The Gilded Age will return with more glitz, glamour, and drama in season 2. The HBO series was renewed for a second season on February 14, 2022. Production on season 2 got underway in May 2022 and will film in both New York state and Rhode Island.
The period drama, from the mind of Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, premiered in January 2022. The Gilded Age chronicles a time of vast social and economic change in 19th-century New York City. The series premiere was HBO’s best Monday night debut since the network’s 2019 limited series Chernobyl. The 9-episode first season came to an end in March 2022.
“I’m very interested in American history, which I think is very rich, and I think the Gilded Age period in many ways was a precursor of 20th century America, that the very high-gloss, high-glamour, high-consumerist America that would flower with Hollywood and all these various other aspects was really being laid and rooted in the Gilded Age, in those super-prosperous years after end of the Civil War,” Fellowes told THR about his inspiration for the series. From a potential release date to the new cast members, here’s everything you need to know about The Gilded Age season 2.
Who Is In The Cast For The Gilded Age Season 2?
- Carrie Coon as Bertha Russell
- Cynthia Nixon as Ada Brook
- Christina Baranski as Agnes van Rhijn
- Morgan Spector as George Russell
- Louisa Jacobson as Marian Brook
- Denée Benton as Peggy Scott
- Taissa Farmiga as Gladys Russell
- Harry Richardson as Larry Russell
- Blake Ritson as Oscar van Rhijn
- Simon Jones as Bannister
- Jack Gilpin as Church
A whopping 13 cast members have been upped to series regulars in season 2, Deadine reported. Cast members who got the bump include Kelli O’Hara as Aurora Fane, Donna Murphy as Mrs. Astor, Debra Monk as Armstrong, Kristine Nielsen as Mrs. Bauer, Taylor Richardson as Bridget, Ben Ahlers as Jack Trotter, Kelley Curran as Turner, Douglas Sills as Baudin aka Borden, Celia Keenan-Bolger as Mrs. Bruce, Michael Cerveris as Watson, Erin Wilhelmi as Adelheid Weber, Patrick Page as Richard Claym and Sullivan Jones as T. Thomas Fortune.
Returning cast members who will still have recurring roles are Audra McDonald as Dorothy Scott, Nathan Lane as Ward McAllister, John Douglas Thompson as Arthur Scott, Ashlie Atkinson as Mamie Fish, Claybourne Elder as John Adams, and Ward Horton as Charles Fane. Thomas Cocquerel, a.k.a. Tom Raikes, will not returning in season 2.
New Cast Members
Laura Benanti and Robert Sean Leonard have joined the cast of The Gilded Age in season 2, according to Deadline. Laura will play Susan Blane, a woman who was “recently widowed by a rich, dull man many years her senior, Susan is a very beautiful, glamorous woman living in Newport who hires Larry as her architect for a major renovation on her Newport home.”
As for Robert, he plays Reverand Matthew Forte, a “jovial, congenial man, and recent transplant from Boston, Matthew is the new rector of the church attended by all the highest New York society.” Both Laura and Robert will recur in season 2.
The Gilded Age has added several additional recurring guest stars in season 2. Nicole Brydon Bloom will play Caroline Stuyvesant. She is a “beguiling socialite and Oscar immediately recognizes her as the perfect heiress for marriage and a great match for his wit and disposition, while she finds him to be a valued confidant.”
Michael Braugher will play Booker T. Washington, the “famed educator” who “invites NY journalists Thomas Fortune and Peggy Scott to tour his new school in Tuskegee. Christopher Denham has joined the cast as Robert McNeil, a “wealthy, mainstream, somewhat uptight banker who is trying to navigate New York high society with his wife.”
David Furr has joined the cast as Dashiell Montgomery, who is Agnes’ nephew by marriage. Dashiell is “wealthy, widowed, and has recently moved to New York with his school-age daughter Frances.” Matilda Lawler will play Frances Montgomery. Frances is Dashiell’s daughter and she is “innocent, naturally charming, endearing, and well-bred with good manners.”
Ben Lamb is The Duke of Buckingham, who is a “posh British nobleman” who comes to New York and “catches Bertha’s eye as a tool for her ambition and match for Gladys.” Dakin Matthews is Mr. Winterton. He is a “very rich widower, he married his new, young wife after an extremely short courtship – so short she hadn’t yet met any of his society friends and he is unaware of her past.”
Finally, Rebecca Haden will play Flora McNeil. The character has “lived at the top of New York society and has been brought up to believe the lie that her father deserted her and her mother.”
Since the show has such a large cast, nailing down a time to film season 2 likely required a lot of planning and negotiating. Filming began in May 2022, the same time Christine was filming the final season of The Good Fight. Cynthia will likely be done filming The Gilded Age before she starts production on And Just Like That season 2.
In addition to the drama and impeccable Gilded Age fashion, the series also features some of Broadway’s biggest stars in key roles. Almost the entire cast has been a stage actor at some point. Getting so many Broadway actors on one show was partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Michael Engler, who’s one of the producers and one of the two directors of the first series, reminded us that because of COVID, the whole of Broadway was dark and all these marvelous actors were sitting at home in New York where we were,” Fellowes told ELLE.
He added, “There was no immediate prospect of the theaters reopening so we looked to the Broadway actors for our supporting cast and a wonderfully rewarding number of them said yes,” he continued. “We had these stars of Broadway, and I think they’ve enriched the show wonderfully. I think they’re a marvelous group of players. We’re the winners on that one.”
Denée gushed to Us Weekly that her co-star Louisa is the “best co-star and the most incredible person to go through this journey with.” She raves that the “entire cast is incredible,” but she “and Louisa are so much in love and grace and wisdom.”
