Mike Flanagan and his producer Trevor Macy are two for two when it comes to Netflix’s “Haunting” anthology series. After delivering one of the streaming giant’s biggest word-of-mouth sensations in 2018 with “The Haunting of Hill House,” the two have struck gold again as the 2020 follow-up “The Haunting of Bly Manor” currently sits atop Netflix’s most-watched chart. A third “Haunting” installment would appear to be a no-brainer for Netflix, but Flanagan confirms to Entertainment Weekly that a Season 3 is not in active development at the moment.
Both “Haunting” seasons found Flanagan putting a remix on a famous literary ghost tale: “Hill House” was inspired by Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel of the same name, while “Bly Manor” used Henry James’ 1898 ghost story “The Turn of the Screw” as its jumping off point. Neither Flanagan nor Macy have pinpointed the next ghost story they want to adapt, but creator and director Flanagan knows whatever story they choose will be a redefinition of the genre.
“A ghost is an impact from the past on the present in every ghost story,” Flanagan said. “That’s all it really is, no matter how you dress it up. A ghost is simply an element of the past that refuses to live in the past and instead just encroaches upon the present that it alters the present. It changes the trajectory of the person who’s experiencing that little piece of the past… That link between memory and ghosts and between ghosts and the past, that is the lifeblood of the show.”
Flanagan continued, “I feel like there’s no shortage of ghosts in the world for all of us. So, if we could find some common language with which to talk about them, then that’s something we always aspire to do this season or beyond, if that’s the way it goes.”
The “Haunting” cast remains in the dark about Season 3 for now. Victoria Pedretti told The Wrap this week that she “doesn’t really know anything about future series,” while Oliver Jackson-Cohen added, “I think that it’s one of those where, if ‘Bly Manor’ does well, then I’m sure conversations will happen with Netflix. But it’s entirely up to Mike and entirely up to what ideas he’s got up his sleeve. But I think all of us would definitely collaborate and work with him again, if the opportunity arose. But there is genuinely nothing concrete as of now.”
The wait for “Haunting” Season 3 might be indefinite at the moment, but fans of the series should take comfort in knowing Flanagan and Marcy are busy at work on their next Netflix horror offering: an original series titles “Midnight Mass.” The two men signed an overall TV deal with Netflix in 2019 and “Midnight Mass” is the first original TV project to come from the pact. Flanagan is directing the series and Macy is executive producing.
“Midnight Mass” is set to run seven episodes and bares no relation to the Vertigo comic book series “Midnight, Mass.” Set in an isolated island community, the series follows the “miraculous events and frightening omens” that break out among the population after the arrival of a mysterious priest. Flanagan’s “Hill House” star Kate Siegel is appearing in “Midnight Mass” opposite Zach Gilford, Hamish Linklater, Annabeth Gish, Michael Trucco, Samantha Sloyan, and Henry Thomas, among others.
Flanagan shared on social media that August 17, 2020 was the first day of production for “Midnight Mass,” which means the series is not expected to hit Netflix until 2021. There’s also Flanagan’s “Revival,” an adaptation of Stephen King’s 2014 novel of the same name. The director, who adapted King’s “Gerald’s Game” for Netflix and “Doctor Sleep” for Warner Bros., is working with the latter studio on the project and has described the adaptation as “relentlessly dark and bleak.” Warner Bros. has not announced a production start date, although it’s likely to begin some time in 2021 after Flanagan wraps “Midnight Mass.”
With Flanagan busy on “Midnight Mass” for the remainder of the year and “Revival” to follow, a third “Haunting” installment might take longer to hit Netflix than the two-year gap that separated “Hill House” and “Bly Manor.” Both “Haunting” series are now streaming on Netflix.