Netflix released Archive 81 at exactly the right time. This mind-bending supernatural thriller about a woman investigating a cult in 1994 and a man in the present repairing her damaged video recordings is the perfect binge for a snowy winter weekend.
The only downside? If you’re anything like me, you binged through all eight hour-long episodes of Archive 81 in just a few days only to see Season 1 end on a massive cliffhanger. Netflix hasn’t revealed when Season 2 will be released yet — the company hasn’t even renewed the show at the point — but using a bit of logic and math, we can figure out when Archive 81 Season 2 will probably arrive.
When will Archive 81 Season 2 be released?
For the sake of full transparency, let’s repeat one more time that Archive 81 hasn’t been renewed yet for Season 2 and therefore we can’t know when it will be released. The show could be canceled tomorrow. But until that happens, Netflix’s history provides some useful clues.
First, let’s take a look back at Archive 81’s production history. The show, which is based on a narrative podcast of the same name, was first announced on October 26, 2020 with The Boys producer Rebecca Sonnenshine as showrunner. Filming started on November 16, 2020 and ended on March 29, 2021. However, Season 1 wasn’t released until January 14, 2022.
So, to recap, it took 4.5 months to film Archive 81 and another nine months to presumably edit it and handle any necessary reshoots. In total, production for the show’s first season took roughly 13.5 months. Based on this info, we could assume that Season 2 will be released about 13.5 months after Season 1, but there’s more to it than that.
Netflix’s release date strategy
Netflix doesn’t seem to release each new season as possible. The company seems to prefer working on a set schedule, even if it doesn’t follow the classic tradition of fall TV premieres.
Take The Witcher for example. Season 1 was released on December 20, 2019. The Witcher Season 2 arrived almost exactly two years later on December 17, 2021. That two-year gap has become pretty common for Netflix, and the streaming service seems to release new seasons at around the same date as each previous season. (Stranger Things is one obvious exception to that rule since the show floats around to line up with major calendar events like July 4 or Halloween.)
So with all that in mind, let’s ask again...
When might Archive 81 Season 2 be released?
With all of the above in mind, it seems likely that if we get an Archive 81 Season 2, it will arrive in mid-January 2024. And since Netflix drops new shows on Fridays, the most likely dates are either Friday, January 12, 2024 or Friday, January 19, 2024.
That said, if Netflix really wanted to rush production, it’s possible we could see Season 2 in roughly 13.5 months (based on the time spent making Season 1). In that case, it could arrive in late February or early March 2023 (maybe Friday, February 23 or Friday, March 1). Then again, that would require Netflix to move quickly, and considering the show hasn’t even been renewed yet, that probably won’t happen.
Sadly, that means we won’t get closure on Archive 81’s cliffhanger for a while. Thankfully, we already know a decent amount about what happens next.
What do we know about the plot of Archive 81 Season 2?
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Archive 81.
Archive 81 ends with Melody Pendras (Dina Shihabi) freed from the Otherworld and in our present with her mother. Meanwhile, Mamoudou Athie (Dan Turner) is seemingly trapped in 1994 New York where Melody belongs. In other words, they’ve switched places.
Speaking to Variety, showrunner Rebecca Sonnenshine offered a few clues. For one thing, she confirmed that cult leader Samuel (Evan Jonigkeit) is also back in 1994.
"He's in the real '90s, and the clue for that is that it does not have the particulates floating around there,” she said.
Sonnenshine also suggested that Dan and Melody might not be the only people stuck in the wrong time.
“People have gotten kind of mixed up in there trying to exit, and maybe didn't exit through the right,” she said.
In an interview with EW, the showrunner also revealed that much of Archive 81’s mythology has already been decided. She hinted at various Easter eggs in Season 1 and also hinted that we could learn more about who burned down Dan’s childhood home in Season 2.
"Some things just didn't actually make it into the season,” Season 2. “When you build a mythology series, you build out all this mythology, and then you're like, 'Oh, we don't have room for all that.' So that was a piece that we ended up saving for Season 2.”
If that’s not enough to keep you going until Season 2 arrives, you could also listen to the original podcast. However, it’s worth noting that while Season 1 of both the show and podcast are relatively similar, Season 2 of the pod has Dan remaining in the Otherworld dimension, while the show seems to suggest he’s already escaped back into the real world.