Fans were greatly astonished when news broke on March 24, 2022, that Netflix would not be greenlighting Archive 81 for season 2. The announcement came just shortly over two months after the series first season’s debut.
After the release of the first season on January 14, 2022, it briefly went up into the No. 1 place on the streamer’s Top 10 chart in the United States, and also appeared on Nielsen’s Top 10 ranking of United States streaming originals. Critics also didn’t shy away to praise the slow-paced horror story as it brought out a terrific 86 percent overall score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Speaking with The Wrap just ahead of the premier of the series, showrunner and executive producer Rebecca Sonnenshine made explicit the project was created to continue for more seasons and was never conceived as an anthology.
“I think there are more stories to tell,” Sonnenshine said. “I think we end on a good cliffhanger that needs to be addressed, and we introduce a lot of characters that surround Dan and Melody that have very rich and interesting lives to explore further. So yeah, we hope to keep going.”
As for what viewers might have anticipated in a second season, the showrunner stated to Entertainment Weekly they put a great effort into future tales in the earlier run episodes. If you’re curious to know what the tale would have been like, pay attentively at where the story has already been.
“There are a lot of little Easter eggs or little things like that, that if you’re like, ‘I wonder if that’s something that is part of the mythology and that will be explored further?’ And, yes,” she summed up.
“Some things just didn’t actually make it into the season. When you build a mythology series, you build out all this mythology, and then you’re like, ‘Oh, we don’t have room for all that.’ So that was a piece that we ended up saving for season 2… All I can do, because I’m such a fan of television and shows like this, is talk. We’d talk a lot about what we would want to see, and what would make us excited, and then just try to execute that.”
It’s not known why Netflix canceled the series so fast, even after it had good ratings and charted well. Sonnehine did remark briefly after the news of cancellation broke but did not reveal anything about the decision and why the series was axed in the first place.
“Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who watched Archive 81. Thank you to the reviewers who were so kind and thoughtful,” she Tweeted. “We’re surprised and disappointed that we won’t be doing another season (we had cool new stories/found footage/Kaelego-lore planned). I hope you’ll remember us well!”