Mad Men fans, get your skinny ties and martini shakers ready: AMC's critically adored period drama will return on Sunday, April 7, with a special two-hour season premiere. "To be able to continue exploring the stories of these characters for a sixth season is an amazing opportunity," said series creator Matt Weiner in a statement. "We love mining this world and look forward to bringing the audience stories that we hope will continue to both surprise and entertain them." In the past, Weiner has been notoriously tight-lipped about Mad Men, which follows the dapper and somewhat enigmatic advertising executive Don Draper (Jon Hamm) throughout the 1960s — but a few details on the show's upcoming season have managed to slip out. Here's what we know about Mad Men's sixth season so far:
1. Season 6 will be Mad Men's penultimate season
In an interview with The Daily Beast, Weiner confirmed that Mad Men will end after its seventh season, which means there are just 26 episodes left in the series. But Weiner also stresses that season 6 will have its own distinct arc, even as he looks ahead to Mad Men's ultimate ending. "I never had the guarantee of even one more season for the first few seasons I did the show. So I would just use all the story I had," says Weiner. "And it's a much better way to do it."
2. At least some of the season premiere will be set in Hawaii
The vast majority of Mad Men's narrative is set in New York. The season 6 premiere, however, will reportedly take Don and his wife, Megan (Jessica Pare), to the sandy beaches of Hawaii. It remains unclear why the characters have embarked on a tropical vacation, but photos at The Huffington Post reveal that Don is still a smoker and that Megan enjoys fruity blue cocktails.
3. Peggy and Betty will be back
Some fans and critics had speculated that Mad Men would continue without January Jones, who played Don's ex-wife, Betty, in a reduced role last season, or Elisabeth Moss, who left Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce for a new firm near the end of season 5. But Weiner confirms that both actresses will be returning. "I can tell you their names are in the credits," says Weiner to TV Guide Magazine. "And none of the cast has been let go."
4. Pete Campbell will not commit suicide
Another fan-favorite theory from last year predicted that a perceived surplus of "death symbolism" surrounding Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) was a sign that the character would commit suicide — a prediction that Weiner says was misguided. "I know the character of Pete very well and I don't see Peter Campbell as someone who would ever commit suicide. He is very judgmental about mental illness," says Weiner at The Daily Beast.
5. The story will jump ahead at least a year — and maybe even more
Weiner has sometimes advanced Mad Men's story by skipping months (and sometimes even years) between seasons — a tactic he plans to reuse for season 6, which will leap from 1967 to sometime "straight in the middle of the tumultuous late 1960s," reports TV Guide Magazine. Time jumps "have been such a great story engine for the show," says Weiner. "I love writing that first episode as if the audience knows everything that has happened, and watching them piece it in their head. It's an elliptical experience."
6. But season 6 will also reflect the modern era
"I think the social environment and the general sense of anxiety and decay [in Season 6]" reflects how Americans are feeling right now, says Weiner to TV Guide Magazine. "I think it's about, whether we realize it or not, we have lost something recently, and it feels very different. There's a bit of a self-esteem problem for the country, and it's turned people inwards."
7. You should re-watch the end of season 5 before starting season 6
Mad Men's fifth season ended on a kind of cliff-hanger, as Don Draper pondered the question "Are you alone?" while sitting at a bar — a question that Weiner says will echo throughout the season 6 premiere. "I would love for people to just watch the last 10 minutes of season 5 right before season 6 starts," The Daily Beast. "I think you'll have a really incredible experience as we get there." Get an early start: