So we’re past the one-year hiatus that all HBO content takes: one year on, one year off, but we still haven’t heard from The Gilded Age‘s official return. My personal concern, with the spate of cancellations, is that the high cost of producing the series could mean it is the final season of the series. This would be a shame, as Downton Abbey is a successful franchise and The Gilded Age is its first sister.
The recordings have ended, but strangely the premiere date has not been confirmed. Even Perry Mason will premiere first, but the silence surrounding The Gilded Age is deafening. What fans are clinging to is the suggestion given by actor Nathan Lane who, in an interview, warned that the series should only return to the air around September. As long as it’s still in 2023!
So, the series, which was born out of a Downton Abbey prequel project and is inspired by the fascinating true story of incredible women, brought us fictional characters mixed with real ones. Several points were left loose, are we going to some of the possible dramas of the second season?
First, who comes back?
- Louisa Jacobson as Marian Brook.
- Denée Benton as Peggy Scott.
- Christine Baranski as Agnes Van Rhijn.
- Cynthia Nixon as Ada Brook.
- Carrie Coon as Bertha Russell.
- Morgan Spector as George Russell.
- Harry Richardson as Larry Russell.
- Blake Ritson as Oscar Van Rhijn.
- Taissa Farmiga as Gladys Russell.
- Simon Jones as Bannister.
- Jack Gilpin as Church.
- Taylor Richardson as Bridget.
- Donna Murphy as Mrs. Astor.
- Debra Monk as Armstrong.
- Celia Keenan-Bolger as Mrs. Bruce.
- Erin Wilhelmi as Adelheid Weber.
- Patrick Page as Richard Claym.
- Kristine Nielsen as Mrs. Bauer.
- Sullivan Jones as T. Thomas Fortune.
- Ben Ahlers as Jack Trotter.
- Kelley Curran as Turner.
- Kelli O’Hara as Aurora Fane.
- Douglas Sills como Baudin.
- Michael Cerveris como Watson.
And the new ones!
- Nicole Brydon Bloom as Caroline Stuyvesant, who will be Oscar’s new target as the perfect wife, because she is an heiress, but also a “seductive socialite” than Oscar.
- Michael Braugher as Booker T. Washington, a real character, a respected and famous educator who invites Peggy and Thomas to visit his new Tuskegee school.
- Christopher Denham as Robert McNeil, another ascendant in New York society, a wealthy, conventional, and somewhat uptight banker.
- David Furr as Dashiell Montgomery, Agnes’ “rich and widowed” nephew, who arrives in NYC with her daughter, Frances.
- Ben Lamb as the Duke of Buckingham. We have already spoken of this parallel in Miscelanas. A British nobleman recently arrived in New York who will be identified by Bertha as perfect for Gladys.
- Matilda Lawler as Frances Montgomery, daughter of Dashiell Montgomery and grandniece of Agnes, is the epitome of what all well-brought-up girls should be.
- Dakin Matthews as Mr. Winterton: a wealthy widower who recently (and quickly) married a much younger wife, so he doesn’t even know about his past.
- Rebecca Haden as Flora McNeil: a woman who has seen “the height of New York society” and “raised to believe the lie that her father abandoned her and her mother”.
It is still not very clear how the absence of Tom Raikes (Thomas Cocquerel) will be handled since he almost ruined Marian’s life and decided to marry another girl, rich and well-placed in New York. Apparently, a traumatized Marian will lose confidence in what she hears from admirers. As even the producers admitted: he wasn’t worth it.
The website Deadline alerts are that in this second season, there will be an economic change in the background and that will only polarize those who come from “old” fortune and the newly enriched. In the heart of the drama? The van Rhijns and the Russells, with Bertha more determined than ever to be accepted as one of the leaders of local society. Meanwhile, Peggy makes her own way in the world of the black elite and searches for her son. For all, the primordial question of survival in times of cultural change remains.