Movie Reviews

Who Can Return In Shogun Season 2? 8 Characters We Think Will Be Back

lord toranaga and lady ochiba no kata from shogun

FX’s Shogun has taken the world by storm, causing what was previously intended to be a miniseries to be renewed for two more seasons and opening the door for the return of eight fantastic characters. With Shogun season 2 now officially in the works at FX, it’s interesting to consider what storylines might emerge in season 2 and which characters might return. Shogun‘s cast is outstanding, but with several of the show’s best characters dying in season 1, there will have to be some changes in season 2.

Shogun season 1’s finale proved to be incredibly climactic, and although some of the show’s key players were killed off in this episode or an earlier one, there is still a strong list of characters to choose from going into season 2. One of Shogun‘s biggest strengths has been its ability to develop characters, so it should be intriguing to see which figures the show chooses to focus on in season 2. Ultimately, there are eight characters from Shogun season 1 who have a good chance of returning for the sophomore season.

The one character who will definitely be returning for Shogun season 2 is Yoshii Toranaga. After providing some of Shogun‘s best twists in season 1, Toranaga is set to return, presumably, as the first shogun of the Edo shogunate. Toranaga is the series’ main character, and it was the news that his actor had penned a deal with FX that sparked initial speculation about Shogun season 2. Now that Shogun season 2 is confirmed, it’s safe to assume that Toranaga will once again take up a central role in the story.

The assumption is that Shogun season 2 will pick up within a few years of the first season’s conclusion, continuing to follow the life of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the historical inspiration for Toranaga’s character. Tokugawa only formally retained the position of shogun for a couple of years before stepping down, but he continued as the de facto ruler of Japan until his death, with his son serving as shogun after him. With that in mind, Toranaga’s plans in Shogun season 2 may involve stepping down from his position to maintain his power, much like he retreats to victory in season 1.

John Blackthorne, another of Shogun‘s main protagonists, is more likely than not to play a major role in the show’s sophomore season. Blackthorne is a rugged English sailor who becomes embroiled in Japanese politics and war after trying to force his way into the Portuguese monopoly on trade in that region. The bearded navigator grows more and more frustrated as he is forced to stay in Japan, until he begins to fall in love with Lady Mariko. Sadly, Mariko dies at the end of season 1, but Blackthorne seems to find peace anyway.

Blackthorne’s season 1 ending makes him even more intriguing as a character, and assuming he appears as expected in Shogun season 2, it will be interesting to see how well he adapts to Japanese culture. Further, Toranaga speculated that he might have to burn Blackthorne’s ship again after he’d repaired it, foreshadowing tension between the two. Toranaga will likely have some part for Blackthorne to play in another elaborate scheme, but fans will have to wait until Shogun season 2’s release to see what it is.

Depending on how Shogun season 2’s story goes, Usami Fuji is another character who could return to the show. Fuji spends the majority of Shogun season 1 as Blackthorne’s consort after the death of her husband and son, but she ends the season leaving the service of Lord Toranaga to become a nun. While this may make it seem unlikely that Fuji will play a part in Shogun‘s story moving forward, the moment she shared on the lake with Blackthorne in the season 1 finale could have forged a strong enough bond for him to seek her out.

Further, she is a fascinating original character who could provide some continuity between seasons without affecting the show’s historical accuracy. Shogun may also seek to depict new aspects of medieval Japanese culture, and Fuji living as a nun could give the show an opportunity to explore one such avenue. With that in mind, Usami Fuji is far from certain to be involved in Shogun‘s future, but there are plenty of reasons for the series to consider bringing her back.

Lady Ochiba-no-Kata is the mother of the late Taiko’s only heir, and her importance to Shogun‘s story will certainly stretch beyond Toranaga’s appointment as shogun, making it likely she will return for the show’s sophomore season. Lady Ochiba plays a critical role in Shogun season 1, decisively pulling her support from Ishido at the last moment to help Toranaga to victory at the Battle of Sekigahara. Although this battle paves the way for Toranaga’s ascension to shogun, Lady Ochiba remains crucial to his power.

