Altered Carbon Season 3: It Isn’t Happening, What Might Have Been

By Rick Gonzales

Altered Carbon season 3

Altered Carbon has been a big hit on Netflix. The world wants Altered Carbon season 3. Unfortunately it isn’t happening. Netflix has announced that it will not pick up the show for a third season.

When season one of Netflix’s Altered Carbon premiered, anticipation was high. It was born from the novel of the same name (there are also two more in the series), written by British novelist Richard K. Morgan. The story follows an elite soldier (Takeshi Kovacs) turned private investigator who is hired to investigate a rich man’s death. The catch, though, is that people’s consciousness can live on and on in different bodies called sleeves. Season one was a fan favorite, a pulpy, violent, sex, and nudity-filled extravaganza that didn’t quite tickle critics fancy.

Season two was a flip-flop between critics and fans. Critics loved the new story, the pace, and how the story backed-off on the gratuitous sex and nudity for tighter storytelling. But fans didn’t see it as such. Season two also saw the main character re-sleeved as he went from the body of Joel Kinnaman (Suicide Squad) and into the body of Anthony Mackie (Avengers franchise). So, while season two was a critical hit, will the lack of excitement from the fan’s point of view stop Netflix from bringing Altered Carbon back for a season 3?



Though we won’t get Altered Carbon season 3 from Netflix, the streaming giant did release an anime spin-off titled Altered Carbon: Resleeved. But the show’s run on Netflix ends there.


Altered Carbon season 3

Even though the show is cancelled, the people behind it had plans for Altered Carbon season 3. Rumor was that Kovacs would be played by a new actor and what’s more, the next Kovacs would have been a woman. Specifically the show’s producers were courting actress Zazie Beetz to be Altered Carbon’s next Kovacs.

Zazie Beetz is probably best known for her work in Deadpool 2 where she played Domino and for her work in Joker, where she was the girl next door everyone was very worried Joker might have killed (he didn’t).

Exploring what it means to be able to swap your body has always been one of the most interesting concepts in the show and one the series producers have always had a strong interest in exploring. Putting Kovacs into the body of a woman next was a great way to do that, and it would have made for a fascinating season, whoever they cast.

Season 2

Meanwhile Anthony Mackie, who played Kovacs in season 2, says he wanted to come back for more. He told The Hollywood Reporter (THR), “I hope I get the opportunity to bring Kovacs back again next season. I’m definitely not ready [to leave the series].”

The season two finale left it open for Mackie to return.  Even though he sacrificed himself to save the woman he has loved for centuries, Kovacs AI ally Poe was able to build a stack (memories) of someone, who we presume to be Kovacs.

If you listen to showrunner Alison Schapker, that might have been their plan. This is what she told IGN. “We all loved the end of season 1, where Kovacs gives the sleeve of [Elias] Ryker back to Ortega and then all you see are these boots walking out of the elevator, and you’re like, ‘I think Kovacs is coming back, but in what sleeve?'” Schapker said. “And we wanted to make that promise to the audience in season 2. And we also just loved the idea of Poe, who’s been fighting deterioration the whole season, to then have his own moment of nobility where he basically sacrifices himself but manages to copy Kovacs at the same moment. So that’s our promise to the audience, there is his stack, there is Takeshi Kovacs’ consciousness. But in what sleeve… we’ll have to see.”


Altered Carbon season 3

What about the rest of the Altered Carbon season 3 cast? Will Yun Lee would have returned as the original Kovacs. Chris Conner as Poe and Renée Elise Goldsberry as Quellcrist Falconer would also have been returning. Sadly now none of that will happen.


Plot robot

The first two seasons have used ideas from all three Altered Carbon novels, so the crew would have been working from a blank slate for Altered Carbon season 3. But Schapker was ready to roll at the end of season 3, as she told THR. “I have wishes, but we’re waiting on official word from Netflix. We don’t have a pickup. We’re season to season. I’m dying for a season three. I have a ton of ideas for directions, but I don’t know how much I can speak to that. But we’re ready to go.”

She did add this though, in her interview with IGN, “For me, to be doing a show in space, to only have humans feel not adequate to what I imagine the future to be. So, whether or not we’re going to see more of the Elders, I think is very much an open question because we certainly now understand them a bit more.”

“And what happens at the end of season 2 really leaves its mark on Harlan’s World. So, you go from having a planet that’s ringed by these Elder orbitals, to having a giant explosion, and now there’s a gaping hole over the planet, so they continue to influence how things are going to happen.”