Those following Steven Soderbergh’s fantastically auteur medical drama The Knick understandably found themselves aghast at the Season 2 finale, a stark reminder that Soderbergh and series star Clive Owen only signed on for two years. Now, the director confirms that he himself will exit the series, though Cinemax may well move forward with a Season 3 (and 4) that looks markedly different.

You’re warned of full spoilers through The Knick’s second season finale “This is All We Are” from here on out, but Soderbergh spoke candidly in an interview with Indiewire, not only confirming the death of Clive Owen’s Dr. John Thackery, but also the two-year stretch of his plans with Cinemax. The network has already ordered a premiere script, while Soderbergh hopes to make room for new filmmakers to take over:

I told them that I’m going to do the first two years and then we are going to break out the story for seasons 3 and 4 and try and find a filmmaker or filmmakers to do this the way that I did. This is how we want to do this so that every two years, whoever comes on, has the freedom to create their universe … They don’t have to shoot it the way I shoot it. They don’t have to score it the way I score it. They don’t have to cast who I’ve cast. They have maximum freedom to come in and just go, ‘I want to wipe the slate clean.’

Writers and creators Jack Amiel and Michael Begler have also begun developing a shortlist of filmmakers to potentially take on Season 3 ideas; which Amiel suggested to The Hollywood Reporter could span everything from mental health to eugenics. Perhaps most distressing for fans, Soderbergh doesn’t believe a new season could necessarily shoot before 2017, though they’d consider writing and shooting Seasons 3 and 4 back to back:

That may be a little much. That’s 150 days for somebody to lock themselves into … [But] I like the idea of ‘what if we do write seasons three and four and have both of them written by next fall but don’t shoot until spring of 2017.’ Then you really are talking about like a 20-hour narrative where every line and every reference has some echo in connection to every other line. It could be amazing. That’s what we’re definitely thinking.

Cinemax will wait for the first script and story outline of at least Season 3 before making a decision, but what might The Knick look like without Soderbergh (or Owen) at its core?