HBO has not yet announced the release date for writer and director Paolo Sorrentino’s new show The New Pope—the followup to his one-of-a-kind limited series The Young Pope. However, its first two episodes will first premiere at the Venice Film Festival this weekend. Ahead of that event, Sorrentino has shared a teaser trailer for the new series, which features both the titular new Pope, portrayed by John Malkovich, and the old Young Pope–that is, Pius XIII, otherwise known as Lenny Belardo—moving in very different spheres. While the New Pope is immersed in Vatican business and consternated prayer, Belardo is out striding along the boardwalk in a Speedo while beachgoers eye him with interest.
There’s no dialogue in the trailer, but somehow, it’s kind of easy to get a sense of what we might be in for with the upcoming nine-episode series. Variety‘s premiere of the video came with a short interview with Sorrentino, who explained that Belardo is back on the scene in The New Pope because he has miraculously emerged from a coma that is “considered irreversible and can only end up in death.” Sorrentino also discussed the difference in focus between the two series: “While the first season had a spiritual dimension – and we also had to introduce the characters – this time around we were able to focus more on plot lines and events. So…there is constant stream of current-events references, in particular to potential forms of ideological fanaticism that can have negative repercussions on the church.”
Read our 2017 essay, “A Requiem for The Young Pope, The Craziest HBO Show of All Time,” here. Watch the teaser for The New Pope below.