In some ways, the idea of a “Sleepy Hollow” without a Headless Horseman feels like sacrilege to the brand. He is the first person you think about as an adversary for Ichabod Crane, and without him, this entire series as we know it would not exit.
However, herein lies the challenge for the show on Fox entering its third season: You really cannot just plan things out the same way every time. At this point, Headless has become firmly associated with Abraham and by extension Katrina, who of course is associated with Ichabod and Henry. Nobody really liked getting so much of Katrina or Henry on the show in season 2, as fabulous as Katia Winter and John Noble may be. The show is moving on without them, and therefore we are introducing a variety of new elements into the mythology with Headless off sitting on the sidelines. This season, he is more of a glorified cheerleader with a crazy head.
Season 3 has a new showrunner in Clifton Campbell, and in discussing some of his decisions for the new season with TVLine, he makes it clear that ditching Headless for now is just part of the refresh:
“We wanted to refresh the mythology and deepen what it meant to be a Witness, and really sort of confound everybody’s expectations about what fear and evil could be. As iconic as that character is — and it’s Sleepy Hollow: Anything could happen — but this season Headless is taking a break.”
We do think that we will see Headless again in due time, or at least in a season 4 or 5 if the show gets there. The writers have a challenge this time of not just making the current roster of fans happy, but also finding a way to get a few people back who bailed last season. We get the sense from all of the changes that Fox was not altogether pleased with season 2, and many of these changes were needed to get the show a renewal in the first place. If there are similar struggles moving forward, who knows what could happen?
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