Jude Law and John Malkovich join forces as two religious powerhouses in the first look at HBO’s “The New Pope.” The limited series is Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino’s follow-up to “The Young Pope,” which earned critical acclaim when it debuted on HBO in January 2017. Sorrentino is once again directing all eight episodes of the series and co-wrote the scripts with Umberto Contarello and Stefano Bises.
While HBO has debuted our first look at “The New Pope” above, the network is not giving any plot details away. Whether or not “The New Pope” is a continuation of the story in “The Young Pope” has yet to be confirmed, although the official photo suggests that’s the case as it features Jude Law looking very much like his original character Lenny Belardo/Pope Pius XIII. John Malkovich’s casting was confirmed in July 2018, and the legendary actor is expected to be the new lead of the series. Perhaps Law’s Lenny is an apparition guiding Malkovich’s character through the papacy? Lenny’s fate was left ambiguous at the end of “The Young Pope.”
HBO is touting “The New Pope” as “Sorrentino’s second limited series set in the world of the modern papacy.” While there is no sequel confirmation, it’s looking more likely “The New Pope” will explore the same universe as “The Young Pope” as it’s confirmed original cast members Silvio Orlando, Javier Cámara, Cécile de France, Ludivine Sagnier, and Maurizio Lombardi are all returning for the new run. New characters will be played by Henry Goodman, Ulrich Thomsen, Mark Ivanir, and Massimo Ghini.
For Sorrentino, “The New Pope” is a return to television after directing the feature “Loro,” a two-part drama about the life of media tycoon and politician Silvio Berlusconi. “The Young Pope” is notable for being the first Italian series ever nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. “The New Pope” kicked off production in the fall, which means the series should be ready for a debut by the end of the year. HBO has not announced an official release date.