Ted Lasso season 2 is one of the most hotly anticipated TV shows of the summer.
The heartwarming soccer-based series wowed audiences and critics alike with its first season and, as with any popular property, expectations are high for its second installment to deliver more drama, humor, and quotable moments.
With the pressure on to make Ted Lasso season 2 as good (if not better) than the first, the series' creators looked to an unusual source for inspiration to aid season 2's development - Star Wars.
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Speaking to Collider for its Ladies Night podcast, Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham (who portrays AFC Richmond owner Rebecca Welton), revealed that Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was a major influence behind season 2's development.
Asked about what fans can expect from season 2, Waddingham said: "Well, universally, I think Jason [Sudeikis, co-creator and Ted Lasso star] put it brilliantly... Jason has described season 2 as 'The Empire Strikes Back', and I'm inclined to agree with him."
Analysis: Ted Lasso season 2 isn't traveling to a galaxy far, far away
Spoilers for Ted Lasso season 1 follow.
While it would add a surreal sci-fi twist to a soccer-based TV show, Ted Lasso season 2 isn't coming packaged with lightsabers or Force powers.
Instead, Sudeikis and Waddingham are simply making a comparison between Ted Lasso season 2 and The Empire Strikes Back, with each sequel having to deal with increased expectations following the success of their respective predecessors.
Following Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope's unprecedented box office success in 1977, the pressure was on legendary filmmaker George Lucas to make a bigger and better movie for its follow-up. Thankfully for Lucas, The Empire Strikes Back was just that, and it's gone on to become most Star Wars fans' favorite movie in the entire series.
Sudeikis and Waddingham's Empire Strikes Back comparison is two-fold. First, there's the fact that, much like the Empire fought back from its Episode IV defeat to gain the upper hand in Episode V, AFC Richmond will look to return to the top flight of English football at the first time of asking.
Lasso and Welton's side were relegated on the final day in season 1, so we'll be expecting them to bounce straight back up if season 2's Empire Strikes Back analogy is to work effectively.
The other aspect of Sudeikis and Waddingham's Empires Strikes Back comparison is that, much like Star Wars Episode V, Ted Lasso season 2 is bigger and better than its predecessor.
It's a gamble to make such a comparison. Ted Lasso season 1 was one of the best shows of 2020 and went on to win multiple awards throughout 2021's awards season. There's a lot riding on season 2, then, to be even more impressive than its predecessor, and not all TV series are successful in this endeavor.
Still, we're hopeful that Ted Lasso season 2 will live up to expectations. The show had settled into a rhythm by the season 1 finale, its main characters are now established and there's an intriguing overarching plot in season 2 as we look to see if AFC Richmond can make an immediate return to the first division. Like Richmond, the only way is up for the TV show.
Ted Lasso season 2 arrives exclusively on Apple TV Plus on July 23.