Jude Law and John Malkovich in The New Pope

Gianni Fiorito/HBO



"The Young Pope" is passing the papal ferula to "The New Pope," and HBO has released the first image from the follow-up limited series.

The photo shows stars Jude Law and John Malkovich, both donning papal garb. It seems that Malkovich is indeed the titular new pope. HBO didn't say as much in its announcement, but as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Law is set to reprise his role as the fictional Pope Pius XIII, the man whose papacy we followed in "The Young Pope." He dealt with health problems in the limited series' eight episodes, and his future as the head of the Catholic Church was left in doubt. Now, it appears Malkovich's character could be taking over, though plot details are scarce.

The two actors will be joined by "The Young Pope" cast members Silvio Orlando, Javier Cámara, Cécile de France, Ludivine Sagnier, and Maurizio Lombardi. Meanwhile, characters played by Henry Goodman, Ulrich Thomsen, Mark Ivanir, and Massimo Ghini will be introduced into the mix. The show is shooting now after beginning production in November. It begin in Italy, moved to the U.K., and then returned to Italy, Variety reports.

"The New Pope" comes from creator Paolo Sorrentino, who was also behind "The Young Pope." He is directing all eight episodes, and he again teamed up with Umberto Contarello to pen the scripts. Stefano Bises was also part of the writing team.

The limited series is a joint production of Sky, HBO, and Canal+. It is produced by Wildside's Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianini and co-produced by Haut et Court TV and Mediapro. Fremantle will be the global distributor.

So far, the release date for "The New Pope" hasn't been announced.