Netflix's cyberpunk noir original show Altered Carbon is set over 300 years in the future. Death is no longer permanent and bodies ("sleeves") are interchangeable. That explains how Season 2 of the high-concept sci-fi series can essentially reboot itself with a new star but keep the same protagonist.
The first trailer for Altered Carbon Season 2 shows Takeshi Kovacks waking up in a new body: Anthony Mackie (Falon from the Marvel Cinematic Universe). But if Takeshi is in this powerful new body, then who's controlling his original sleeve when they come face-to-face at the end of the trailer?
While Takeshi's last sleeve boasted combat muscle memory, this one is a real upgrade thanks to superhuman healing and faster reaction times. But even with all these enhancements, our hero still might not stand a chance against a past version of himself.
Tak is on the run and looking for his former lover, Quell, and it seems some nefarious parties are very interested in tracking him down and killing him, permanently. In the world of Altered Carbon, the only way to truly kill someone is by removing their "stack," where consciousness is stored.
Back on Harlan's World, a woman named Danica Harlan assures a group of mercenaries led by Colonel Ivan Carrera that she'll pay, "Whatever you need, whatever it costs" to "cut out their stacks" (meaning those of Tak and Quell.)
The trailer ends with a shocking reveal. Col. Carrera issues the order to "activate Evergreen." We then see Takeshi's original sleeve walks into the room, dressed in the same uniform as the mercenaries. This "evergreen" sleeve — if he has a new name, we don't know it yet — confronts the new and improved Tak, clearly catching Anthony Mackie off guard.
It seems the colonel somehow got his hands on Takeshi's first sleeve, but who's stack is inside it calling the shots?
The most logical answer is the colonel himself. He confronts Takeshi face-to-face earlier in the Altered Carbon Season 2 trailer, so there must be something personal between them. What better way to make Tak hesitant during a fight than to hide in the sleeve where he spent so many years?
If the colonel is controlling the "evergreen" sleeve, Tak's only route to escape may be to kill his former self. In a show already known for its impressive action, this fight should prove to be a highlight. (Season 2 seems to be a lot more action-focused overall, and that's definitely a good thing.)
We saw this original sleeve, portrayed by actor Will Yun Lee, many times in Season 1 through flashbacks to Takeshi's past with his sister Rei and the rebellious Envoys. Rei later became a major antagonist, so perhaps Tak's new enemies aren't really all that new, just reskinned.
Many aspects of Takeshi's past will be unearthed this season. The new episodes take place on Harlan's World, the location of the past Envoy uprising. The inclusion of a major character named Danica Harlan suggests Tak gets in trouble with the most powerful people on the planet. As the patroness of the mercenaries, this means the Colonel and his crew will have no obstacles in their way on the hunt for him and the seemingly missing Quell. This confrontation with his past self will force Tak to defeat his past and move on, possibly to yet another sleeve in Season 3.
Altered Carbon Season 2 premieres February 27 on Netflix.