Everything we know about The Haunting of Bly Manor (so far)
It looks like The Haunting of Bly Manor is turning into one big Hill House family reunion.
The second season of Netflix’s new horror anthology from series creator Mike Flanagan and executive producer Trevor Macy continues to bulk up its cast ahead of its premiere. Just as Ryan Murphy repeatedly does with his own American Horror Story TV franchise, Flanagan slowly reveals updates with great fanfare for each on social media.
To keep all the news neat and tidy — because unlike Marie Kondo, we don’t love mess — here’s everything we know so far about the next season, its theme, and who’s set to star.
What happened in season 1?
Season 1 of what we’ll loosely refer to at the moment as Netflix’s Haunting series began as The Haunting of Hill House. Based on author Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novella, the story jumped between two time periods to tell of the Crain family.
In the summer of 1992, the Crains moved into a mansion called Hill House with the intent of renovating and flipping the property. Inside its walls, they faced numerous paranormal horrors that ultimately led to their mother’s death, while the rest managed to flee with their lives intact for the moment. Years later, with the children now fully grown, the surviving family members are still haunted by both metaphorical and literal ghosts from their past.
Portraying the Crains in their younger years were Carla Gugino as mom Olivia, Henry Thomas as dad Hugh, Paxton Singleton as elder brother Steven, Lulu Wilson as eldest sister Shirley, Mckenna Grace as Theo (with the supernatural touch), Julian Hilliard as youngest boy Luke, and Violet McGraw as youngest girl Nell.
The adult cast for the later timeline featured Timothy Hutton as Hugh, Michiel Huisman as Steven, Elizabeth Reaser as Shirley, Kate Siegel as Theo, Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Luke, and Victoria Pedretti as Nell.
What’s the new theme?
In February, four months after Hill House‘s October 2018 premiere on Netflix, the streaming platform announced Flanagan and Macy struck a multi-year deal’s worth of projects that include expanding their overnight hit into a full-on anthology. That means a new setting and new characters await when The Haunting of Bly Manor debuts.
The setting is confirmed in the name for the new season: Bly Manor. It’s the house at the center of The Turn of the Screw, published in 1898 by Henry James. The story tells of a young governess hired by a man to look after his niece and nephew at the family country house after they fall into his care. Arriving at the Bly estate, she begins to see apparitions that proceed to haunt the premises.
The series trades the time period for 1980s England as an American au pair comes to live at the Wingraves' estate in the town of Bly to tutor and care for the family's orphaned children, Flora and Miles Wingrave.
“We’re looking at all the ghost stories of Henry James as the jumping-off point for the season, so it very much is a whole new deal,” Flanagan told Birth.Movies.Death. in August. “It’s a cool way to expand on some of the things I loved about season 1, but within the framework of a new story, without having to be restrained by the decisions we made last time. For Henry James fans, it’s going to be pretty wild, and for people who aren’t familiar with his work, it’s going to be unbelievably scary. I already think it’s much scarier than season 1, so I’m very excited about it.”
Who’s in it?
Multiple members from the Hill House cast have been confirmed for Bly Manor.
Pedretti will play Dani Clayton, the American "governess who takes care of two very unusual children,” the actress announced in an earlier video message. Just as her new charges bear the weight of their tragic pasts, Dani, too, is running from something.
“Victoria and I talked at the very beginning about how to differentiate this character from Nell. Nell was a character that carried around a ton of darkness with her and never quite got out of the shadows that she was introduced in when we see her as a child,” Flanagan told Vanity Fair in an interview. “Between the setting in the ’80s, and this idea of a young American abroad, just out on an adventure, it brightened everything up to begin with.”
Jackson-Cohen, who also stars in the titular role of Universal’s The Invisible Man, will play Peter Quint, described as “a charming young guy who lives at Bly Manor,” who “makes life very difficult for everyone there.”
He's one of the characters lifted directly from The Turn of the Screw. And in this context he's a business associate of children's uncle, and he tends to take things from Bly Manor without permission.
Thomas, who previously played the patriarch of the Crain family in Hill House, takes the role of Henry Wingrave, the wealthy uncle of Flora and Miles who hires Dani to take the au pair job. He doesn't seem to want anything to do with the children or his late brother's home, though he's happy to support from afar — unless he has to get involved in day-to-day affairs.
Playing Miles and Flora, the two children, are newcomers Ben Ainsworth and Amelie Smith. Miles tends to be a lot more volatile than his cheery sister after the tragic death of their previous au pair, Miss Jessel (Tahirah Sharif).
Bly Manor is also the home of the estate's manager Mrs. Hannah Grose (Years and Years star T’Nia Miller), groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve), and chef Owen (Supergirl and iZombie star Rahul Kohli).
Siegel and Catherine Parker (who played a ghost on Hill House named Poppy Hill) were also cast, though their roles remain under wraps.
When does it premiere?
Netflix plans to premiere Bly Manor sometime in fall 2020.
This post was last updated with new information on Aug. 25, 2020.