- The Queen’s Gambit, a 7-part limited series, has become a surprise hit for Netflix.
- Netflix specifically calls the show a “limited series,” which usually means there are only plans for one season.
- Still, there’s precedent for a “limited series” turning into a traditional “series.”
High-level chess tournaments, and the personal and professional drama that surrounds a contender’s rise to the top might not sound like the most thrilling premise for a TV show, but Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit manages to run with it, bringing those themes and more together to make one of the very best things on television in 2020. With a story that’s mostly fiction (based on the book of the same name by Walter Tevis) but somewhat based in reality, a stunning lead turn from an incredibly talented performer in Anya Taylor-Joy, and visually breathtaking direction throughout from Scott Frank, The Queen’s Gambit proves that the best sports art isn’t always about the first sports that come to mind.
Sure, there are always going to be movies like Field of Dreams or Rudy that tell a heartwarming story about one of the handful of sports you see on any given day when you flip on ESPN. But sometimes its a story that tells the behind-the-scenes of the behind-the-scenes, like Moneyball, or inside an entirely massive world of its own, like The Queen’s Gambit, that makes for the most engrossing story. If you care about the characters, and the filmmaking looks good and is written well, you can make a great sports story out of just about anything.
The Queen’s Gambit was planned as a one-off, seven-part series for Netflix, and the story comes to a conclusion at the end of those seven episodes with plotlines wrapped up, and our characters all in a place where we’d seem to know what comes next. In a word? It’s the end.
The people behind The Queen’s Gambit seem to be open to more, but not necessarily pushing for it.
The show’s storylines wrapping up fairly neatly at the series’ conclusion didn’t stop some of the people involved from expressing potential interest in maybe doing more.
“If I’ve learned anything from being in this industry, it’s never say never,” Taylor-Joy told Town & Country about the potential of a Queen’s Gambit Season 2. “I adore the character, and I would certainly come back if I was asked to, but I do think we leave Beth in a good place.”
Taylor-Joy’s co-star, Harry Melling, who plays Harry Beltik in the show, also seemed open to the idea of doing more episodes—but he noted that the show has reached the end point of the source material, Tevis’ book.
“It’d be good, right, a Queen’s Gambit part two? The place we end in the limited series is the place we end in the book,” he said. “I don’t know if there can be another one, but stranger things have happened.”
Frank, though, seems thrilled with the finished product of the latest series he wrote and directed—and might not want to risk tarnishing it.
“This was the single best experience I’ve had in a 30-some-odd year career full of really nice experiences. So it’s saying a lot,” he said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “I have no idea how people are going to take it, but it’s the first time I’m willing to admit just how happy I am. Normally I’m afraid to ever say that.”
Will there be a Season 2 of The Queen’s Gambit?
To put it simply: most likely not. The show was conceived as a contained story—you’ll notice that Netflix refers to it as a “limited series”—and in the show’s seven episodes, tells a story with a beginning, middle, and end.
Now, to be clear, in this day and age the original plan for a show is not always what ends up happening; HBO’s Big Little Lies, as perhaps the highest profile example, was originally conceived as a one-off limited series based on the book of the same name by Liane Moriarty. It was eventually renewed for a second season—adding an unknown actress named Meryl Streep to the cast—and Nicole Kidman recently said that ideas for a potential Season 3 were being discussed. Surely some story about Beth’s chess future and entanglement with those little green pills could fuel another round of The Queen’s Gambit.
On the other hand, though, that’s HBO, and The Queen’s Gambit is Netflix. Gambit has been one of their most successful shows of 2020 with both audiences and critics alike, but the streamer has mostly stuck to its guns with regard to the “limited series” distinction. Godless, the previous collaboration between Frank and Netflix, was also planned as a one-season limited series, and Netflix has stuck to that despite the fact that Godless won three Primetime Emmys.
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