Severance season 2: Release date news, cast list, trailer easter eggs and everything else you need to know

Severance Season 2
(Image credit: Mondo)

Big news for those patiently waiting for a Severance season 2 release date — Apple has finally unveiled the first new footage for the show in close to two years — and we've got all the details here.

Severance season 2 was the headline show in a sizzle reel trailer for all the new TV and movie content coming to the Apple TV Plus streamer, with the trailer shown off as part of Apple's annual WWDC event. The last time we saw any footage from Severance season 2 was way back in September 2022 at the end of the iPhone 14 event. So with full new look at the show's return, there's plenty to talk about — and that release is tantalisingly coming into focus. 

Strikes, reshoots, creative-differences — the road to release for one of the best Apple TV Plus show has been a long one, but it feels like we're finally nearly there. There's been tons of leaks, rumors, delays and teaser interviews to trawl through in the meantime, and we're now starting to get a good idea of what Severance season 2 will be about.

Severance

(Image credit: Apple)

That's where we come in. The iMore team has been diligently sifting through all the all the latest rumors surrounding the show, and pulling them into this handy Severance Season 2 preview guide.

So what’s in store for Severance fans? Will the psychologically-trapped employees of Lumon ever find out the full details of their ‘real’ lives? And what the hell were those goats about? 

Join us as we breakdown the latest Severance trailer, read on for cast, plot and behind-the-scenes controversy, and keep this page bookmarked – we’ll be updating it every time fresh info on the show is released. And be warned: some spoilers may follow.

Severance season 2 trailers

At WWDC 2024 on June 10, before Apple kicked off its big Apple Intelligence AI reveal, the company put aside a few minutes to showcase all the big new shows coming to its Apple TV Plus streaming service. The headline act? A first real look at Severance season 2:

Severance season 2 trailer (June 2024)

About 15 seconds of footage for Severance season 2 is woven in alongside other big Apple TV Plus originals — but those mere 15 seconds reveal lots of interesting potential plot points for the show's return.

The trailer for Severance Season 2 starts with Mark (Adam Scott) re-entering Lumon Industries, seemingly aware of his dual existence and life outside work. He wears a blue lanyard, similar to his old colleague Petey's, who initially revealed the drawbacks of the severed life to Mark's "outtie." Office supervisor Milchick (Tramell Tillman) welcomes Mark back with blue balloons bearing his face, hinting at Mark’s possible leave of absence and return, possibly due to attempting reintegration with the outside world like Petey. Remember, that attempt appeared to be fatal for Petey.

Mark is also seen with wires on his head and on the ‘awakening’ table, suggesting he might be infiltrating Lumon as his "outtie", following a re-integration attempt. Rapid scene cuts hint at re-integration sickness — we see some of Mark's home appliances appearing around the awakening table inside Lumon, and even Mark's clothing colors seem to mirror that of the bathrobe the rebellious Petey wore in season one. That's something unlikely to be a mere coincidence, given the tightly woven mystery of the series so far.

Our theory? "Outtie" Mark is going undercover in Lumon, promising an exciting season 2 to look forwards to.

Read our full breakdown of the new Severance season 2 trailer and its Easter eggs.

2022 teaser footage

If you stuck around to the very end of Apple's iPhone 14 event, after the camera cut off CEO Tim Cook and showed the Apple logo in its starry configuration, you were treated to a Marvel-like post-credit scene that may have given us our first look at the second season of Severance.

It wasn't much, but the scene featured Britt Lower as Helly (or her outie!), standing in front of a subway car at a train station. She glitched in and out of the screen before the screen cut to black.

You can check it out the Severance season 2 teaser trailer at the end of Apple's "Far Out" event below:

Is there a Severance season 2 release date?

Season 2 of Severance was confirmed even before the finale of season 1 wrapped. But two years on from first season's conclusion, we're still waiting for a release date for a second season return. The show’s success meant that Apple commissioned a new batch of episodes without hesitation — and without anticipating the many delays  production would face. 

