Get A Terrifying First Look At The Haunting Of Bly Manor

Fans of The Haunting of Hill House are about to travel to a frightening new location.

Rather than make a direct sequel to the popular Netflix horror series based on Shirley Jackson's novel of the same name, showrunner Mike Flanagan decided to go in a different direction for the sophomore season. Flanagan, who has spearheaded other recent horror hits like Doctor Sleep and Gerald's Game, chose to adapt another horror staple: Henry James' The Turning of the Screw, set in Bly Manor. By bringing a new story to the small screen, Flanagan has essentially turned The Haunting of Hill House into a horror anthology series, casting the same actors in new roles for season 2. 

In an exclusive feature in Vanity Fair, Flanagan details the new season — which features Hill House and You star Victoria Pedretti as Dani Clayton, a bubbly American who moves to a mysterious British manor to work as a nanny for two young children, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Peter Quint, a manipulative business man. Here's what we learned about The Haunting of Bly Manor from this first look.

How Bly Manor and Hill House will be similar but different

Though both Bly Manor and Hill House focus on sinister structures that house any number of horrors, the underlying themes will be different. Hill House focused on family trauma and addiction, but Bly Manor will be about something different: lost love and broken hearts.

"It certainly provides a new way to tell a love story, and there are three of them that really beat at the heart of this season," Flanagan told Vanity Fair. "They all have a very dark edge to them. And by the end, it's really hard to differentiate tragedy with romance. That sense of romantic longing for someone who meant so much to us — but who's gone — really is the heart of any ghost story."

He continued, "At its foundation, the Haunting series is very much about haunted spaces and haunted people. The way we make those things dance together is really going to be what's uniform about Hill House and Bly. Outside of that, though, it was really important for all of us not to play the same notes we played for the first season. The first season is very much entrenched in family dynamics and death and grief and loss and child trauma. We all collectively felt like we'd said everything we wanted to say about that."

Most importantly, the houses themselves will be different. "Hill House is described by Shirley Jackson as having this gothic, frightening, shadowy presence," Flanagan explained. "Henry James's Bly Manor, conversely, is described as being bright and sunny and welcoming and rather beautiful. And when the governess approaches it for the first time in the book, she isn't afraid."

Some Hill House actors — and spirits — will return for Bly Manor

However, there will be some significant similarities between the two seasons, all of which will likely please Hill House fans. Pedretti and Jackson-Cohen aren't the only stars joining Flanagan once again for Bly Manor. Kate Siegel, who played psychic sister Theo on Hill House, is returning for an undisclosed role; another Hill House alum, Henry Thomas, will be back as well. Thomas, who played the Crain family patriarch on Hill House, will play the uncle in charge of Bly Manor's two children. (Jackson-Cohen's Peter Quint is the uncle's conniving business associate taking advantage of Bly Manor.)

An important part of Hill House's success will also be back with Bly Manor: Flanagan's cleverly hidden ghosts that kept viewers enthralled during Hill House

"The hidden ghosts in the first season turned out to be one of my favorite things to play with on set," he shared with Vanity Fair. "The audience seemed to really like them. I loved watching people double back and try to find more of them. It encourages repeat viewing."

This time around, though, viewers will get answers about these ghosts. "We were just trying to hide faces and figures [on Hill House]," Flanagan said. "This season, we wanted our hidden elements to tell their own story. And very much unlike the first season, they're actually going to be explained. By the end of the season, you're going to know who they are and why they're there."

The Haunting of Hill House is available to stream on Netflix now, and The Haunting of Bly Manor will premiere in the fall of 2020.