Lana and Lilly Wachowski are known as ambitious storytellers, but their Netflix series Sense8 remains perhaps their most demanding project to date. The sci-fi extravaganza, which the directors of The Matrix created with J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5), was shot in 20 cities around the world and featured an equally international cast. To further complicate matters, the series had to recast one of its leads when actor Aml Ameen left after season 1.
The actor starred in Sense8 Season 1 as Capheus Onyango, a Kenyan who works as a matatu driver in Nairobi to earn money to pay for his mother’s HIV/AIDS drugs when he discovers he is one of eight members of a group o “group” of senses. — people who are emotionally and mentally linked. The actor initially reprized his role for season 2, only to leave a couple of episodes behind in filming. He was replaced by Toby Onwumere in April 2016.
Reporting on Ameen’s departure, sources claimed that the actor had clashed with Lana Wachowski during one of the table reads for Sense8 season 2. Their working relationship reportedly only got worse from there, resulting in Ameen’s departure after season 2 production moved to India.
Shortly after the news broke, Sense8 co-star Jamie Clayton, who played San Francisco blogger and hacktivist Nomi Marks, described the change as “exciting.” She also assured her Twitter followers that it would be a good thing for the series from an artistic perspective.
Seeing that Clayton and the Wachowskis are all transgender women, Sense8 fans were quick to speculate that Aml Ameen had been replaced after displaying transphobic behavior on the show’s set. However, Clayton shot down the idea when asked by a fan on Twitter, replying, “No. That’s an internet rumour.” Sense8 actors Tuppence Middleton and Brian J. Smith also tweeted their support for Onwumere joining the series and avoided details about the nature of Ameen and Lana Wachowski’s creative differences.
In the end, Sense8 was not only a difficult and expensive show to make from a technical perspective, it also challenged its actors to tackle everything from intense action to emotionally intimate drama and, most famously, very raw sex scenes. With that being the case, it’s hard to speculate with any certainty about Ameen and Lana Wachowski’s disagreements regarding Capheus and their respective visions for the character in season 2, but it was announced shortly after that the series would end with some stories left unfinished.