Though the actors and writers strikes have concluded, and filming has now wrapped, director Ben Stiller revealed on the RoomMates YouTube show that even he isn't quite sure when the show's release date will be, or even when it will be revealed.

It’s coming soon and we don't have an actual date," said Stiller. "But I've been working on the second season of it for a long time, since we had a strike, an actor and writer strike, back last year — it went from like May to October. So that cut us off for a while. And we're going to be shooting until probably like the end of April and it will be coming out sometime after that soon."

Britt Lower, AKA Helly, posted an Instagram story on April 9 (which has now expired), stating that her scenes had all been shot. “That’s a wrap on me for season 2!” said the actor, posting a photo of two gold balloons reading 'S2'. With Helly a central character to the show, it was a second Instagram post from costume designer Carol Deelay that finally confirmed once and for all that all shooting had wrapped across the series, and that post-production efforts were now the main driving force towards a release date.

So when will Severance season 2 be released?

With all we know about the delayed script writing process and filming schedule for Severance Season 2, when will it hit Apple TV Plus?

Let's look at the shooting schedule for season one against its actual release date, and see what that might mean for any eventual Severance season two release date. The first run of episodes finished filming in June 2021 before airing the following winter in February 2022. That equates to a roughly eight-month gap for post-production work. If that's anything to go by, a November 2024 release date — again, eight months on from a filming wrap of April 2024 — could be realistic.

However, it's difficult to tell how far along production was ahead of the strikes before this latest batch of filming resumed. If the series was far into its shooting schedule, that could have allowed for plenty of footage to reach post-production crews, bringing the release forward. On the other hand, factor in Apple's own marketing sensibilities, and its own TV Plus programming schedule. It may see that quiet post-Christmas February release of the first season as a factor that helped draw in the big viewership it enjoyed, and there’s nothing stopping Apple from pushing the season 2 return back further still to replicate it. However, if recent Apple TV Plus viewership figures are anything to go by, Apple may not want to hang around so long...

Regardless, the key complicating factor was the Writers Guild of America strike, which slowed production down right across Hollywood, as well as the Sag-Aftra actors' union strike. Severance season 2 did not escape that upset.

Those wanting the cliffhangers to be resolved soon may be in for quite a long wait, regardless of the season 2 release date. Stiller always envisioned the show as a ‘multi-season’ story, and seeing as it took many years for season 1 to make it from script to screen, it could take years for all Severance's secrets to unravel.

Apple TV Severance show and it's comedic book

(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

"It’s really exciting to see the response from people who are loving the show – and the level of fan engagement. It has been a long road bringing Severance to television. I first read Dan’s pilot over five years ago," Stiller said in a statement.

"It has always been a multi-season story, and I’m really happy we get to continue it. I’m grateful to our partners at Apple TV+ who have been behind it the whole way. Praise Kier!”

Severance: the spoiler-free story so far, in a nutshell

Let’s get you all up to speed. For the sake of not wanting to spoil too many of Severance’s excellent secrets, here’s just a top-line overview of the show’s world – a mini Severance recap of the overall concept.

The Apple TV Plus show centers around the employees of Lumon, a biotechnology company that works on a mysterious project so secret that its details are obscured from even the rank and file employees that make up the majority of its staff. 

To further protect the company’s secrets, a surgical procedure is in place that most members of staff must agree to – it’s the show’s central hook – where an employee’s memories are split in two, one focussing on their work lives, and the other on the personal lives and memories they’ve had since birth. The two can never come into contact – a Lumon employee turns up at work, enters the workplace, and forgets everything that ever happened during the work day when they leave, meaning that their professional memories effectively constitute a whole other life being lived, that of their so-called ‘innie’, separate and unknown to the personal life.

Severance

(Image credit: Apple)

While some employees believe this separation – this ‘severance' – keeps their lives free of the stresses of work, it essentially subjects the other side of their brain to a life of abstract enslavement. However, when new employee Helly (Britt Lower) joins the Lumon Macrodata Refinement team, it sparks a rebellious streak in division head Mark (Adam Scott) and his colleagues Dylan (Zach Cherry) and Irving (John Turturro), leading to startling revelations not only about the company they work for but also the outer lives they cannot access.

