6:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Julia Roberts Won't Return for 'Homecoming' Season 2 (Exclusive)
It's official: Julia Roberts' time in front of the cameras on Amazon's Homecoming has come to an end.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Roberts' initial deal for Homecoming — the star's first TV series regular role — was for a one-season commitment based purely on the Amazon drama's creative storyline. That said, Roberts will still remain involved as an executive producer alongside showrunner Sam Esmail on the Universal Cable Productions series that landed at Amazon with a two-season commitment.
It's unclear if there will be any other major cast departures for season two or if any of the other freshman stars — including Stephan James, Bobby Cannavale, Shea Whigham, Alex Karpovsky and Sissy Spacek — will return. Amazon and UCP declined comment.
Leading up to and throughout Homecoming's November launch, Roberts remained coy about reprising her leading role as Heidi, a caseworker at a secret government facility. When pressed on her season two status, Roberts told THR in November that she's not prepared to confirm or deny her involvement one way or the other.
That Homecoming would chart its second season without Roberts comes as the series is taking a hard detour from its Gimlet Media podcast on which the series is based. In the podcast version of the story, Heidi spends the entire second season searching in vain for Walter (James on the Amazon take). Seeing as the Amazon adaptation already concluded Heidi's search for Walter, albeit in ambiguous fashion, it seems her story now is truly at its end.
"We've deviated from very much of the podcast, so [season two of] the podcast doesn't really have anything to do with the way the show is going. We're working on a second season, but we have a very different trajectory for our show. I think when I signed on, I had only listened to the first six episodes of the podcast, which is the first season, and then from there we deviated completely. The show starts out fairly close to the podcast, and in the back half of the season we really start to see the major shifts and differences from the podcast," Esmail told THR.
Still, Roberts and Esmail remain friends, which could leave the door open for the actress to pop in should the duo make that decision.
Season two will further explore the storyline that was teased in the season one finale post-credits scene that featured Colin Belfast (Cannavale) and his newly minted Geist Group superior Audrey Temple (Hong Chau) squaring off, with Audrey calming her nerves with a mysterious medicine after the encounter. It suggests creators' Micah Bloomberg and Eli Horowitz's continued interest in exploring the world of Homecoming, albeit without Heidi and Walter as the central characters.