'Ted Lasso' Star Phil Dunster on the Series Finale and Jamie Tartt's Emotional Evolution (Exclusive)

phil dunster ted lasso
Apple TV+

The Emmy-winning Apple TV+ comedy wrapped up its three-season run on Wednesday.

Ted Lasso ended its acclaimed three-season run on Wednesday with Jason Sudeikis' titular coach returning home to Kansas, though it's safe to say that none of the show's beloved characters ended up in the same place they were when the series began.

None more so, perhaps, than Jamie Tartt, played by Phil Dunster, whose emotional evolution over the course of the Emmy-winning comedy has made him a fan favorite. The star striker of AFC Richmond, Jamie was a prototypical diva in season 1, though Ted's kind and gentle coaching style began to break him down. After a failed stint at Manchester City, