Outer Banks creator has plans for 4 or 5 seasons of the Netflix YA series
Jonas Pate also breaks down that season 1 cliffhanger and what it means for season 2.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Outer Banks season 1 finale.
Grab your swimsuit and pack your bags, because your trip to Outer Banks isn't likely to end with season 1.
While Netflix has yet to make a call about renewing the YA series, Outer Banks creator and showrunner Jonas Pate tells EW there's plenty more story planned past the season 1 finale cliffhanger. "Ever since we started, we always viewed it as something that was probably like a four-season, maybe five-season show, but definitely four seasons," he says. "We've sort of long-arced it out pretty far. I'm just hoping that we get a chance to actually tell those stories." Pate also reveals that "before [season 1] even came out, Netflix had greenlit us to write some [season 2] scripts, so we've been working on that for a few months now."
The 10 episodes of the sun-soaked first season (streaming now) follow best friends John B. (Chase Stokes), J.J. (Rudy Pankow), Pope (Jonathan Daviss), and Kiara (Madison Bailey) — a.k.a. the Pogues — as they search North Carolina's Outer Banks for the wreckage of the Royal Merchant, a ship that sunk with $400 million worth of gold on board. By the end of the finale, they've located the shipwreck and found the gold, only to have it stolen by Ward (Charles Esten), the evil father of John B.'s new girlfriend, Sarah (Madelyn Cline). Ward also frames John B. for murder, resulting in an island-wide manhunt, and while John B. and Sarah are fleeing from the cops in a boat, they get caught in a tropical storm. Their boat capsizes and they're presumed dead by their friends and the authorities. But John B. and Sarah survive, get rescued by another boat far out at sea, and end the finale with a new mission: Get to Nassau and steal back the Royal Merchant gold from Ward.
"We love the mashup of friends on this fantasy thrilling adventure, and we feel like we really just played the opening round of that story," Pate says. "And now that the audience knows our characters and the baseline engine of the mystery is going, we just feel like we have a lot more good twists and turns left to explore, so we're excited for more."
Below, Pate breaks down the season 1 cliffhanger, where the show is headed next, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you always know you were going to end the first season with this cliffhanger?
JONAS PATE: We debated exactly where to end it. We sort of knew the rough architecture of the whole thing. And we actually shot a couple different versions of the same idea to play with how we were going to end it because we just wanted a few to see before we settled on the one that we did.
Are you able to reveal what some of the other alternate endings were?
I think I’m going to save them in case I want to use them later. [Laughs]
By the end of the finale, John B. and Sarah are presumed dead but on their way to Nassau. How does this set up a potential second season?
We'll definitely have at least a part of season 2 that'll take place in the Bahamas, but it'll all come back to the Outer Banks because that's our spiritual home. So we'll get back to the Outer Banks pretty quickly, I'm sure, but there'll be definitely an episode or two that that has some Bahamas in it.
Even if or when John B. and Sarah do come back to the Outer Banks, how does having the show take place in the Bahamas at the beginning of the season change the show’s structure?
Oh my God, you’re asking all the spoiler questions!
The people need to know!
I don't want to say, I want it to be a surprise. [Laughs] The Pogues think that John B. and Sarah are dead. So we realized that that gave us some dramatic possibilities that we could explore before we get them all reunited. We love that part of the show, having the Pogues together. That's when we feel like this show is working the best.
As the storm hit, John B. announced over the radio that Ward killed his father and set him up for the murder of Sheriff Peterkin (Adina Porter), which the authorities heard. What does this mean for Ward going into season 2?
Ward is a very crafty character, as you saw in the first season. He's very slippery. And he's willing to bend the truth and do all kinds of things that will drive you crazy because you just want him to get justice, and I think we'll ride that line a little longer in season 2. But we'll also introduce some new villains too. So the story will broaden a little bit as we go into season 2.
Speaking of the story broadening, now that the Royal Merchant’s missing gold has been found, will season 2 introduce new mysteries?
There will definitely be some new mysteries and some new ideas. It all comes off the same spine of the same story but it branches out in ways that hopefully the audience won't see coming.
Let's talk about the romance. All throughout the season it seemed like Kiara had feelings for John B., but then she ends up kissing Pope in the finale. What can you say about what’s going on with that Pogue love triangle?
It's been really interesting to watch the reaction to the show and to see how many people actually wanted Kiara and J.J. to be together. That was interesting to us, and so we're thinking about that, but we don't want to leave the Pope-Kiara story line short either. So we're playing with a lot of different ideas of exactly how we're going to platform Kiara's love life into season 2. I love Rudy Pankow, the actor that plays J.J., so much. He has such a mischievous streak in his actual personality. so it's really easy to write for J.J. because you really just think of Rudy. J.J. is the best because he's had all these terrible things happen to him with his father and he's got all these rage issues, yet he's doggedly loyal, so I just like him as a character. He's really fun to write.
Did Kiara ever have real feelings for John B.? It seemed like she did even though she turned him down when he tried to kiss her earlier, but then he got with Sarah so we never saw him and Kiara really explore their feelings further.
We always saw that she really did have feelings for John B. but that she knew that it would complicate their friendship. So she was always hesitant to go there, but yeah, I think she actually kind of crushed on him a little.
Sarah's ex Topper (Austin North) attempted to get some redemption for himself in the finale, while Rafe (Drew Starkey) went even further down a dark road. What are we going to see from the Kooks next season as they continue to choose different paths?
We want to continue to develop Rafe’s pathology as he starts to come apart after having murdered Peterkin in season 1. So he'll play a big part in season 2, for sure. And we love Austin North, we really love the performance that he gave as Topper, so he's going to play a pretty big role as well. But a big debate will be whether he does the right thing or the class thing, so that'll be an ongoing story line in season 2 too.