Warning: Spoilers for the finale of Hollywood are ahead.
Ryan Murphy's new Netflix show is being billed a limited series, which technically means means that Hollywood isn't set to have a season 2. But we live in a world where limited series have lived on, with shows like Big Little Lies and 13 Reasons Why expanding beyond their first limited seasons (and the endings of the books they were based on). So if Murphy and Netflix wanted to produce more episodes, it's not out of the question. And since Hollywood isn't based on specific source material to begin with, the series has far more flexibility in being able to come back for future episodes. And co-executive producer Janet Mock may or may not already have an idea for the follow-up... if it happens.
Mock replied to a fan on Twitter on May 6, after she suggested that Hollywood could do season 2 with the same cast, just in a different era of Hollywood history. Mock's response? "We had a very similar vision... 😉 IF we were to tell another HOLLYWOOD story."
At the end of Hollywood's final episode, Henry Willson (Jim Parsons) began production on his gay rom-com that was set to star Rock Hudson (Jake Picking) and Jack Castello (David Corenswet). The second season could easily be about the making of that movie and the impending backlash that would likely come along with it. Season 1 showed that even though Ace Studios' Avis (Patti Lupone) was willing to take risks on who she cast and the stories she greenlit, not all moviegoers were comfortable with those radical changes. There would likely be a lot of pushback against an LGBT love story, and season 2 could dive into that backlash and the push to make history in spite of it.
If the show were to come back, most Netflix series take a year between new episodes. Hollywood season 1 finalized casting around late September 2019 and was finished filming by early February. That's a production timeline that may still be possible in this current climate which would result in a May 2021 premiere. But that's only if both Netflix and Murphy want to move forward on a second season, though.
Right now, Murphy is two years into a five-year deal with Netflix, but all of that time is pretty booked up. Business Insider reported that the five-year deal included 10 projects — four TV shows, three movies, and three documentaries. Per Variety, those TV shows include The Politician, Hollywood, Ratched (starring Sarah Paulson and based on One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), and a 10-episode adaptation of A Chorus Line. Add in the movies and documentaries, and Murphy's a pretty busy guy. He also recently wrapped on a second season of The Politician and is looking ahead to a third season of that show.
And that's not to mention all of his non-Netflix work like the upcoming Monica Lewinsky season of American Crime Story and the next American Horror Story iteration. Since Hollywood was always intended to be one and done, Murphy may not be interested in returning to the series. He has so much other content to focus on.
But perhaps that's a good thing. Big Little Lies season 2 was not nearly as good as the first, and the show would have perhaps been better off leaving things where it originally ended. No one ever wants to say goodbye to a great TV show, but perhaps we should just enjoy Hollywood for what it was — a brief reimagination of what could have been if the movie industry had tried being more inclusive decades ago.
Update: This story has been updated to include new information regarding a potential second season.