When Does 'The Leftovers' Season 2 Start? Not Soon Enough, But This Will Help

It seems like it was just a few weeks ago we were first introduced to the fine citizens of Mapleton, a sleepy little town in upstate New York, which happens to be inhabited by a malevolent cult, a possibly-crazy chief of police, and a dude who really dislikes dogs. But we've already reached the end of 10-episode first season, and now we all have to endure the agony that is a nearly year-long wait until The Leftovers Season 2 starts. HBO hasn't yet announced a premiere date, or any other details about the second season. Those will be released slowly throughout the year, as the cast and crew's contracts are negotiated, scripts written, and guest stars confirmed. [UPDATE: Deadline reports that The Leftovers will return Oct. 4.]

But you don't have to spend the next ten months holding your breath (did ya see what I did there?). Bone up on some Leftovers lore while we all wait together...

Image: Paul Schiraldi/HBO

Read the Book

The Leftovers author Tom Perrotta is also an executive producer of the show, so you can rest easy knowing the brain behind this story is fully onboard with the TV adaptation. However, there are significant differences between Perrotta’s book and The Leftovers. For one, in the book Kevin (Justin Theroux) is the mayor Mapleton, not its hot police chief. For another, his son Tom (Chris Zylka) is biologically his, not Laurie’s (Amy Brenneman) child from a previous relationship.

There are enough deviations between the book and the TV show that The Leftovers will still be an exciting read. The novel also ends without ever explaining the reason for the Sudden Departure, so no need to fear spoilers.

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Take a Vacay to Scenic Westchester, New York

The Leftovers shoots primarily in several towns in Westchester County, a suburb of New York City, including Mount Vernon, Harrison, and Hastings-On-Hudson. If you live nearby, take a day trip while the weather’s still warm and see if you can scout out Mapleton’s downtown, the Garvey house, or even the creepy shack where Patti (Ann Dowd) killed herself. But if you find some white shirts in the woods, leave them be. Those are Kevin’s.

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Let Lindelof Expand Your Brain

Damon Lindelof, the Leftovers’ showrunner, is known for packing his previous project, Lost, full of references to books, films, art, and history. Deciphering these Easter eggs isn’t necessary to enjoy the show or understand the plot, but it’s fun to feel like you’ve got inside knowledge where the story is headed based on these clues.

In The Leftovers, the biggest literary reference is obviously the Bible, specifically the Book of Revelations, which tells the story of the rapture, so that’s an obvious starting place. You can also study the show’s opening title sequence for hints as to what’s to come.

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... And Watch His OTHER Show

If you’re worried you’ll miss The Leftovers’ existential mysteries, religious overtones, or eerie animal imagery, no need. Lindelof’s sci-fi classic Lost featured heavy doses of all three. Like The Leftovers, it also started with a bleak premise (a planeful of people are stranded on a terrifying, paranormal island). All six seasons (120 episodes) are streaming on Netflix, so get to binge-watching.

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Watch Justin Theroux Explain His "Flopping Package"

Theroux appeared on Conan Wednesday night to promote the Leftovers’ finale. Conan O’Brien, being the famed investigative journalist he is, wasted no time getting down to the important stuff: reminding his guest that everyone who watches this show is talking about his obvious junk. Theroux was pretty embarrassed and didn’t know quite how to respond, other than to tell Conan the costume department asked him to wear two pairs of underwear after his first jogging scene proved so memorable.

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Join a Cult

Just kidding. Please do not do that.

Image: HBO/Paul Schiraldi