Dexter spoilers follow.
2020 is the year of the unexpected, where very little is truly a surprise anymore. But the news that Michael C Hall is reprising the role of serial killer Dexter Morgan really did appear out of nowhere.
It was announced on Wednesday, October 14 that a ten-episode limited series has been greenlit, with Hall back in the driving seat as one of TV's most unforgettable anti-heroes.
"Dexter is such a special series, both for its millions of fans and for Showtime, as this breakthrough show helped put our network on the map many years ago," said Gary Levine, co-president of entertainment for Showtime (via Variety).
"We would only revisit this unique character if we could find a creative take that was truly worthy of the brilliant, original series. Well, I am happy to report that [showrunner] Clyde Phillips and Michael C Hall have found it, and we can't wait to shoot it and show it to the world."
So, what can we expect? Here's everything you need to know about the Dexter revival.
Dexter revival release date: When will it air?
Production is set to kick off in 2021, with episodes arriving on Showtime in the US in the autumn.
As for those of us in the UK, seasons 1-8 are available to stream now on Sky and NOW TV.
And it's likely that's where the revival will also end up.
There's a chance it could arrive on this side of the pond the day after its US release, or it might be a case of waiting a few months until its full run has played out on Showtime.
Once we know, we'll update this page.
Dexter revival cast: Who's in it?
Michael C Hall is obviously returning, but who will be joining him?
No other names have been mentioned as of yet, but here's what's within the realms of the possible.
Dexter's adopted sister Debra, played by Jennifer Carpenter, could feature.
In season eight, Dexter turned off her life support and took her out on his fishing boat before laying her to rest in the ocean, so there's a chance we could see her in ghost form or via flashback.
Julie Benz, who played Rita, also died, but that hasn't stopped some fans from asking her if she'll appear in the new batch of episodes.
As for the rest, we'll have to wait and see.
Dexter revival plot and spoilers: What will happen?
In the finale, we discover that Dexter is working as a lumberjack in the Pacific Northwest, chopping up trees rather than, well, people.
It was unexpected, to say the least, but someone's got to do it.
Chatting on The Hollywood Reporter's TV's Top 5 podcast, Phillips stressed that he isn't treating this as season nine. Instead, it's a "second finale".
"We basically do get to start from scratch," he said. "We want this to not be Dexter season nine. Ten years, or however many years, have passed by the time this will air, and the show will reflect that time passage."
He added: "In so far as the ending of the show, this will have no resemblance to how the original finale was. It's a great opportunity to write a second finale for our show, and Showtime was very gracious about that."
"Let’s be real: people found the way that show left things pretty unsatisfying, and there’s always been a hope that a story would emerge that would be worth telling," Hall told The Daily Beast. "I include myself in the group of people that wondered, 'What the hell happened to that guy?' So I’m excited to step back into it. I’ve never had that experience of playing a character this many years on."
"I certainly thought it was justifiable for Dexter to do what he did," Hall says of the controversial conclusion. "I think some of the criticisms were about that, and some of the criticisms weren’t so much about the 'what' as they were about the 'how,' and those were valid… We certainly do live in an era where the bar is very high as far as the simultaneous surprise, satisfaction, and closure that should go along with a series finale."
Hall says conversations with Showtime about revisiting Dexter have been 'ongoing,' with 'different possibilities' emerging 'over the years.'
"The story that’s being told is worth telling in a way that other proposals [weren’t]," he said. "And I think enough time has passed where it’s become intriguing in a way that it wasn’t before."
"We’re not undoing anything," showrunner Clyde Phillips confirmed (via The Hollywood Reporter). "We’re not going to betray the audience and say, 'Whoops, that was all a dream.' What happened in the first eight years happened in the first eight years."
But did Hall like the controversial finale? "Liked it? I don’t think I even watched it," Hall said in 2014 (via The Daily Beast). "I thought it was narratively satisfying — but it was not so savoury…. Just inherently because of how long we’d done it, because of the storytelling capital we’d spent, because our writers may have been gassed… Maybe some people wanted a more satisfying-maybe they wanted a happy ending for him, either a happy ending or a more definitive sense of closure."
Details about the plot are firmly under lock and key for now, but once we have the official synopsis, we'll pop it right here.
Dexter controversy – what went wrong?
During a Reddit AMA, Hall was asked by a fan how he felt when he was told that Dexter was to become a lumberjack, to which he replied, "Probably sadness."
But he did go on to defend season eight's divisive ending.
"Though... given what he'd been through, and his attempts to have his cake and eat it too in regards to indulging his compulsion to kill AND have a more authentic life, his self-imposed exile did resonate," he said.
"I think Dexter came to believe that... anything he touched would eventually be destroyed and so he felt he needed to let it all go. Of course, Dexter is also a pragmatist and a self-preservationalist so he didn't do himself in. But rather put himself on hold."
It certainly wasn't the ending Phillips had in mind. He exited the series in December 2009 to spend more time with his family.
"I lived with the people on the show for four years that were the high point of my career," he said (via The Hollywood Reporter). "But I was missing out on my family.
"I need to be part of my own life, immerse into my own life."
He told E! how he would have wrapped up proceedings had he still been in charge.
"In the very last scene of the series, Dexter wakes up," he said. "And everybody is going to think, 'Oh, it was a dream.' And then the camera pulls back and back and back and then we realise, 'No, it's not a dream.' Dexter's opening his eyes and he's on the execution table at the Florida Penitentiary. They're just starting to administer the drugs and he looks out through the window to the observation gallery.
"And in the gallery are all the people that Dexter killed – including the Trinity Killer and the Ice Truck Killer (his brother Rudy), LaGuerta who he was responsible for killing, Doakes, who he's arguably responsible for, Rita, who he's arguably responsible for, Lila. All the big deaths, and also whoever the weekly episodic kills were. They are all there."
Speaking on THR's TV's Top 5 podcast, Phillips did say that Hall "was not completely satisfied with it", adding: "This is an opportunity to make that right, but that's not why we're doing it.
"We're doing this because there is such a hunger for Dexter out there. We're not undoing anything. We're not doing movie-magic. We're not going to betray the audience and say, 'Whoops, that was all a dream.'
"What happened in the first eight years happened in the first eight years."
Dexter revival trailer: When can I watch it?
We'd expect the trailer to arrive in the latter half of 2021.
Watch this space for updates.
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