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Russian Doll Season 2 - What We Know So Far

The Netflix original series Russian Doll was one of the biggest, most pleasant surprises of 2019, with its tight writing and the formidable talents of its cast helping to invigorate a premise that it could be argued has become a bit well-worn: the old "main character stuck in a time loop" gambit. 

From the classic comedy Groundhog Day to the sci-fi action of Source Code and Looper to the gonzo comedic horror of Happy Death Day, the time loop is a trope that audiences have become quite familiar with. Russian Doll, though, felt like a breath of fresh air thanks in large part to Natasha Lyonne's central performance as Nadia, an acerbic, sarcastic, rather self-absorbed woman who is dismayed to find that her 36th birthday party, which she wasn't terribly psyched about to begin with, has an unexpected guest in attendance: the looming specter of death.

No matter how hard she tries to avoid it, Nadia keeps meeting her demise over and over again, always ending up right back in the bathroom of her friend's apartment, with her party is in full swing once more. When she resigns herself to the fact that changing her fate and extricating herself from the loop is seemingly impossible, she begins trying to use her limited time during each iteration of her birthday to find out what is happening to her and why — and in doing so, she happens to meet a man named Alan (Charlie Barnett) who is stuck in the same situation.

The second season of Russian Doll was one of the many productions stymied by the COVID-19 pandemic, and fans could be forgiven for wondering if they will ever get a new batch of episodes. Well, we have good news: Season 2 is still happening, and we can even take a stab at a timetable for the new batch of episodes hitting Netflix.

What is the release date for Russian Doll season 2?

The second season of Russian Doll was supposed to begin production in March 2020, but was left up in the air for that entire year for safety reasons. Recently, though, Hollywood productions have started ramping back up on a limited basis, and industry trade publication Production Weekly recently reported that the series' second go-'round is finally scheduled to go before the cameras beginning on March 1, 2021 (via Showbiz CheatSheet).

Of course, no premiere date has yet been announced — but we can field an educated guess as to when the new episodes might drop, based on a typical TV season's production schedule. If we assume a standard shoot of 3-4 months, followed by 4-6 months in post-production, the new batch could be ready to drop by late this year; Netflix likes to keep things consistent, however, and seems to generally allow a bit more time for post than might be needed. Russian Doll's inaugural season began production in late February 2018 (via On Location Vacations), and that season didn't premiere until February 1, 2019.

This means that we can almost certainly expect season 2 to drop right around the same time of year the first season did — in February or March 2022.  In fact, we're going to take our best guess right now, and predict that the next batch of episodes will debut on the very same date, February 1, that the series premiered — all the better to keep in tune with the whole time-loop theme.

Who is in the cast of Russian Doll season 2?

Likewise, we've had no official casting announcements for Russian Doll season 2, but we can certainly hazard a guess as to who will be returning. Lyonne and Barnett, obviously, seem to be shoo-ins; you'll recall that at the end of Russian Doll's first season, they seemed to have discovered alternate versions of themselves that didn't remember their interactions from previous iterations of the loop. It's pretty apparent that whatever the mysterious relationship is between the two, it's going to figure pretty prominently into the series' second season.

It also stands to reason that, since we're bound to be (like Nadia) forced to attend that birthday party several more times, the guests in attendance will also be back (like Nadia) for another round, or three, or six. These include the party's host, Maxine (Greta Lee); Maxine's sort-of girlfriend, Lizzy (Rebecca Henderson); and John (Yul Vazquez), Nadia's real estate agent ex-boyfriend. Of course, astute viewers might have noticed that this party's guests have a way of slipping into the ether each time the loop returns to the beginning, so none of those characters are necessarily guaranteed to return.

Unfortunately, other than Lyonne and Barnett (who, we should still point out, isn't confirmed), all we can do is speculate as to who will pop up in Russian Doll's next season.

What is the plot of Russian Doll season 2?

As to where the next season will go plot-wise, it's anybody's guess, because Russian Doll's creatives have kept firmly mum on the subject. However, Lyonne and producer Leslye Headland have had a few things to say that might help clue us into the show's direction. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Headland dropped a tantalizing clue about why some people and even objects seemed to go mysteriously missing in between loops. "Things are starting to move, different choices were made so things are starting to disappear; flowers and living things are starting to die or appear to die," she said. "It's not just one day. We're not back in the same moment with exactly all the same things are happening."

So, what does that mean, exactly? "I always saw this show specifically as a ghost story," Headland continued. "This person is haunted by something and what we're going to do is that we're going to watch her escape that and make peace with that ... If there was one thing that I would add to peoples' experience of Russian Doll, it would be that it's a little bit more of a haunting."

As for Lyonne, she explained to The Wrap in her inimitable deadpan fashion not where the show is going, but very specifically where it isn't. "It definitely does not become a show about dating in New York, I will say that," Lyonne said. "That is an anti-spoiler, an inverse non-spoiler. Not gonna become that. No shade on that! I'm just saying. It also is not going to be one of the prequels to Game of Thrones. So [there are] two things it's not. I now, by process of elimination, have given you a lot."

Thanks a bunch, Natasha. Keep it here, because we'll be all over any breaking news or announcements regarding Russian Doll season 2.