Domina season 2 is going to be majorly exciting for the fans of the Roman peccadillos-and-poisonings epic. Domina series 1 played out in eight-episode glory a couple of years back so we most definitely are hankering for more of Kasia Smutniak and Matthew McNulty's return as Ancient Rome's power couple Livia Drusilla and Gaius. There are some major spoilers from here on so do look away if you haven’t finished Season 1, but the conclusion of that series saw Rome’s power pairing Gauis (aka Caesar Augustus) and his mega-manipulative spouse Livia Drusilla patch up their differences over the murder of his nephew (and successor) Marcellus.
The couple seemed ready to rule Rome in any way they see fit, with Livia of course in a powerful position to pull as many strings as possible. So of course we need to see what happens next and there's plenty left in their lives in history to make a cracking good second season…
Here’s everything you need to know about Domina season 2...
Domina season 2 release date
Domina season 2 launches in the UK on Sky Atlantic and NOW on Wednesday, September 13 with a double bill at 9 pm then 10.05 pm.
In addition to airing on Sky across Europe during the summer of 2023, Domina season 2 launched on MGM+ in the US from Sunday July 9 2023.
Is there a trailer for Domina season 2?
Yes there are trailers for Domina season 2. Take a look below to see what's next for Livia Drusilla and Gauis in Ancient Rome. Looks like things are just as dangerous as in Domina season 1.
Domina Season 2 plot
Domina season 2 follows a major power struggle for control of the Roman Empire, and of Rome’s Imperial Family, and the story is again told from the female perspective. In its first season, Livia Drusilla, the golden girl of the prominent Claudii family, returned to Rome after 10 years in exile, determined to regain everything that was stolen from her. Now, atop a fractious empire and a dysfunctional dynasty, she must fight to preserve her marriage to Gaius and find a way to seat one of her sons on the throne, as new and old rivals jockey for position in a world where it’s impossible to know who to trust.
Interviews: Kasia Smutniak, Matthew McNulty and Claire Forlani give the lowdown on Domina season 2 from the set in Rome
Domina actor Kasia Smutniak stands in the shadow of a towering stone temple and imagines what life must have been like for Livia Drusilla, who rose to become the first empress of Rome…
Whattowatch.com was invited to Cinecitta Studios, the iconic film lot just outside the Italian capital where Domina season 2 is being filmed, and the show’s leading lady is proving the perfect guide.
"This is a really special place with so much history," says Smutniak. "I was delighted to come back and continue Livia’s story, because there’s so much more to tell and this year’s season is more dynamic and much darker than the first – in fact it’s as dark as hell! It feels like in the first season we were building this world and all these characters were cooking, but now they’re exploding."
In 2021’s first season we followed young noblewoman Livia Drusilla as she battled to honour the promise she made to her late father and restore the republican state in Rome. The first step on that path was marrying Gaius Augustus (Matthew McNulty) who became the first emperor of Rome. Yet in a climactic season finale, Livia murdered Gaius’ nephew, Marcellus, and installed her own son Tiberius (Benjamin Isaac) as her husband’s heir in a move that now threatens to rip Rome’s ruling family in two.
"The first season was all about gaining power, maintaining power, and Gaius’s drive to be a god," explains McNulty as he joins us on set. ‘In the second season, he is having an existential crisis. He’s got control, but there’s a bit of paranoia about the fact that his power is slipping away. The younger characters now have their own ambitions, and he’s got to worry about them."
The opening episode of the new eight-part run begins with Livia and Gaius returning to Rome after spending three years in the Eastern provinces. They find the city in the grip of famine and the population on the brink of revolt.
Meanwhile, Livia’s second son Drusus (Ewan Horrocks) has caused outrage by openly parading his love affair with an Austrian concubine, even though he’s engaged to be married to Antonina (Isabelle Connolly), daughter of Gaius’ sister, Octavia.
It’s an insult too far for Octavia, who’s furious with her brother for allowing his wife to get away with the murder of her beloved son, Marcellus.
"Octavia is emboldened this season" says Claire Forlani, who plays her. "Her son is dead and there’s nothing for her to fear anymore, because she’s lost everything. She never thought her brother would betray her, but she feels like he has."
Livia knows she must deal with Drusus to avoid further hostility, but she also has to convince her eldest son Tiberius and his wife Vipsania – daughter of Gaius’ faithful lieutenant Agrippa – of his part in her plans.
"Livia’s sons grew up with Gaius, but they’re not his sons,’ says Smutniak. "She loves them so much and would do anything for them, but on the other side her ambition is so big that she would give up their lives to achieve it. Drusus is ambitious and loves to fight, while Tiberius is clever but has no ambition. They can’t abandon each other and they both need Livia, so it’s like a tragic triangle."
Meanwhile, Octavia’s daughter Marcella and her new lover Domitius are desperately plotting against her, while Marcella’s husband Iullus continues a dangerous affair with Gaius’ daughter Julia.
"Last time we saw how difficult it was for the young characters to be standing on their own two feet," explains Smutniak. "Now in the second season, we have all the little girls growing up and becoming women and dealing with what Livia is feeling. They’re fighting to survive in society."
What more could happen in Domina Season 2?
Livia Drusilla and Gauis had reconciled at the end of Domina Season 1, after he’d vanquished his Republican enemies in the senate and they both put the matter of Marcellus’ murder (connived by Livia and friends) behind them, much to the annoyance of Livia’s sworn enemies Gauis’ ex wife Scribonia and his sister Octavia. We know that there’s plenty more to come for the power couple, from being big fans of the classic series I, Claudius, based on the famous book by Robert Graves.
In that BBC history of their lives, Livia sets about securing the succession for her troubled son Tiberius, shown as a terrapin-obsessed sexually deviant teenager in Domina. In I, Claudius, Livia (played by the amazing Sian Phillips) lives to see Tiberius eventually make it to emperor, despite him hating his mother for all her meddling in his life. Nothing on this aspect of Livia has yet come to screen in Domina Season 1 so that’s what we’re really hoping for in Domina Season 2.
We know too Livia also had a hand in getting Gauis' daughter Julia banished to a small island, plus she connived to see Julia's son Posthumous banished then murdered. in fact, her 'kill count' greatly increased the older Livia got!
In I, Claudius we also saw Livia having an extraordinary relationship with her grandson Caligula (played by John Hurt in the BBC drama), teaching him much about the dark arts. We know she didn’t live to see Caligula become the mad emperor, after her equally bonkers son Tiberius, but she was a profound influence on him, so we feel sure this would be explored in a Domina Season 2.
Our team at Whattowatch.com were so eager to know about Domina season 2 so we took the liberty of contacting the team behind the show to squeeze out some exclusive news. Here’s what a show insider told us: “Everyone is delighted with the viewers’ reaction to Domina. There's something for everyone — stunning scenery, exquisite costumes, intriguing characters — all wrapped up in gripping storylines. And this is history so the narrative can go on and on! So many people who have binged the series have been asking what happens next for Livia and Gaius!”
Domina season 2 cast
Domina Season 2 again sees Kasa Smutniak as Livia and Matthew McNulty as Gauis. Other returning cast includes Liah O’Prey (Julia), Ben Batt (Marcus Agrippa), Ewan Horrocks (Drusus), Claire Forlani (Octavia), Darrell D’Silva (Piso), Christine Bottomley (Scribonia), and Alais Lawson (Marcella).
Domina has expanded its cast for this second season with Benjamin Isaac (Holmes & Watson) joining as Tiberius, Joelle (Dune, The School for Good and Evil) as Vipsania, and David Avery (Doctor Who, The Inbetweeners Movie) as young aristocrat Domitius.
We doubt Liam Cunningham will be seen as Livia’s father Livius again. We’re not sure an actor of Liam’s calibre will sign up just for flashbacks, and there's only so many of them you can have of them.
No news either on Antigone, the freed slave and chief poisoner in Domina Season 1. Colette Tchantcho was simply too brilliant in the role to recast it.
How to watch Domina season 1
Domina season 1 is now available on Sky Atlantic, NOW, and Sky Box Sets in the UK, and on the US on streaming service EPIX
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I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.