It’s hard to know exactly what Lady Ochiba’s role will be in future seasons of Shogun, but considering the calculated cunning she displays in season 1, it’s safe to say she will not be sitting by idly while Toranaga rules the country. There may well be some grappling for power between the two strategists as the new regime comes together, which could be a fascinating contest. Regardless, Lady Ochiba is a fantastic character, and she is all but assured to return for at least one more season of Shogun.

Toda Hirokatsu, better known as Buntaro, seems to have a good chance of returning for Shogun season 2 after he’s featured in a friendly moment with Blackthorne at the end of season 1. The quiet sharing of a waterskin between them as they work to pull the remnants of Blackthorne’s ship out of the sea seems to point to a shared grief over Mariko’s death that could pull them together in season 2. Even if they don’t end up the fastest of friends, Buntaro and Blackthorne could make a good pairing in season 2.

Blackthorne will presumably still need a guide to Japanese culture and someone to help him understand the language, and even if Buntaro is not fluent in English like his wife was, he might be able to help Blackthorne somewhat in this regard. That being said, while there are compelling reasons to bring Bunatro back for Shogun season 2, it’s entirely possible that his purpose was served in season 1 and the show no longer has any need of his character.

After Yabushige promised Toranaga that his nephew, Kashigi Omi, would serve him well at the end of Shogun season 1, it seems likely that Omi will return for season 2. Yabushige played an important part in Toranaga’s plans, and while his nephew might not have the same cunning and ruthlessness as him, Omi seems poised to be a much more steadfast ally to Toranaga. The new shogun lost a lot of allies in his quest for power, including Hiromatsu and Yabushige, so he will need people like Omi to pick up the slack.

Shogun season 2 will also provide a good opportunity for Omi’s character to develop a bit more. Omi is featured in a lot of scenes during Shogun season 1, but he doesn’t get a whole lot of character development. Further, his relationship with the courtesan, Kiku, presents a compelling storyline for the show to explore if he returns for season 2. Ultimately, it seems likely that Omi will have a role to play in Shogun season 2, and there’s a good chance that he will play a bigger role than he does in season 1.

Father Martin Alvito is also likely to appear in Shogun season 2, as the conflict between Blackthorne and the Portuguese seems unlikely to go away, even though Mariko convinced the church not to kill him. Father Alvito is an evidently compassionate character, so it’s possible that he could be the only advocate for Blackthorne within the church. Alvito doesn’t seem to have any particular fondness for Blackthorne, but his love of the late Lady Mariko could be strong enough to warrant his support of the Englishman.

Further, the church seems likely to butt heads with Toranaga at some point as he establishes his dynasty, which could also pull Alvito back into the story. Toranaga’s primary Christian ally was Lady Mariko, but with her dead going into Shogun season 2, he may not be as sympathetic toward the church’s presence. If that happens, expect Alvito to become a point of contact between the Edo shogunate and the Catholic Church in Japan.

Kiku, the ambitious and perceptive courtesan from Izu, is poised to return for Shogun season 2. Kiku is the most renowned courtesan in Japan, and she uses her time with the nation’s most powerful people to gather information and spread her influence. Kiku is far more cunning than most of the characters in Shogun realize, making her an intriguing player moving forward. Further, her relationship with Omi in season 1 gives her an easy route back into the show’s story, which makes her even more likely to return.

Kiku is also one of Shogun‘s most interesting original characters, which gives her the power to return for season 2 without contradicting history. It’s also important to consider how crucial the side characters are to Shogun season 1’s brilliance, including Kiku. Her intelligence and perceptiveness would be a welcome addition to Shogun season 2’s cast, even if she remains a relatively minor character. That said, it seems more likely that Kiku will become more important in Shogun season 2, not less so.