Lars von Trier Returning to ‘The Kingdom’ with Season 3 of His Cult ’90s Hospital Series

Ryan Lattanzio
·3 min read

Lars von Trier has not officially announced a new project since he shocked Cannes again (again) with 2018’s serial-killer saga “The House That Jack Built.” For his next project, as announced by Zentropa Productions on Thursday, von Trier will be returning to the cult hospital series that established his TV presence in the mid-1990s, “The Kingdom.” Set in the neurosurgical ward of a Copenhagan hospital, the series, now dubbed “The Kingdom Exodus,” will return for a third and final season in 2022. Expected to shoot next year, the new revamp of “The Kingdom” will consist of five hour-long episodes. Check out videos teasing the return below.

Producers say the new “Kingdom” will contain a mix of new and old characters from the original, which followed the idiosyncratic staff of the Danish hospital and their encounters with the supernatural and unexplainable. A third season of the show, which ended in 1997, was always planned but fell apart due to the deaths of cast members Ernst-Hugo Järegård and Kirsten Rolffes, as well as von Trier’s dedicated turn toward film. The new “Kingdom” season will be written in collaboration with Niels Vørsel, who helped von Trier pen the original series as well as some of his early features like “Europa,” “Epidemic,” and “The Element of Crime.”

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Von Trier will direct all five episodes, and while plot details remain under wraps, the Danish filmmaker did provide this statement:

“Borders come in many forms; they may be lines drawn with rulers on white paper (often invisible to whoever chances to visit the actual geographical locations). The lines of the borders may be illustrative, if not to say quite fictitious and downright mean; they may be drawon in a soft, red color, practically invisible, and perhaps even as a dotted line, almost as if indicating an apology or even – shame. Nevertheless, the lines hang there in inconceivable numbers, and together they constitute those ‘territories’ that the inhabitants are strong enough to defend. Entering and leaving often entail violence, for, of course, any visitor is expected to return after ending his or her business.

On Earth, “the Machine that makes everything go round (all life, that is)” is dependent on the conflicts which the lines provoke, as if by design. Whether Exodus actually means “entering” or “leaving” depends on the angle from which the border is observed, but the word simply describes a large number of individuals crossing a pencil-drawn line together.

Why?….. There is an imbalance between good and evil! The limit has been reached, at least at the Kingdom…. But I cannot testify that it will be easy and bloodless to pick the seven astral locks of the world simultaneously with doctor’s blood.”

The new season has been in the works for some time, with even von Trier favorite and “Kingdom” star Udo Kier teasing the project last year.

It’s said in “The Kingdom Exodus,” the old feud between the Swedes and the Danes inside the hospital is still fiery, and a curse still lies therein. In 2004, the original series was remade by Stephen King into the U.S. drama “Kingdom Hospital” in 2004.

“The Kingdom Exodus” will be produced by Louise Vesth via Zentropa, and the show is a collaboration between Viaplay, DR, and Zentropa with financial backing from Film i Väst and Nordisk Film & TV Fond, among others.

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