Severance season 2 cast: who’s confirmed?

If like us you’ve fallen for the lovably-lost cast of Severance, we’ve got good news. As of the time of writing, all the key cast members from season 1 are set to return for season 2, actor's strike scheduling constraints permitting.

Severance season 2: Returning cast

Severance Special Finale Event

(Image credit: Eric Chabon)

Adam Scott (Mark), Britt Lower (Helly), Zach Cherry (Dylan) and John Turturro (Irving) will be returning to the Macrodata department, while Patricia Arquette (Mrs Cobel) and Tramell Tillman (Mr Milcheck) will once again be enforcers. Ms Casey / Gemma, as played by Dichen Lachman will be back, as will our personal favorite character, the kind-hearted Burt, played by the legendary Christopher Walken.

Severance season 2: New cast members

Gwendoline Christie in Game of Thrones

(Image credit: HBO)

The end of October 2022 saw a giant announcement of new talent joining the show, too.

Getting ready to enter the Lumon offices are Emmy nominee Gwendoline Christie (star of the recent Star Wars movie reboots, and a Game of Thrones fan favorite) Oscar and Emmy nominee Bob Balaban (a regular in such Wes Anderson movies as Moonrise Kingdom and The French Dispatch), Robby Benson (the Beast from Disney's animated Beauty and the Beast – no, seriously!), Stefano Carannante (Mirabilia), John Noble (star of Fringe and the one who really grossly eats tomatoes in Lord of the Rings), Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (The Tourist), Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development and Search Party), and Merritt Wever (Godless).

“We already have an incredible new set of cast members," Britt Lower told The Hollywood Reporter at the 2023 Golden Globes. "I’m geeking out about all of them. Honestly that’s all I can think about. They’re really dynamite”.

But could we have some more comedy luminaries join the cast? And even one of the most famous people on the planet – a former president?

“For me there are a lot, people like Christopher Guest [the comedy genius behind Spinal Tap and Best in Show]. I kind of imagine ‘Wow that would be amazing if someday he might be a part of the show,’ ” director / executive producer Ben Stiller said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter

“It’s fun when you have a show like this where it allows for people to maybe come in for an episode or two but also fit into the world of Severance.”

In an even more ambitious move, Erickson teased that he was going to pitch a role to Barack Obama. "I think he’d be really good, he’d bring some gravitas,” the creator told The Hollywood Reporter.

Actress Jen Tullock, who plays Devon on the show, had some dream casting desires of her own too – she'd "pretty much give you every American dollar I’ve got in my bank account" to have Barbara Streisand make an appearance.

It's not just the cast that's expanding though, but the production team too. Fifth Season, the production outfit behind Severance (which was previously known as Endeavour Content), has been quietly adding to its ranks in preparation of season 2's kick off. It has added Ben Irving to its roster, who was previously acting as the BBC's acting director of drama. He'll be taking on the newly created position of creative director, UK Television at Fifth Season.

Will there be a Severance season 3?

It may be their baby, but showrunners Dan Erickson and Mark Friedman are reported to not be on the best of terms as Severance season 2 production rolls on. According to Puck NewsErickson and Friedman can barely stand to be in the same room any more, claiming the pair "hate" each other.

Puck News states that the show's return "has been plagued for months by pricey problems, including scrapped scripts and the dreaded showrunners who don’t speak to each other." It goes on to say that the pair "ended up hating each other" while making the first season. Freidman tried to leave the show as a result, but was persuaded to stick around for the next wave of episodes. 

That doesn't seem to have worked out. Director Ben Stiller is said to have attempted to replace Friedman but couldn't come up with someone he liked. Friedman is still in the fold for now, but to make for a smoother long-term production of the show, House of Cards creator Beau Willimon has been hired to help with seasons three and four.

Severance season 2 will include ‘expansion’ of Lumon’s world

When a company, even a fictional one, has the power to make demands of their employee’s bodies, you can be sure they’ve got deep pockets and an even deeper reach into many aspects of the world they inhabit. Season 1 of Severance showed how many people in its universe actively protest against Lumon and its Severance procedure, and season 2 of the show will delve further into exactly how much influence Lumon has on the wider world.

