Euphoria has become the defining teen drama of a generation. It might be known for playing to the extreme; the drug abuse, sex, broken families and parties most teenagers could only dream of – but there’s a beating heart beneath its wilder tendencies and lavish production values.
It’s anchored by Zendaya’s career-making performance as Rue Bennett, a recovering drug addict who, like the show itself, flutters between delicate charm and the profoundly raw. But will Rue’s future get any brighter in the third season?
Has Euphoria season 3 been confirmed?
HBO has sealed the deal
Surprising no one, Euphoria was renewed for a third season in February 2022.
Francesca Orsi, EVP of HBO programming, said: “Sam [Levinson, creator], Zendaya, and the entire cast and crew of Euphoria have taken season two to extraordinary heights, challenging narrative convention and form, while maintaining its heart. We couldn’t be more honoured to work with this gifted, wildly talented team or more excited to continue our journey with them into season three.”
Will this be the final season?
The possibility hasn’t been ruled out
A drama series about teenagers has a naturally shorter shelf life due to its cast getting older. And considering the three-year gap between the first and second season, Euphoria might run into problems if it doesn’t quicken the pace.
Speaking to TVLine, HBO’s chief content officer Casey Bloys addressed whether season three could be the final outing. “I will let Sam and Zendaya talk about [that]. I’m very excited about what they’ve got planned [for season three]. So I will leave that to them.”
“I will say, generally speaking, we trust where they want to take these characters. So we’ll let the creative team lead the way.”
Asked if the show could continue without Zendaya, Bloys added: “It’s hard to imagine doing [the] show without her. But, again, that would be something [for] her and Sam to discuss.”
Do we know the release date for season three?
No – but it might be a long way off
There was a three-year gap between the first and second season from 2019 to 2022, with the coronavirus pandemic delaying production by roughly a year. As long as no new virus outbreak bring the world to its knees, it’s reasonable to estimate that the third season of Euphoria could be released in 2024.
Donni Davy, the lead make-up designer on Euphoria, said in an interview in March that filming could start later this year – although this is yet to be confirmed.
#Euphoria production update: I interviewed Donni Davy today and she mentioned that she *heard* they could potentially shoot season 3 later this year. (Not confirmed.) Each episode takes a month to film, so by the the time it goes through post, it’s safe to expect a 2024 release.
— Kirbie “BABY YODA STAN” Johnson (@kirbiejohnson) March 1, 2022
Speaking to Variety, actor Eric Dane, who plays Nate’s father Cal Jacobs, also mentioned that filming could take place in November. “I just saw something that said 2024, which kind of makes sense,” Dane said. “I mean, we’ll go back and shoot maybe in November. I don’t know. I haven’t heard. It’s always going to be changing.”
The biggest hurdle might be working around the cast’s other projects. Zendaya is in high demand, with roles in Dune: Part Two and the upcoming sports drama movie Challengers. Sydney Sweeney, who plays Cassie Howard, is reported to have been cast in the upcoming Spider-Man spin-off Madame Web, scheduled to be released in 2023.
Who is confirmed to return?
We have some official confirmations (and assumptions)
While others haven’t explicitly said as much, it’s reasonable to assume the core cast will be back. This includes Alexa Demie as Maddy Perez, Barbie Ferreira as Kat Hernandez, Nika King as Leslie Bennett, Storm Reid as Gia Bennett, Jacob Elordi as Nate Jacobs, Hunter Schafer as Jules Vaughn, Austin Abrams as Ethan Daley, Angus Cloud as Fezco, Maude Apatow as Lexi Howard and Colman Domingo as Ali Muhammed.
While it appeared that Ashtray, played by Javon Walton, was killed in season two after being shot by law enforcement officers in a dramatic shootout – the actor hasn’t ruled out an appearance in the third season.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly about the character’s fate, Walton said: “With Ashtray, we’re not 100 percent if he’s dead, because you saw absolutely no blood, right? And you didn’t see him fall.
“You did hear the bullet, but you didn’t see him get shot. So, there’s little things that could potentially bring him back for another season.”
Which direction will Rue’s journey take in season 3?
There’s hope for her sobriety
After suffering a relapse, Rue’s journey at the climax of season two ended on a somewhat hopeful note. She left behind her relationship with Jules to focus on herself, walking into the distance while her narration colours the gaps.
“Jules was my first love, I like to remember it that way,” Rue says in the closing scene. “I don’t know if that’s actually true though. I think I was high for too much of it. I know it wasn’t easy for her and I hope she forgives me.
“I stayed clean for the rest of the school year. I wish I could say that was a decision I made. In some ways, it was just easier. I don’t know if this feeling will last forever but I am trying.”
The past tense narration could suggest Rue’s battle with drug addiction will take another slide. However, because a relapse was her main arc in season two, Euphoria would probably want to take a different approach to avoid repetition.
Zendaya has spoken about her hopes for Rue moving forward. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, the actor said: “There’s a dark place that hits right in the middle of the season. And it was painful for everyone involved with making it. I know it was painful for me and I think it got to the point of, ‘We can’t leave her here. This can’t be the end of her story. There has to be some hope at the end of this. Something beautiful at the end of all this pain.’
“I think that’s what we need. I think that’s what the world needs. So, if you can hold onto that, if you can bear with her through those painful moments, if you can still root for her, then maybe there is some hope at the end.”
What has the rest of the cast said about season 3?
Cassie might spiral further
By the end of season two, Cassie reached her breaking point. Her affair with Nate behind best friend Maddy’s back was burned at both ends, resulting in a clash where the latter ominously remarks: “This is just the beginning.”
Speaking with Variety, Sweeney said she’d like to see Cassie delve further into her manic side – as teased in a scene with Nate in season two. “There was a bit of Cassie that I got to play with when she started saying that she’s crazier than Maddy in a scene with Nate,” Sweeney said. “And she kind of got a little more evil and dark and serious, and not so frantic. I would love to play with more of that streak within herself.”
There are plenty of other hanging threads too. Rue still owes drug dealer Laurie thousands of dollars after escaping her apartment (which was oddly left unaddressed towards the end of the season), Fezco has been arrested, while Nate has handed over his father Cal to the police for his past crimes.
Speaking about Cal and Nate’s developing storyline to Variety, actor Eric Dane hinted at a future where Cal isn’t behind bars. “I would think moving forward, there would be some healing between the two of them,” he said. “I don’t know where we’re going to find Cal. We could find him in the SHU Program at Pelican Bay next season. Hopefully not. You know, he [Nate] may not turn in that thumb drive, you know, and therefore the cops just grab me and then it’s all a big mistake. But we’ll see – whatever the brilliant mind of Sam Levinson comes up with.”
He added: “There’s gonna be redemption. I mean, that’s the trajectory he’s on. I can’t imagine Cal’s life from solitary confinement. It’s tough to work Cal into the storyline when he’s behind bars.”
The second season was criticised for its handling of certain characters, especially Jules and Kat, who were sidelined in the grand scheme. A third season might seek to address this complaint, reinstating both characters as the standouts they were in season one.