FX's record-breaking Shōgun TV show is getting two more seasons – and that presents two big problems

A screenshot of a promotional image for FX's Shogun TV show, which shows Lord Toranaga brandishing a sword on horseback
FX's Shōgun will return for two more seasons on Hulu and Disney Plus. (Image credit: Disney)

Shōgun, the hugely successful historical epic that's set in Feudal Japan, has been renewed – and it won't just be back for one more season.

In a press release, FX and Disney confirmed that the Hiroyuki Sanada-starring FX series, which is also available to stream on Hulu and Disney Plus, will return for "two additional seasons". 

There's no word on when season two will enter full production, or if both entries would be filmed back-to-back. However, FX revealed that Shōgun's co-creators/lead writers Justin Marks and Rachel Kondo were currently assembling a writers' room ahead of penning its scripts this summer (that's winter for southern hemisphere readers). Sanada is also officially set to return as Lord Yoshii Toranaga after reports earlier this week suggested Sanada had already signed on for Shōgun season two ahead of the show's official renewal.

Hiroyuki Sanada as Lord Yoshii Toranaga in Shogun

"I hereby decree that Shōgun will be back for another two seasons." (Image credit: FX)

FX's decision to order more seasons of Shōgun isn't a great shock to anyone who's kept tabs on its performance.

Described as a 16th century, Japan-set Game of Thrones by critics and general viewers alike, FX's Shōgun set a new, unexpected Hulu and Disney Plus record – in early March – just two weeks following its February 27 release on two of the world's best streaming services. Three weeks after its season one finale aired, FX has also confirmed that it's the most-streamed FX series of all-time. To put that into context, even the US network's critically acclaimed, multi-award-winning comedy-drama The Bear can't lay claim to that title.

Shōgun is a show that needs to be seen, too. In my review of Shōgun season one, I called it an "entertaining and enthralling slice of prestige TV" that "offers an impressive historical epic alternative to Disney’s franchise heavy-hitters". Based on its near-perfect 99% critical Rotten Tomatoes score – it's also highly rated among general audiences with a 90% score – it seems many people agree that it's one of the best Hulu shows and best Disney Plus shows around.

A necessary renewal, but one that'll cause a historical headache

Pleasing as it is to hear that more Shōgun entries have been greenlit, its return does present a couple of big problems.

The first of those is how Lord Toranaga's story will be continued. Shōgun is based on James Clavell's 1975 novel of the same name, and the series' first installment covered the book's complete story during its 10-episode run. The big question, then, is how Marks, Kondo, and the rest of the show's writers – in conjunction with the Estate of James Clavell – will tackle a sequel season that not only tells a compelling follow-up to season one's events, but also recaptures the brutal allure and political intrigue of this engrossing time period without any source material to fall back on. 

Sure, there are examples of other shows continuing in the absence of an author's literary works to draw from – Amazon's The Man in the High Castle, which ran for four seasons, being a prime example. Such instances are exceptions to the norm, though, so it'll be intriguing to see how Shōgun's creative team can successfully navigate similarly complex narrative waters.

The other sticking point – one that's not as important as the above, but is nonetheless fascinating – is that Shōgun's renewal might scupper its chances of securing multiple prizes on the 2025 awards circuit.

Before FX confirmed it'll get two more seasons, Shōgun was billed as a limited series. That, according to Deadline, meant it would've gone up against the likes of Hulu's Under The Bridge and Peacock's Apples Never Fall at the 76th Primetime Emmys. Given its universal acclaim and immense popularity, Shōgun would've been all but nailed on to with this year's Limited Series Emmy, plus any other Limited Series-based prize at similar ceremonies.

Now it's a multi-season show, though, FX will have to submit Shōgun as a contender for 2024's Emmys TV Drama award. That means it'll go head-to-head with other TV heavy hitters, including Apple TV Plus' Silo and Prime Video's TV adaptation of The Wheel of Time

Shōgun's biggest rival, however, is likely to be Amazon's hugely successful Fallout TV show, which recently became the second most-streamed Prime Video TV Original of all-time after The Rings of Power. Is this another battle that Lord Toranaga can win? We'll find out when this year's Emmy nominations are announced and then when the big night rolls around on September 15.

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Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

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