'Altered Carbon' Will Change Actors in Season 2, Fulfilling Its Own Premise


If Netflix does a second season of the action-packed cyberpunk series Altered Carbon, it will probably have to do so without its lead actor, which actually makes a lot of sense given the very premise of the show.

Hollywood Reporter reported Thursday that Altered Carbon’s lead actor Joel Kinnaman signed on to co-star in Amazon’s adaptation of Hanna.

But in the world of Altered Carbon, immortality has been achieved after someone’s consciousness is uploaded into a “stack” and then inserted into a new body, called a “sleeve.” Kinnaman plays Takeshi Kovacs, a certain kind of super-soldier put into a new body at the start of the series, hundreds of years after his most recent death.

So if Altered Carbon gets to a second season, Takeshi Kovacs will have to be resleeved yet again — but he totally should be resleeved again. With a sci-fi world as cool as this, they should take advantage of the opportunity.

Further spoilers follow for Altered Carbon Season 1.

Maybe this is why they call them "sleeves."


If you’ve made it to the end of the series already, then you’ll know that after solving the murder he was brought back for, Kovacs surrendered the sleeve he wore the whole time, as it belonged to Officer Elias Ryker. We never see if he made it into a new body or if it was a clone of any of the bodies he’d previously worn.

But Altered Carbon would do well to move on from Kinnaman to explore new actors, even though he did a great job bringing a kind of frustrated intensity to the role.

Other shows like Doctor Who thrive because of the ability to recast its lead actor through a sci-fi premise fundamental to the world. The Doctor regenerates into a new body every few seasons, so Takeshi Kovacs getting a new sleeve on occasion offers an opportunity to showcase different actors in the same role.

Altered Carbon Season 1 already offered flashbacks to several different versions of Takeshi Kovacs. There’s Byron Mann who plays the next-most-recent Kovacs sleeve and Will Yun Lee, who brings the original Kovacs to life.

Will Yun Lee (left) plays the original body of Takeshi Kovacs.


Kinnaman told TV Guide, “my guess is that [Altered Carbon’s] sort of going to be an anthology show where maybe a couple of the characters continue into the next season. But no one knows what’s going on in the second season.”

It would only make sense considering Kovacs gets new bodies in the books the show is based on — Kovacs wears several different sleeves. If Kinnaman does make it back to the show, it’ll probably be as the “real” Elias Ryker in some kind of cameo appearance.

So if and when we see Altered Carbon Season 2 to Netflix, expect Takeshi Kovacs to emerge with an entirely new body and an entirely new mission.

Altered Carbon Season 1 is currently available to stream on Netflix.

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