To be continued. After Cruel Summer became a fan favorite on Freeform, it got a quick renewal — leaving audiences craving for more.
The series debuted in April 2021 and told a story over three years: 1993, 1994 and 1995. It followed Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt), who was kidnapped and later rescued, and Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia), who was accused of knowing the whereabouts of the missing girl.
The timeline went back and forth exploring both perspectives without revealing the truth until the explosive season 1 finale. The story wrapped up with Kate admitting that she was wrong about Jeanette seeing her in her kidnapper’s home. However, a shocking twist revealed that Jeanette actually heard Kate asking for help when she was held captive in 1994.
Since the show managed to naturally answer many of the questions from season 1, it wasn’t initially clear what the plan was for the future. At the time, Freeform President Tara Duncan applauded Cruel Summer for being the network’s most-watched series, but even she said she didn’t know where the show would go from there.
Showrunner Tia Napolitano clarified that while the writers haven’t even met to map out their next steps, they did have some aspects in mind already. “I know what we also want to do is tackle something like we did with grooming. We want to talk about something important along with the mystery and the character studies,” Napolitano teased to Buzzfeed in June 2021.
She continued: “We want to challenge ourselves with something equally impossible and mysterious, and find the best version of that. We want to give people all of the answers to the clues and questions we tee up because I think that’s really satisfying.”
Although several original cast members teased their hopes for the upcoming season, Freeform later announced that the show would become an anthology series. In April 2022, the network confirmed that season 2 would include a new cast and showrunner.
“After getting season 2 of Cruel Summer up and running, Tia Napolitano has stepped back from the show, and as such, will no longer be serving as showrunner,” a rep for the show told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement at the time. “Tia has been instrumental in the success of the show and will remain an executive producer.”
Season 1 stars Holt, Aurelia, Froy Gutierrez, Harley Quinn Smith, Blake Lee, Allius Barnes, Sarah Drew, Andrea Anders, Nathaniel Ashton and Michael Landes will also not be returning.
Instead, season 2 will introduce new characters at the center of a love triangle. “Approaching the story from three different timelines surrounding Y2K, the season twists and turns as it tracks the early friendship between Megan, Isabella and Megan’s best friend Luke, the love triangle that blossomed, and the mystery that would impact all of their lives going forward,” a synopsis for the sophomore season read.
Scroll down for everything we know so far about season 2 of Cruel Summer: