we’re all set!”
Of course, there are significant unsolved mysteries in Altered Carbon season 2, the most crucial of which is what happened to Kovacs and his sister Reileen. What everyone would undoubtedly prefer to see, regardless of the character he’s playing, is a return from Mackie, which isn’t out of the question if the show’s makers decide to bring back the beloved actor. As additional sleeves resembling Mackie may exist, they may surely write his persona into a script. While there will be innumerable questions and rumours until season 3 is officially announced, one thing we do know is that what’s dead doesn’t always stay truly dead – as long as the stack is okay.