Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House may not yet be renewed for another season of screams, but there are plenty of storylines that a potential second season could explore.
Warning: major spoilers ahead for season one of The Haunting of Hill House.
Dubbed “close to a work of genius” by the King of Horror himself Stephen King, the Netflix original series, by director Mike Flanagan and based on Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel of the same name, immediately became a massive hit. Mixing the horror genre with the inner workings of a family drama, the series has even been credited as being the best horror series in years.
While season one ended on what many would presume to be a pretty concrete ending, wrapping up the Crain family’s storyline’s with a neat bow, there is still an abundance of room for a sophomore run, something that not only Flanagan seemed to be anticipating by dropping Easter eggs throughout the finale, but also something that fans are fervently calling for.
Keep scrolling to see some of the possible storylines that The Haunting of Hill House season two could explore.
It is one of the few possible Easter eggs dropped in the season finale, and potentially sets up a storyline focused on the two remaining Crain sisters: Shirley and Theo.
“Fear and guilt are sisters,” Trish says in the finale when Theo is locked in the Red Room and forced to face her biggest fear before Nell brings her back to the present.
Both fear and guilt were subtle driving forces for the debut season, with fear being what made the Crain children susceptible to Hill House and guilt being what brought them back following another family tragedy, and it could possibly take on a much more literal form in a second season. While the Crain family got about as much of a happy ending as one could hope for, they still have an abundance of healing to do and obstacles to overcome, including Shirley’s guilt over cheating on her husband and Theo’s fear of feeling nothing.
Potentially the biggest Easter egg dropped in the finale, and one that would mean a major shift in the story, season two could draw from The Grattan Murders, Poppy Hill’s nursery rhyme that she sings to Hugh. Playing a role in both the book and the series, and believed to reference to Ambrose Bierce's "The Moonlit Road," the nursery rhyme refers to the deaths of three generations of a single family.
The first season of The Haunting of Hill House ended with the death of Hugh Crain, killing off one generation of the Crain family, and Nell already succumbed to death, marking the first death in a second generation.
Should The Grattan Murders nursery rhyme be an Easter egg, it would likely mean a major time jump, with season two focusing on a new generation of the Crain family, potentially Shirley’s children when they are grown up.
Director Mike Flanagan could choose to go in a route similar to other horror series, like American Horror Story, and make The Haunting of Hill House an anthology, with each season focusing on a different ghost residing in the home.
The debut season introduced fans to a number of Hill House’s ghostly residents, namely Poppy Hill, who was first mentioned by Mrs. Dudley in episode eight and was explained to be a former resident of Hill House who was mentally ill. Poppy met William Hill, whom built the home, while in an insane asylum. Once the Crains moved in, Poppy’s ghost haunted Olivia, convincing her that the only way to save her children was to kill them.
Luke’s bowler hat ghost was also a central figure of season one. William Hill, Poppy’s husband, eventually bricked himself up in a wall in the ‘40s with his cane, which his ghost taps against the floor.
With a number of other spirits residing in the home, the possibilities are endless, and each season could focus on how that particular ghost or set of ghosts came to be a spirit in the home, a route similar to season one.
Similar to the option above, and probably a lot less likely, the series could shift to storytelling from one of the ghosts’ perspectives, offering an entirely different viewpoint to the story and the inner workings of Hill House.
Choosing to set up any future seasons in this manner would also allow the series to introduce more of the ghosts, giving Hill House a deeper history.
Theodora was arguably one of the most intriguing characters in the debut season, and as soon as fans were introduced to the glove-wearing middle Crain child, they immediately began calling for the series to give her more screen time.
Given that Theo wears gloves for a very important reason (she is a clairvoyant, meaning she has the ability to sense other people’s feelings through touch), choosing to shift the focus to the character who was the black sheep of the Crain family seems like a no-brainer, as it could easily maintain the paranormal aspect.
Should a second season focus on Theo, it could focus on her life pre-Nellie’s death, when she hardly ever took off her gloves, or post-Nellie’s death and post-returning to Hill House, when she chose to take off her gloves.
Given that Theodora was a main character in Shirley Jackson’s novel, it only seems natural that a second season would focus on her.
The ending that fans saw in the season finale is vastly different from the original ending that director Mike Flanagan had concocted, with his original plan having alluded to the Crain siblings still being in the Red Room as the final credits rolled.
“We talked for a very, very long time about putting the Red Room window, that weird vertical window, in the background of this shot,” Flanagan told Thrillist. “And I ultimately decided not to. It was too cruel. But there was a lot of talk that this peace might not be real.”
While season one certainly seemed to end with peace, season two could pick up and shred that idea, revealing that the Crains never truly made it out of the Red Room and that their happy ending was just a figment of the imagination created by Hill House.
Once again venturing in anthology series territory, another season, and any future seasons following that, could take on various hauntings across the country or even the world, a task that isn’t that far-fetched.
At the series' start, fans are introduced to Steven Crain, the eldest Crain sibling and an author, who rose to prominence after publishing his autobiographical The Haunting of Hill House. While he was never quite able to capture that success a second time, his following works continued in the horror genre, with his focus shifting to other hauntings that people have experienced and him attempting to ascribe a natural phenomenon to explain them.
Perhaps, however, there is a haunting or two that cannot be explained by a natural phenomenon, thus becoming the focus for season two.
The main character in Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel, Dr. Montague was nothing more than a very minor character in the Netflix series. Serving as Nell’s psychiatrist, he came and went in roughly the blink of an eye. In the book, however, he invited a number of guests to Hill House in an attempt to prove that it was haunted.
Dr. Montague, serving as the focus character in a future season, could potentially venture to Hill House to find answers surrounding Nell’s death and her frequent claims that she was being haunted by the Bent-Neck Lady, discovering for himself the truth behind the mysterious home.
Another way to naturally issue in a second season would be to shift the focus to the Dudleys, the family that has served as caretakers of Hill House for decades and who have lived in a house on the edge of property to avoid the paranormal activity of the home. Their ties to the house became much more solid following the death of their daughter, Abigail, at Olivia’s doing, and the subsequent death of Mrs. Dudley in the house.
Telling the story from their perspective would allow the show to explore their knowledge of the home and the various families they have seen live there, as well as show what happens after the Crain family leaves the property in the season one finale.