11:46am PT by Jackie Strause
'Sense8' Two-Hour Finale Set at Netflix
Sense8 has a gift for its fans: A two-hour finale episode is in the works for the canceled Netflix series, the show announced on Twitter Thursday. The special will release next year on the streamer.
The news came in the form of a letter from co-creator Lana Wachowski, who helmed the most recent second season of the sci-fi series after sister Lilly Wachowski took a step back. The pair created the show with J. Michael Straczynski.
Netflix shared the letter on its official account, along with a video tribute to the sci-fi series. "After seeing that the cancellation was a total cluster, we decided to give Sense8 fans the ending they totally deserve," said a Netflix spokesperson.
The feature-length series finale will be the second time Sense8 has aired a one-off special. The series released a two-hour Christmas special in December 2016 due to a nearly two-year gap between its first and second season.
— Netflix US (@netflix) June 29, 2017
In her letter, Lana Wachowski confessed that she fell into a "fairly serious" depression after the series was canceled. Netflix handed down the news on June 1, not long after Sense8's May 5 season-two release.
"The outpouring of love and grief that came in the wake of the news that Sense8 would not be continuing was so intense that I often found myself unable to open my own email," she began in the letter. "I had never worked so hard, or put so much of myself into a project as I had with Sense8 and its cancellation hollowed me out."
Calling out the "impossibilities" her crew achieved — the second season filmed in 16 cities and 11 countries to capture the stories of its global cast — and the sadness from the actors, especially the eight stars who make up Sense8's starring "cluster," the showrunner said the passion from the fans, who created a petition to bring the series back, was most humbling.
"As the characters in our show discover that they are not alone, I too have learned that I am not just a me. I am also a we," she wrote. "While it is often true that these decisions are irreversible, it is not always true."
She continued in the note, which was directed to the fans: "Improbably, unforeseeably, your love has brought Sense8 back to life."
Lana Wachowski said Netflix "loves" the show but admitted that the numbers have "always been challenging," before signing off with a nod to the second season's cliffhanger ending: "Now let's go find out what happens to Wolfgang [Max Riemelt]."
Death doesn't let you say goodbye. 2 hour finale episode in the works. Tell your cluster. pic.twitter.com/GHZgGuHwS0
— Sense8 (@sense8) June 29, 2017
When Netflix canceled the original series, the fans, who had the public support of star Brian J. Smith, launched a petition and the #RenewSense8 movement began to pick up steam. Despite the fan outcry, Netflix confirmed the series was still canceled the following week. "We wish we could #BringBackSense8 for you. The reason we've taken so long to get back to you is because we've thought long and hard here at Netflix to try to make it work but unfortunately we can't," wrote the streamer on its Facebook page.
The rare move, which was preceded by the end of Baz Luhrmann's series The Get Down, prompted think pieces on what the abrupt canceling of two of Netflix's most expensive series said about the streamer. Netflix also canceled another original series, the Britt Robertson-led Girlboss, last week.
"They did a beautiful show" and "the audience was very passionate, but not large enough to support the economics of something that big, even on our platform," said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos shortly after Sense8's cancellation.
Though Netflix does not release ratings information, Smith also referenced the low audience when he addressed the fans in a letter a week after the news, saying he had come to terms with the decision. "The show would have continued if only the viewership justified the expense," he wrote. "It may not seem fair in the face of such passionate fan backlash, but it always, ALWAYS boils down to numbers."
The series has been hailed for its inclusive storytelling and diverse starring cast, which includes Smith and Riemelt, along with Toby Onwumere, Jamie Clayton, Doona Bae, Tuppence Middleton, Miguel Angel Silvestre and Tina Desai. Daryl Hannah and Naveen Andrews also star.
Sense8 follows eight "sensates" who discover they are emotionally and mentally linked, forming a "cluster." Scattered across the globe, a DJ in Iceland, imprisoned martial arts maven in Seoul, Chicago cop, San Franciscan hacktivist, Nairobi bus driver, Mexico City movie star, Berlin safecracker and Hindu pharmacist in Mumbai spent the first season sharing and visiting one another in their minds.
After the Christmas special, the second season dove deeper into the interconnected, universal love story. The season ended with all but one of the sensates, Wolfgang, visiting one another for the first time in person as they set off on their next task to save one of their own.
Clayton, who saw a big development for her character in the season, had spoken to THR about the possibilities of an entire sensate universe, since the second season introduced additional clusters. "I know that when they pitched the show to Netflix, it was with a five-season arc," she said. "If ours was written with five, it's insane to imagine the story possibilities that are there if you keep meeting sensates."
Many of the shows stars, including Smith, cheered the power of the fans after news of the revival.
YOU GUYS FUCKING DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! https://t.co/MtQSOIsH4e
— Brian J. Smith (@BrianJacobSmith) June 29, 2017
This just goes to show you that Sense8 fans are the best in the fucking world.
— Toby Onwumere (@toby_onwumere) June 29, 2017
Gracias @sense8 fans!
— Alfonso Herrera (@ponchohd) June 29, 2017
— Freema Agyeman (@FreemaOfficial) June 29, 2017