Will ‘Parts Unknown’ Continue Without Anthony Bourdain? Season 12 May Still Happen

Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain | Craig Barritt/Getty Images for The New Yorker

CNN just aired the final episode of Parts Unknown that Anthony Bourdain completed before his tragic death, but the show may not be over just yet. In fact, there is reportedly some discussion of continuing it with a new host.

The Wrap reported on this possibility, quoting a network insider as saying that they expect CNN to continue Parts Unknown without Bourdain.

“They need to helm it with somebody else,” the insider said. “There’s a lot of opportunity there not to give up on that mission of bringing American audiences people and food and customs with which they’re not familiar with and that mission is important. People need this show.”

There’s not yet any word about who could replace Bourdain. But online, fans haven’t received this idea particularly well, feeling that Parts Unknown was inextricably tried to Bourdain and that it should not continue without him.

Could there still be any future Parts Unknown content with Bourdain in it, though? Although last night’s season finale was the last episode he fully completed prior to his death, Bourdain had already started shooting Season 12. That’s what he was doing in France when he was found dead in his hotel room.

It’s unclear what, if anything, CNN will do with the footage they had already shot for Season 12. It’s also not clear at this time exactly how much footage the network actually has and whether it’s enough for any full episodes. If so, the episodes would probably have to bring in someone else to provide the voiceover that Bourdain usually adds after filming.

It’s possible this footage could be assembled into some sort of tribute show and not a proper episode, but fans are having mixed feelings about that, wanting as much Bourdain as possible but also wondering whether it’s disrespectful to broadcast his final days like this.

Anthony Bourdain at Waffle House.

Anthony Bourdain | Netflix

If the Season 11 finale is the end of Parts Unknown, the last episode serves as a fitting goodbye to the beloved TV host. In it, Bourdain travels to Bhutan with director Darren Aronofsky, and Bourdain eerily discusses his own mortality, noting that for Buddhists, “It is considered therapeutic to think about death a few times a day.” He also learns about the value of not taking life too seriously.

While there, Bourdain and Aronofsky also performed a Bhutanese death ritual. This episode was shot about six months prior to Bourdain’s death.

Recently, Aronofsky penned an op-ed paying tribute to Bourdain. The director noted, “His death is incomprehensible. I don’t know how to process him being gone.” Aronofsky also said that although he shot an episode of Parts Unknown before, it was during this Bhutan trip that he really got to know Bourdain and realized what a talent he was.

Aronofsky adds:

Tony, your journeys to parts unknown will always inspire. Your shows bring the world closer together — not by making easy similarities but by revealing how unique we all are. You turned a light on what it means to be a human right now, right here on planet Earth. Thank you for letting me tag along and witness a master storyteller shape the unexpected into the relatable and unforgettable.

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