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Cuphead Season 2 Confirmation Is Causing An Uproar

While Netflix has made its mark in live-action television, with shows such as "Stranger Things" and "Lucifer," they have similarly made an impact with animated TV shows as well, with shows such as "Big Mouth" and "Bojack Horseman" drawing in a number of fans over the course of their runs. The success of "Big Mouth" has even led to a spin-off series, titled "Human Resources."

"The Cuphead Show!" is Netflix's latest animated series. Based on the video game "Cuphead," the show follows the adventures of Cuphead and Mugman, two brothers getting into adventures. With Chad Moldenhauer and Jared Moldenhauer, the creators of the video game, onboard as executive producers, the first season was released in February 2022, featuring a voice cast that included Wayne Brady, among other talented actors.

Now fans of the show have received the announcement that Netflix has renewed the series for a second season, with the addition that the new season will arrive in the summer of 2022. However, rather than this news leading to excitement, it has led to an uproar instead, and here's why.

Netflix is not actually ordering new episodes of the show

News of "The Cuphead Show!" being renewed for Season 2 was met with a major correction, as twitter user @Crimson_Mayhem_ pointed out that the announced second season was not actually the second season, but the second half of the first season. The user added that this was part of a contractual loophole that allowed Netflix to pay the show's creative team less.

"Just a heads up, there isn't going to be a season 2 for The Cuphead Show. Netflix are doing a dirty move by splitting the half of Season 1 into two to avoid paying high salaries for the animators and writers. Why? Because it's animation and not live action," they tweeted.

Artist Lauren Duda, who goes by the handle @lozzadraws on Twitter, confirmed this, adding an insider's view to the proceedings by highlighting that the episodes that were part of this purported second season had already been made.

Duda tweeted, "As an artist who worked on this show, i had a brief moment seeing this where i thought 'oh s*** we get to make more? ' But no we haven't been renewed for anything. The eps were always intended to drop in small batches- we were only hired for 1 episode order. It's not a new season." Unfortunately, the original order of the series seems to confirm that there aren't actually going to be any "new" episodes.

Netflix's initial episode order confirmed this

Twitter user @BlankSamuel asked "Wasn't it green light with 48 episodes when it was originally announced a few years ago," with user @WakkoKing replying with confirmation of that being the case.

Reddit user u/ComfortableWaste3381 raised the same point on the Cuphead subreddit in January, showing a screenshot of an article from Animation Magazine pointing out that 48 episodes had been ordered, which seemed at odds with the first season, which had only been 12 episodes long. User u/ProthroHead pointed out in response that only 12 episodes had been released, but more had already been made, with Netflix waiting to release them at a future date.

Animation Magazine itself, however, has since amended its article on the show to indicate that only 36 episodes had been ordered, but maintained that Netflix intends to release the episodes in three separate batches, saying that "Some of the initial 36 episodes, which will premiere over three separate drops, are presented as two- and even three-parters." This is borne out by the number of episodes in the first release, as three discrete releases of 12 episodes each would add up to 36 episodes in total.

Netflix isn't the only streaming service who has done this

Twitter user @mannymator pointed out that Netflix wasn't the only streaming service that ordered episodes in one batch and then doled them out as multiple seasons, highlighting that HBO Max did the same thing with the animated show "We Baby Bears."

TV Writer Lindsay Katai, who goes by the handle @lindsaykatai on Twitter, added to the conversation, pointing out that the HBO Max animated series "Infinity Train," which Katai worked on, did not order additional episodes despite technically running for four seasons.

"Every season of Infinity Train was a part of our 'season one' contract, including the unproduced Book 5 script," Katai tweeted.

Katai added, "'Season' as used in the outside world in animation is now purely marketing. In contracts, seasons are 26 half hours, regardless of how they package it when it's released." Katai also went on to explicitly lay out the connection between a show's popularity and how it affects the contracts of the creative team, and how these orders affect things.

"how popular a show is aids workers in negotiations. Now that a whole series can begin and end in just one production order, we have no way of leveraging the popularity of our work. And that sucks," she wrote.