"There’s definitely going to be some expansion of the world," Erickson said in an interview on season 2 with Esquire. "Within Lumon, we’re going to see more of the building, and we’ll see more of the outside world, too.

"There's an overall plan for the show. I have an end point in mind, and I intentionally didn't plan it season by season, because I wanted it to be flexible enough that we could get there in two seasons or six seasons. I want to allow us to be surprised by where the show goes. There’s a sense of what Lumon is trying to do and the role that our main characters are going to play in that, and where it all will culminate. It's really exciting to think about taking the next step on that trip."

Atv Severance Photo

(Image credit: Apple)

Severance season 1 ending: Will the secrets of Mark's past be resolved?

Lots of that will tap into exploring the mystery of Mark and Gemma’s (Dichen Lachman) relationship, too, with the season 1 finale tightly tied to their fates.

"There’s a question of sort of who was targeted first: was Mark targeted because of his relationship to Gemma, or was it the other way around? And that’s something that we don’t see this season, but we will in subsequent seasons," Erickson told Variety

"That’s the big question, what is special about Mark? And is it actually that there’s something special about him or is it more about Gemma, and he was sort of pulled in? Those are all left unanswered this season, but we will get into it."

"I think that the biggest thing is how to maintain all those things in terms of the feeling of the show, while at the same time expanding the world since the end of the last episode," said Stiller in an interview with Variety

"We’ve brought Mark and Irving and Helly to the surface, and I think those are storylines that people are going to be interested in. So, it’s going to be figuring out that balance. We’re writing and prepping right now to shoot in October."

“It’s so exciting,” Erickson added in a December 2022 interview with Gold Derby. “There is an expanding world that I think is teased, and in a way is owed, by the way that we ended season 1. We did suddenly get some glimpses of Helly’s life on the outside. What is Dylan’s life on the outside? What is Irving’s life on the outside? They have stuff going on that we haven’t seen, that we haven’t explored yet. And of course, inside the company, there’s plenty of stuff that we haven’t seen yet. It’s expanding on both sides. That’s both the fun and the challenge.”

Britt Lower wouldn't be pressed on details of the scripts she's worked on for Severance season 2 when talking to The Hollywood Reporter in January 2023, but was excited to continue to explore Helly's Lumon experience:

“I can’t tell you anything! Yes [I was shocked and surprised]. It’s great. There’s just this sense of excitement that we’re getting to revisit this story, to step back into the characters shoes, literally and metaphorically. And to come back with the sense that the fans have received the show with such warmth and curiosity. There’s a lot of integrity with which we’re approaching this season so that we really deliver."

Severance season 2 filming dates

Shows like Severance aren’t made overnight, and often require complex shooting schedules to accommodate other projects the cast and crew may be involved in. Severance is no different, and so its shooting schedule runs a little into the distance, even well into 2024.

According to Production Weekly, and as confirmed by Stiller, filming of Severance season 2 began in October 2022 and was set to stretch out to May 2023 — a seven-month window. This was further confirmed in late October by a report by Variety Insights, confirming that filming had begun. However, writers' and actors' strikes meant that shooting had to be paused. A lengthy delay ensued, and though they've now been settled with representatives from unions and studios, the knock-on effect to production schedules is still being felt — as mentioned above, filming finally concluded in April 2024.

That may have come as a surprise to even the show's cast, some of whom were anticipating a February 2024 conclusion for filming of Severance season 2. That date came via a chance encounter by a fan and cast member Dichen Lachman at the start of January 2024, with Lachman revealing shooting would conclude "in a couple of months." The encounter was documented in a now-deleted Reddit.

Just a couple of days later, the resumption of filming was confirmed by the show's director Ben Stiller. Writing in a post on X, the Elon Musk-owned social network formerly known as Twitter, the Hollywood star revealed that he and his production crew were "working on it" when prodded for news on season 2.

