The Time Traveler's Wife ended its run last weekend, and it became apparent that this would not be the only season, even if it's listed as a limited series rather than ongoing. Showrunner Steven Moffat always had more than one season planned, and the season that just ended only covered the first third of Audrey Niffenegger's source novel.
The first and currently only season of The Time Traveler's Wife ended with Henry (Theo James) and Clare's (Rose Leslie) wedding to give viewers the semblance or illusion of a happy ending or closure if the series doesn't get renewed. The series foreshadowed several future tragic events that readers of the original book know are coming for Henry and Clare. Moffat has been able to take a single paragraph, sometimes a sentence, from the book and stretch it out into an entire hour of episodic television in the series to milk themes and plot points to their hilt, sometimes their breaking point, so it stands that he could stretch out the show into more than one season if he got a renewal.
"I had a plan about how many seasons we'd do — not telling you! — and where each one would end and how far you'd take it," Moffat told TVLine. "There is enough juice in the book for more than just one [season]. But at the same time, I would still call it a limited series because it can't go on forever. It has to stop. We already know a fair bit about how it ends. By Episode 3, you know he's going to get shot in a forest. You know he's going to lose his feet at some point. So it's a story of destiny, I guess. The end is built into the beginning."
Moffat reported that Niffenegger has already completed the sequel to The Time Traveler's Wife, though he hasn't read it yet – it hasn't been officially published yet. The book reportedly centers on Henry and Clare's Alba, who was born with his time traveling affliction but unlike him is able to control it. Nonetheless, if he gets another season of the show, he would stick to the story of The Time Traveler's Wife and not its sequel.
"This series is The Time Traveler's Wife," Moffat explains. "It will not go outside the confines of the book, and we will not change the major details of it. So if you want to know what happens the next two years, go read it."
The Time Traveler's Wife has been one of the oddest and most tone-deaf shows on TV this year. Moffat's instinctive glib sitcom tone is totally at odds with the inherently tragic and creepy story. He clearly intends the show to be romantic and sad, but in portraying a deterministic universe where the lovers are together because Destiny forces them together and they eventually fall in love because they are literally trapped together, the message ends up not romantic but as Existential Horror. We're big admirers of Moffat's work around here – he is literally the cleverest screenwriter on the planet with his ability to meld emotion, theme, and structure in a way every writer wishes they could – but we're not blind to his flaws or misfires.
We wonder if the new book will be called The Time Traveler's Daughter.
The Time Traveler's Wife is now streaming on HBO Max.