Spoilers for The OA series finale.
- Fans hoped that A Murder at the End of the World would be a secret third season of The OA after the Netflix series was abruptly canceled.
- The new show shares some similarities and imagery with The OA, including character traits and narrative motifs.
- While there may not be a direct connection, the success of A Murder at the End of the World could potentially lead to Netflix reconsidering the cancelation of The OA.
A Murder at the End of the World has fans of Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij’s first TV show wondering if the Hulu series is related to The OA — the duo’s two-season Netflix show that garnered a cult following. The 2016 sci-fi mystery drama centers on Marling’s Prairie Johnson, a formerly blind and disappeared woman who resurfaces 7 years later with her sight restored. Now going by “the OA,” she assembles four high schoolers and a teacher — all chosen for a reason — and tells them her unbelievable life story. Allegedly, the OA can save other missing people by opening up an interdimensional portal.
In The OA season 2, the titular character arrives in another dimension and pursues her former captor, Hap (Jason Isaacs), who’d been testing his near-death experience theories on Prairie and her fellow captives. Soon enough, the OA (now called Nina) teams up with Karim Washington (Kingsley Ben-Adir), who’s investigating a surreal disappearance case, all while her original five companions aid her mission from the show’s original dimension. At the end of season 2, the OA falls into a third dimension with Hap, landing on a TV soundstage. There, Prairie is called “Brit,” while Hap is “Jason Isaacs,” giving the show’s abrupt, unplanned ending a very meta twist.
A Murder At The End Of The World Is Not The OA Season 3
Despite being hailed as one of the greatest TV series of the decade by a myriad of critical sources, The OA was canceled by Netflix after its second-season cliffhanger finale. This sparked a huge backlash from The OA‘s fan base, with viewers starting the memorable #TheOAisReal campaign. Between hunger strikes and Times Square billboards, no fan effort was enough to change Netflix’s misguided decision. Grateful to fans’ outpouring of support, Marling and Batmanglij noted that they had planned a five-season arc for The OA and were “deeply sad” about the sudden cancelation (via People).
For a time, a prominent fan theory posited that the cancelation of The OA was a meta publicity stunt since the OA lands in a new dimension where she’s an actor called Brit Marling on a show called The OA. “Due to the show being canceled, Hap has a way to help repress Nina and OA inside of Brit, by saying she just misses the character[s],” one Reddit user theorized. Of course, that didn’t pan out. Now, four years later, fans of Marling and Batmanglij’s work were (and are) hoping that their latest collaboration, A Murder at the End of the World, is a secret The OA season 3.
AMATEOTW Is The OA’s Third Dimension Theory, Explained
One A Murder at the End of the World fan theory goes so far as to suggest that the Hulu series is The OA‘s third dimension. In the new show, Emma Corrin plays Darby Hart, an amateur detective, expert hacker, and true-crime writer who’s tasked with solving a murder while at a billionaire’s secluded retreat. A series co-creator and writer, Marling also plays one of the retreat guests in A Murder at the End of the World. For theorists, this only adds more fodder to the idea that AMATEOTW is a show within a show — one that The OA‘s third-dimension actor, Brit Marling, is working on.
Theorists cite several reasons for this take. For starters, IMDb only lists the cast for the first six episodes of the seven-episode A Murder at the End of the World miniseries, supposedly hinting at a cast change-up in the final episode. “For 6 episodes, we will watch the show as though it has nothing to do with The OA, but we’ll see subtle hints throughout that connect it back thematically,” one Reddit user suggests. The poster goes on to say that other characters from The OA universe, like Homer (Emory Cohen) and Steve (Patrick Gibson), will try to jog Brit’s memory and signal the OA’s consciousness within her.
Why Fans Hoped For Connections Between The OA & A Murder At The End Of The World
When they initially sold the idea to Netflix, The OA‘s co-creators planned out a five-season arc for the series. Unlike so many other multi-season shows on streaming, The OA had a road map. The fact that its other three seasons will go unproduced makes the show’s untimely cancelation all-the-more frustrating. Looked at from that point of view, it’s no wonder fans of The OA hoped for a connection between the axed project and A Murder at the End of the World. With Marling and Batmanglij being meticulous, thoughtful storytellers, a link seemed possible. In fact, when it comes to The OA, anything seems possible.
There Are The OA Easter Eggs In Brit Marling’s New Show
Unfortunately for The OA season 3 theorists, Batmanglij has clarified that A Murder at the End of the World has an entirely different set of symbols than The OA. However, the shows’ co-creator didn’t shy away from the fact that the two series share some throughlines. Moreover, Marling consistently says that the duo haven’t given up all hope of telling the story. David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return, a third “season” that panned out decades after the original show’s cancelation, is a good reminder. For now, the wait continues, and The OA cancelation mistake remains on Netflix‘s hands, especially since the platform still holds the rights to the property.
While A Murder at the End of the World isn’t an official continuation of The OA, there’s plenty of narrative rhyming between the two shows, and even some shared imagery. For example, fans of both shows have pointed out that Darby’s pink hair echoes Nina’s red hair color and the rose-colored light motif that saturated The OA season 2. Not to mention, Clive Owen’s character shares plenty of similarities to Hap — down to the glasses. In part, that boils down to the series coming from the same creative duo, but it’s also true that there are no coincidences in storytelling — everything is plotted.
How Fans Think AMATEOTW Can Actually Save The OA 7 Years After Its Netflix Debut
While some The OA devotees will likely hold out hope for a non-linear multiverse connection between the two shows, there’s actually another (and perhaps more practical) way that A Murder at the End of the World can help The OA continue on. If A Murder at the End of the World is a huge hit, Netflix might reconsider The OA‘s cancelation. Likewise, the new show’s popularity and distinct atmosphere may encourage viewers to either revisit or check out The OA, helping the series climb back onto Netflix’s radar. In that way, A Murder at the End of the World gives hope to The OA getting the ending it deserves.
New episodes of A Murder at the End of the World stream on Hulu every Tuesday through December 19, 2023.
Sources: People, Reddit