Sam Esmail will not return as director for the second season of Amazon’s “Homecoming,” an individual with knowledge of the series told TheWrap.
Esmail is the second major departure for the drama’s sophomore follow up, joining star Julia Roberts who will also not return. Both are remaining involved as executive producers. Amazon did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
Esmail directed all 10 episodes of the show’s first season. Roberts had only signed on for the first season, and is already in talks to star in another Amazon series, “Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win.”
“Homecoming” is based on Micah Bloomberg and Eli Horowitz’s two-season (12 episodes total) podcast for Gimlet Media, which centers on Heidi Bergman (Roberts), a caseworker at the Homecoming Transitional Support Center — a facility helping soldiers transition back to civilian life — and her work with one of those soldiers, Walter Cruz (Stephan James). The series also starred Bobby Cannavale, Shea Whigham, Alex Karpovsky and Sissy Spacek.
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Esmail had previously told TheWrap he deviated from the podcast-version of the storyline, in part to give Roberts’ character an ending. “We got together and sort of invented this new back half of the storyline and new ending for Heidi.” On the podcast version, Heidi spends the second season reluctantly teaming with the Geist Group, the shadowy conglomerate backing the Homecoming project, to find Walter.
“I had only listened to the first six episodes, which sort of end in the middle of the Walter-Heidi story,” Esmail said. “I really wanted to come to some sort of satisfying conclusion of Walter and Heidi’s journey together.”
Esmail renewed his overall deal with Universal Content Productions last month, will see him create programming for NBCUniversal’s upcoming streaming service. Esmail’s USA Network series “Mr. Robot” is ending this year. He is an executive producer for USA’s upcoming Rosario Dawson drama “Briarpatch,” and has the Emmy Rossum-led limited series “Angelyne” as well as “Metropolis,” an adaptation of Fritz Lang’s 1927 science fiction classic, in development.
Variety first reported the news.