Spoilers for Netflix’s Sweet Magnolias season 1 below.
The Carolinas reigned in 2020, as shows based in the two states topped the Netflix charts. It started with soapy teen drama Outer Banks, quickly followed by the quaint romance Sweet Magnolias. Based on a series of books by Sherryl Woods, the series gushes Southern comfort in the form of a trio of middle-aged women (JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Brooke Elliott, and Heather Headley) in the on-the-nose small town of Serenity, South Carolina. The best friends since childhood endure separate but overlapping conflicts—divorce, moody children, the promise of new love—as they build a budding spa business from the bones of an old local landmark.
Sweet Magnolias has a feel-good Gilmore Girls vibe, quaint and heartwarming, with a first season that meanders through touching but predictable family drama—that is, until we reach the finale. As Maddie (Swisher) watches her ex (Chris Klein) beg her to take him back, the couple receive a phone call: Their son Kyle (Logan Allen) was in a car crash. The paramedics drag him out alive, but there’s someone else in the passenger seat. The season ends before we find out who.
With such an obvious cliffhanger, next season is sure to drip drama—and finally, it’s been confirmed that Sweet Magnolias will return to Netflix. Here’s what we know so far.
Netflix announced on July 23, 2o2o that Sweet Magnolias had been renewed. Cast and crew members immediately took to Twitter to celebrate the news.
When asked what she predicts might happen in season 2, Swisher told ELLE.com, “[Maddie’s] got a long way to go…She’s got a lot of work to do.” She later added, “I don’t think [showrunner Sheryl J. Anderson] is going to shy away from doing something really intense.”
Anneliese Judge, who plays Annie Sullivan, daughter of Dana Sue (Elliott), told ABC 11 she sees many directions where the show can go. “The opportunities, I feel like, are endless,” she says, “and I’m so excited to chase those and see where Sweet Magnolias takes me.”
Although a return to Serenity is imminent, it’s unclear exactly when that will be. Due to COVID-19 stalling production across the country, Netflix struggled to get the Sweet Magnolias back to Georgia. Now that the show is back in production, Deadline reports the second season is slated for a 2022 release.
In May 2021, Deadline reported that three actors who previously appeared in season 1 will be regulars for the second chapter: Jamie Lynn Spears, Dion Johnstone, and Brandon Quinn.
In Sweet Magnolias, Spears plays Noreen Fitzgibbons, with whom Bill Townsend, Maddie’s former husband, had an affair. She’s now pregnant with his child and shares a close relationship with Maddie and Bill’s son, Kyle. But the last time we saw her, she had suddenly left Serenity, and it remains to be seen what that means for her, Bill, Maddie, and the baby.
Meanwhile, Johnstone plays Erik Whitley, the sous chef at Sullivan’s restaurant, which one of the Sweet Magnolias, Dana Sue, owns and operates. He’s a good friend of Helen Decatur’s (and perhaps more than a friend?).
Finally, Quinn plays Ronnie Sullivan, Dana Sue’s (Elliott) estranged husband. When he returned to Serenity at the end of season 1, we knew it could only spell trouble—and, judging from Quinn’s promotion to regular, we were right.
Woods, the author behind the original books, confirmed on Twitter that most of the material for season 1 comes from the first three books in the series. But she’d love to see the other books get their time to shine.
She told ELLE.com, “One of the things the books do is introduce a lot of characters who bring in other issues. Maddie, Helen, and Dana Sue can’t have every issue known to every woman in the country. Their lives would be a mess if that happened. So I would like to see some character arcs where we explore other things women can relate to.”
Since there are 11 books in total, there’s no shortage of material for the writers to weave in. But if you can’t wait to see where the show goes next, you can always dive straight into the novels for a potential sneak peek.