Hiroyuki Sanada to Return as Lord Yoshii Toranaga in ‘Shōgun’ Sequel Series


Hiroyuki Sanada, star and producer of FX‘s limited series Shōgun, has closed a deal to return as Lord Yoshii Toranaga, Deadline reports. Securing Sanada, whose character’s journey to become shōgun and lead Japan to an era of peace was chronicled in the 10-episode adaptation of James Clavell’s novel, has been considered crucial to any plan to extend Shogun beyond its original installment.


Many aren’t convinced this is a good idea. Trying to create a new storyline for a sequel could be extremely challenging and risks alienating fans of the original novel. The original novel is deeply researched and depicts 17th century feudal Japan in great detail, so any sequel would need to maintain the same high standards of historical accuracy and cultural authenticity, which could be difficult and risks criticism. Both the 1980 TV miniseries adaptation of ‘Shōgun’ and the 2024 FX series were major hits. 


Retro Review: James Clavell’s ‘Shogun’ TV Mini-Series (1980)


Without being able to draw from Clavell’s novels, the writers will be tasked with developing an entirely new storyline and narrative arcs from scratch that still feel true to the original work’s tone and spirit. This is an immense creative challenge, not to mention no longer having a book as a guide, removing any narrative roadmap that the book provided, means getting the cultural and historical details accurate is going to be more difficult.


Other elements are still being worked out and deals are being finalized as part of an effort by FX to take Shogun to a second season in light of the big commercial and critical success of the limited series. The outcome of the effort would determine whether Shōgun would be considered a limited or drama series going forward, which could have major ramifications on the 2024 Emmy race, with the timing of the decision tied to the deadline for Emmy submissions.



Shōgun is looking to move into the drama series category from the start if a determination about a potential second installment is made in time to adjust Emmy submissions. Not all the pieces are in place for that, sources said, but the significant deal with Sanada is a great start, in terms of industry concerns.


But the merit of a series is still in question. Do you think the writers will be able to organically extend beloved characters and storylines without going too far adrift into feeling like misplaced fan-fiction? As a fan of Shōgun, I think the potential to miss the mark without Clavell’s work to guide it is high. For a recent example of this, look at the final season of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones.



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John Pallister

I'm all about having fun in geek culture, but keeping my family safe!