Harry and Thomas also had loads of fun on the set of season 1. Harry posted a set of behind-the-scenes videos of himself and Thomas while they filmed the first season. “Back when we used to dance to funky beats in bubbles,” he captioned the Instagram post.
Where Did Season 1 Leave Off?
The season 1 finale featured a number of twists and turns. Marian and Mr. Raikes’ romance came to a sudden halt. They were going to elope, but he ended up telling her that he was going to marry Cissie Bingham, a rich heiress. He chose money over love, which left Marian heartbroken.
Later, Marian crossed paths with Mr. Raikes again at Bertha’s lavish debutante ball. After their brief talk, Larry came up to Marian and asked her to dance with him. Marian owed Larry a dance after he helped her avoid a mess with her aunts regarding the situation with Mr. Raikes.
Speaking of Bertha, she got her grand opportunity to show that she truly belongs in New York’s high society. Bertha and Caroline appeared to reach a detente with each other when they came face-to-face at the debutante ball. Bertha recognized that she and Caroline were a lot a like. “I’ll be a good friend to you if you’ll let me,” Bertha said.
One of the major revelations of season 1 was Peggy discovering that the son she thought she had lost in childbirth is still alive. Peggy’s father put her son up for adoption without her knowing to avoid scandal. Mr. Scott refused to tell Peggy and her mother where the boy is, but the mother and daughter decided to find him together.
Denée told Elle that Peggy’s “whole driving force is that she does think that her child is alive, at least that’s the way I played it. That’s what brought her to Doylestown, that’s what made her leave home. I think she had this burning feeling that her dad wasn’t telling her the whole story. When she finds out, it feels like a confirmation of an intuition even more so than a shock.”
Carrie revealed that Bertha will continue to play the “only game in town” and cement her family in high society. However, she admitted that Bertha and George’s ambitions may not always be on the same page.
“There’s no way to ascend to the level of society they want to be in without playing that game,” Carrie told The Wrap. “And Bertha and George are savvy enough to understand that those tracks are running parallel. So it’s important for George’s business to be successful, and it’s important for Bertha’s social conquest to be successful. And sometimes those two objectives are in conflict. Sometimes they intersect in a way that makes for an uncomfortable time for Bertha and George. And yet, I think they’re always unified about the endgame, which is really the appropriate marriages for their children. The endgame is always to leave your children in a better position that you started.”
Ahead of the show’s season 2 renewal, executive producer Gareth Neame revealed that the writers had already started working on plans for a second season. “The truth is, we’re always getting the second season ready long before we know whether it goes ahead or not,” he told executive producer Radio Times. “Because, you know, the moment we know we’re going ahead, we have to start—the cameras have to start rolling. So you sort of have to prepare.” He added, “So we’re already underway with ideas for the second season.” He was able to keep those plans, thankfully!
What Can We Expect From Season 2?
The official logline of season 2 is: “The Gilded Age was a period of immense economic change, of huge fortunes made and lost, and of fierce rivalry between old money and new. Nowhere is that rivalry more apparent than on East 61st Street, where Marian Brook and her thoroughly old money aunts, Agnes van Rhijn and Ada Brook, live opposite the stupendously rich George and Bertha Russell. The Russells are both fiercely ambitious, he financially, she socially, and they are determined to reach the highest echelons of New York. Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, Marian’s friend and confidant Peggy Scott forges her own path in the world of the Black elite. In this glittering world on the brink of the modern age, will the established rules of society prevail, or will the game change entirely?”
The season finale definitely hinted that season 2 would explore a possible romance between Larry and Marian, which would definitely provide some drama between the Russells, Agnes, and Ada. Salli Richardson-Whitfield, an executive producer of the series, told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that she thinks Larry and Marian would be a “good love match.” She said, “I can’t tell you if there’s a romance brewing, but what I can tell you is that those two just naturally, really, just come off the screen. You just see the chemistry.”
A key aspect of season 2 will likely dive into Peggy and Dorothy’s search for Peggy’s son. Agnes, who developed a fondness for Peggy, could end up helping Peggy in her search since she has the financial resources to do so. In addition to this journey, Denée revealed to TVInsider that Peggy will “develop more of her political voice” in season 2. She teased, “We get to be introduced to true-to-life Black historical figures. In addition to T. Thomas Fortune, we get to meet some other major voices from that time and get to see how Peggy’s affected. To see her continue to learn is really exciting.”
As for Bertha, she’s found her way into high society, but will she be able to stay there? “Bertha is going to win by any means necessary,” Salli told HollywoodLife. “I think besides for her, it’s all about her children and her daughter in particular, and getting her in that world and setting this life up for her. So, Bertha is going to spend whatever amount of money that she needs to spend and do whatever conniving thing she needs to get in there, to win. She cannot be denied.”
When Will Season 2 Premiere?
HBO has not announced a season 2 premiere date for The Gilded Age season 2. The first season premiered in January 2022 and ended in March 2022. Since filming began in May 2022, a season 2 release date could be around early 2023, similar to season 1. HBO has also not revealed the episode count for season 2. The first season consisted of 9 episodes.
Is There Potential For Spinoffs?
At the time, HBO Max has no current plans for The Gilded Age spinoffs. However, Denée admitted that she would be down for a very specific spinoff. She would love to see a “spinoff of [Peggy and Marian’s love],” according to Us Weekly. She thinks Peggy and Marian’s relationship is the “true love story of the show.”
The second season is underway, so more Gilded Age updates will be available soon. HollywoodLife will keep this post updated on all things season 2!