Looking further back into the troubled development of the sequel series, Adam Scott, speaking to SiriusXM back at the end of August 2022, echoed how close the crew were to reuniting for shooting Severance season 2 at that point. "We're getting ready, and we're going to start here pretty soon. It's all starting to come together. Trying to think if I can say anymore before a tranquilizer dart comes in from offscreen!"

Despite delays, the cast and crew were finally been caught in the wild filming scenes for the new season of Severance ahead of the pause for the strikes. According to Philip Pantuso of Times Union, Midtown Kingston in Hudson Valley, New York State played host to filming for the show.

"A production crew had blocked off most of Cornell Street from Broadway to Smith Avenue for a scene involving a car chase," while "several storefronts near that end of [Broadway street] had been modified by set designers."

One modified store featured new signage reading “Kier Uniforms Co.,” suggesting we'll see more of how the cult-like leader of Lumon Industries influence can be felt out in the wider world of Severance.

Director Ben Stiller has also taken filming once again to Newfoundland. Scenes have been shot in Bonavista, Keels, and Port Union –  with nearby loose-lipped residents sharing some details of the locations used. Abandoned buildings and an old fish plant will play host to some Severance season 2 scenes, with locals being employed as security and extras.

What now may be up in the air is reshoots. It's not uncommon for shows to require some fine-tuning once the editing process begins, as details, mistakes and opportunities not visible initially on set are brought to light. But following months of writers, actors and production staff across disciplines striking in solidarity against the rise of AI and falling wages, Severance season 2 reshoots have been severely impacted. And as a result, the show itself has been left in release date limbo.

Severance at San Diego Comic-Con

The Severance cast and crew hit 2022’s San Diego Comic-Con event for a panel discussion on the show’s story so far, and what’s going to happen next for those involved. And it threw up some interesting tidbits to get excited about.

"Something that I am excited about going into season 2 is building out the world a little bit more,” said series creator Dan Erickson at San Diego Comic Con 2022. 

“Being able to see with this one slight tweak to reality what the different ramifications would be."

The panel also revealed some unlikely trivia about season 1 that we hadn’t heard before - such as the fact that, initially, Mark and Helly’s roles in the show were reversed, with Mark the new recruit waking up in the strange surroundings of the conference room. Also, the rainbow ceiling lights for the ‘Defiant Jazz’ scene were not communicated to the cast in order to preserve their real first-take responses to the surprising visuals.

Apple TV Severance dance scene

(Image credit: Apple)

"We didn't want it to feel like sci-fi – we wanted it to feel grounded," said Erickson, to the point where a real neurosurgeon was not only a consultant on the ‘severance’ procedure, but played an onscreen role in the show, too. 

The physical presence of the elusive board was teased for season 2, while a discussion around fan theories presented “ideas better than” what even Erickson had in mind.

Season 2 of Severance: Script writing

If you’re looking for answers to Severance’s many mysteries though, you’ll want a peek inside season 2’s writing room, with scripts now finalised for filming. It’s said to be quite a collaborative process between the show’s key creative teams. Even star Adam Scott gets to ‘peek in’ on what’s coming up for his character Mark.

“It’s not really a straight line process, and it never was with this show,” Erickson explained to Deadline following the show’s 14 nominations for the 2022 Emmys.

“Ben Stiller is very involved with the creation of the story, which is the same as how it was in season 1. It was always about this sort of weird alchemy of his ideas and my ideas, and filtering those through each other until we get something that we both agree feels right. So, it’s a really in-depth process, but a joyful process, and that’s what we’re doing right now.”

Keeping Severance season 2 spoilers secret

But even with filming underway, some key cast members are being kept in the dark about the plot's twists and turns to protect spoilers from being leaked.

For instance, Patricia Arquette told Entertainment Tonight that she knows "very little" about where the show is ultimately headed for season 2. “They don’t tell me anything, so I’m innocent.”

But Arquette did tease a darker turn for Severance season 2. "Be scared, very scared," she said. "I think these guys have been working really hard, and come up with a lot of really creative things. They have a whole world in their minds. They just let us in, piece by piece, into what’s going on, but I think it will be fun and beautiful.”

