It won’t exactly be a second series of The Young Pope, it will no longer feature Jude Law as the controversial young pope and the cast will be different, but according to sources close to the production team, some elements and characters from the first series will be back. The highly-anticipated and closely guarded secret that is the new TV series set in the Vatican by Paolo Sorrentino, who won an Oscar for The Great Beauty, will be based on anthological series of the likes of Fargo and True Detective. Filming is due to begin at the end of 2018 in Italy, probably after Sorrentino has completed Loro, the film about Silvio Berlusconi starring the one and only Toni Servillo, filming on which is set to begin this summer.

The New Pope, written once again by Sorrentino (currently attending Cannes as a jury member) with his usual partner-in-crime Umberto Contarello, “will be set in the world of the modern-day papacy”, said HBO and Sky in a brief note, without giving anything else away, not least the identity of the actor who will play the new pontiff (casting for all roles, including that of the new pope, will begin soon – they specified). “The story will have an unexpected twist”, is the enigmatic comment made to Variety by Andrea Scrosati, the vice-president of Sky Italia.

The New Pope will be an original Sky-HBO series, produced by Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani for Wildside and co-produced by Spanish group Mediapro. The series will be distributed internationally by FreemantleMedia International. The first chapter in the series by Paolo Sorrentino, The Young Pope, was sold around the world in over 110 countries.