[Images courtesy Jean Whiteside/FOX]
Along with recent news of The Exorcist’s surprise renewal for a second season on FOX and confirmation regarding some returning cast members comes the inevitable speculation regarding possible storylines in the upcoming season. Most of the speculation centered around Rance family, whose trials and tribulations at the hand of the demon Pazuzu/Captain Howdy (Robert Emmet Lunney) grabbed the most attention in Season One. Would any of these characters return for the next season, and if not, what direction might The Exorcist take?
According to TVLine, the demon fighting trio of parish priest Fr. Tomas Ortega (Alfonso Herrera), Exorcist and (supposedly) excommunicated priest Fr. Marcus Keane (Ben Daniels) will be back, along with their perpetually exasperated boss, Fr. David Bennett (Kurt Egyiawan). Who isn’t coming back? The entire Rance family. While Angela (Geena Davis), Henry (Alan Ruck), and their daughters Kat (Brianne Howey) and Casey (Hanna Kasulka) may appear as guest stars, the Rance brood will continue to enjoy their demon free life far away from Chicago.
In an interview with Deadline, Slater remarked, “My goal was then that this first season needed to tell a story with a beginning, a middle and an end and that story was the possession of the Rance family. So by the conclusion of this episode, you will get a satisfying ending to that story, as was my plan.”
While he didn’t rule out appearances by any remaining members of the MacNeil/Rance clan, Slater sounded more interested in using The Exorcist universe as a place to tell stories with new characters. “I think we’ve created a big and exciting world with a mythology that we barely begun to scratch the surface of, and I think there are stories to be told in this world to be told for years to come.”
Which brings me to the “My Crackpot Theory and I’m Sticking To It (For Now)” section of this article. While the Rance family story was the main storyline of The Exorcist Season One, it was not alone. From Chapter One (“And Let My Cry Come Unto Thee“) on, another story developed concurrently with the possession of Casey Rance. And if Chapter Ten (“Three Rooms“) resolves the Rance/Captain Howdy saga, this secondary storyline is left wide open for development in Season Two.
I’m referring, of course, to the plot by the Friars of Ascension and their powerful allies among The Powers That Be in Chicago to assassinate Pope Sebastian (Bruce Davison) during his visit to the city. Chapter Six (“Star of the Morning“) gave viewers the most complete look at this cabal and their aims; we saw Police Superintendent Jaffey (Tim Hopper) eagerly accept demonic possession. In Chapter Ten (“Three Rooms“), Maria Walters demands (and receives) a demon of her own. One of the last scenes of the finale shows these two conferring over their next move. Through her conveniently incapacitated husband’s fortune, Walters controls many of the lever of power. Jaffey controls the police. Both are determined to bring their fellow demons to our world, and realize the threat posed by the Three Priestly Amigos.
If the first story told on The Exorcist can be thought of as “The Revenge of Captain Howdy,” perhaps the next will be “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria (and Jaffey)?” The Law of Conservation of Detail (thank you, TV Tropes.com) tells me that The Exorcist showrunners, production staff, and writers wouldn’t spend THAT MUCH time over an entire season for an unresolved storyline about a threat of such magnitude.
So far, no specifics regarding story or filming have emerged. I’ll be keeping my Twitter feed updated to see if any clues pop up Filming In Chicago’s account (@filiming_chicago)!
Checkout the SciFi4Me Exorcist Archives here – including recaps and analysis of every Season One episode.