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The sophomore season of the TV show Sanditon is well underway, but Theo James is noticeably absent from season 2. Many fans of the show were enamored by James’ character, Sidney Parker, in season 1. It was interesting to see the English actor portray the black sheep of his family in the drama series. James admits that he had a great time collaborating with his fellow cast and crew on the show. However, filming the project wasn’t without its fair share of challenges.

Sanditon star Theo James smirks while wearing a green shirt.
Theo James | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Why Theo James didn’t return for ‘Sanditon’ Season 2

Many fans were disappointed that James wouldn’t be returning for Sanditon Season 2. His absence was a surprise to many because he served as an executive producer throughout the show’s first season.

Naturally, there was some speculation about why the actor chose to leave. Considering that he has two HBO projects in the works, The Time Traveler’s Wife and The White Lotus, some fans assumed it was a scheduling issue. However, James has been adamant that he only ever planned on doing one season of the show.

“I actually wanted it to be the single series, in a way,” James revealed about Sanditon in an interview with Collider. “That’s how I saw it. I didn’t enter it as a returning series.”

James was also quite pleased with the way the first season ended. He enjoyed seeing the show as a sort of “broken fairy tale” and felt that the original ending was fascinating.

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James may have loved shooting the project, but some elements of Sanditon were a challenge for him. A Downton Abbey alum, James was no stranger to period pieces. However, what was new to him was shooting a TV show outside of chronological order. In an interview with BBC New Zealand, the Insurgent actor admitted that keeping track of where his character was mentally was the most difficult part of filming the series.

“I’d never done a TV show shot out of sequence before,” James explained. “That was discombobulating for me. My first scene was the last scene of the third episode. You always have to be mindful where you are as a character.”

Why James wanted to join the ‘Sanditon’ cast

Shooting Sanditon may have been a challenge for James, but clearly he figured it out. But what was it about Sanditon that made him eager to join the cast to begin with? James credits his character for sparking his interest. According to James, he loved how layered Sidney was and was eager to bring him to life.


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“I love the complexity of the character,” James shared. “At first, he is very guarded. It is his personality. He lost a love when he was very young, and that defined him. So he decided to become an outlier and not rely on anyone else.”