"I think we feel some pressure going in the second season, really because of the fans," the actress continued in conversation with ET Onlineat the 2023 SAG Awards. "The fans really got on board, and the fans were really invested, and we don't want to let them down, so, I think the pressure is more from them than anything."

How has the writers' and actors' strikes affected Severance season 2?

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) had been on strike for months, causing major upset for productions right across Hollywood, as had the strike from members of the Sag-Aftra actor's union in Hollywood. Both hit Apple's Severance season 2 schedule, too.

As the WGA strike action rolled on, Deadline reported that "WGA members picketed York Studios in New York with members of IATSE and the Teamsters refused to cross the picket line." Severance became the second Apple TV Plus show to have suffered a similar fate after Maya Rudolph's Loot saw its own filming halted as a result of strike action — something that would eventually play out right across Hollywood.

Pay related to content shown as syndicated reruns was one of the guild's top concerns, among other negotiations, with wariness brewing around the use of AI-generated content — a fear mirrored by actors looking to defend against unfair use of their likenesses through AI generated means. The WGA was looking for assurance that Hollywood would not use that as a way to work around its members. The Guardian reported that some believe the strike could last for months — which proved to be an accurate estimation — leaving Severance and other shows and movies in limbo.

The Severance cast rightly stood by its writing teammates, leading to delays for the completion of the show. The likes of Tramell Tillman, Adam Scott and Britt Lower were seen out on the picket lines in support of Hollywood's writers:

Severance cast members supporting the 2023 writer's strike

(Image credit: Instagram)

By late September 2023, the writers' strike had drawn to a close, with both sides having agreed terms to get pens — not placards — back into scriptwriters' hands. As such, shows are now back in production once again.

Following up a few weeks later, the actors' strike, looking for similar reassurance against the rise of the use of AI in Hollywood, came to a close on November 9, 2023, drawing to a close one of the most costly strike periods in Hollywood history.

Errr… you mentioned goats? What are Severance’s goats about?!

The goats! Of course - who could forget the series’ strange room with a lone employee feeding the tiny kids... 

The goat scene from Apple TV Plus's Severance

(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

While we still don’t know exactly what that mysterious room was about, Erickson promised at Comic-Con that their meaning and purpose will begin to become clear when season 2 airs. 

The return of the goats was also echoed in a Variety interview with director Ben Stiller. "Dan said yes [of another glimpse of the goats] at the Comic-Con panel, so I guess I can! Yes. There’s no way the goats are there for no reason."

Speaking to AV Club, Zach Cherry discussed a set of fan theories that have come from a very specific place — his father. “They all come from my dad who text’s me after every episode, and he’s pretty sure it’s… aliens.”

“What’s the deal with the baby goats?’ [...] is a legit question,” Adam Scott joked with the Los Angeles Times.

“I love reading everything, all [the fans'] ideas, what they think’s going on,” Arquette added in an Entertainment Tonight. “I mean, they’re for real.”

Either way, EXPECT MORE GOAT ACTION TO COME.

Gerald Lynch
Editor in Chief

Gerald Lynch is the Editor-in-Chief of iMore, keeping careful watch over the site's editorial output and commercial campaigns, ensuring iMore delivers the in-depth, accurate and timely Apple content its readership deservedly expects. You'll never see him without his iPad Pro, and he loves gaming sessions with his buddies via Apple Arcade on his iPhone 15 Pro, but don't expect him to play with you at home unless your Apple TV is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. 

Living in London in the UK, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK, and Executive Editor of TechRadar, and has covered international trade shows including Apple's WWDC, MWC, CES and IFA. If it has an acronym and an app, he's probably been there, on the front lines reporting on the latest tech innovations. Gerald is also a contributing tech pundit for BBC Radio and has written for various other publications, including T3 magazine, GamesRadar, Space.com, Real Homes, MacFormat, music bible DIY, Tech Digest, TopTenReviews, Mirror.co.uk, Brandish, Kotaku, Shiny Shiny and Lifehacker. Gerald is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press, and also holds a Guinness world record on Tetris. For real.