Tiger King spoilers ahead.
The flamboyant star of one of biggest quarantine hits last year may be reduced to merely a voice from prison, but the sequel to Netflix's Tiger King promises as much drama and mayhem with its look into the colourful lives of America's notorious big-cat owners.
"We've only scratched the surface," Netflix said on Wednesday as it released the trailer for Tiger King 2, reintroducing some of the original series' most memorable characters and introducing a few faces.
Joe Exotic, a private zoo owner and lead character in the original documentary, is heard as a voice-over still pleading his innocence.
“Everybody from the zoo is out there making money, and I’m paying the price for every one of them people," he says in the trailer, which also shows Carole Baskin, the woman Exotic is accused of plotting to murder. He is serving a 22-year prison sentence for this and a string of other wildlife crimes.
While it's unlikely that Baskin will feature in the film, because she criticised the show over its portrayal of her, it looks like she'll still be a hot topic, with more focus on the mysterious 1997 disappearance of her husband, multimillionaire Don Lewis.
Here are our top takeaways from the trailer of Tiger King 2:
Joe Exotic will still play a major role, from prison
“There’s an innocent man in prison,” Exotic is heard saying in the trailer, via a phone call from a Texas prison.
Ever since his incarceration, Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, has made a number of unsuccessful bids for parole. The aspiring politician even asked former president Donald Trump for a pardon, to which the latter said he'd "look into it".
Talking heads in the new trailer are seen discussing the terms of his arrest, and whether or not he was framed for the crime.
Exotic was found guilty of attempting to murder Baskin, an animal sanctuary owner and the chief critic of his Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, and for violating federal regulations that protected exotic animals. In 2020, he filed the civil rights lawsuit against the US Fish and Wildlife Service, his lead prosecutor, a federal agent, former business partner Jeff Lowe – who also featured in the series – and others. He later dropped the lawsuit.
In July, a federal appeals court in Colorado ruled that Exotic should get a shorter prison sentence.
All of that ongoing drama is likely to feature in the second season, the trailer for which includes a pledge from Exotic to "make a deal with the devil" for his freedom if necessary.
The mystery of Baskin's missing husband
Although Baskin has already said she will decline any follow-up, she has used her new-found fame to appear on reality show Dancing with the Stars, where she made her debut dancing to Survivor's Eye of the Tiger, while dressed in a tiger-print outfit.
She said she was led to believe the docuseries would portray her differently than it did, focusing on the mysterious disappearance of her first husband.
“I told them to lose my number,” she told Page Six of the show's producers. “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”
Still, it looks like Tiger King 2 will delve further into the disappearance of Lewis. Tiger King's success sparked new interest in the criminal case, which is still open, with many of the show's characters – as well as fans – suggesting Baskin might have been responsible for the disappearance. Baskin has repeatedly denied any involvement.
"We want some answers," a law enforcement officer is seen saying in the new trailer.
Frenemy Jeff Lowe still living the life
In season one of Tiger King, the eccentric and self-professed "playboy" Lowe, a businessman, was introduced as Exotic's friend and then business partner. The pair's relationship changed in later episodes as Exotic's financial and legal woes pile up, eventually leading to Lowe taking ownership of the zoo.
An attempt later by Lowe and his wife, Lauren, to rebrand the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park into Tiger King Park was eventually unsuccessful. In a true twist of fate, Baskin ends up owning the zoo and sold it in August.
Exotic in the first season of the show accused Lowe of setting him up to the crime and then sued him while still in prison. Although Exotic later dropped the suit, it will be interesting to see where the frenemies' dynamic stands today.
In the new trailer, Lowe is seen living it up with Lauren and saying: "We have more money than God right now.”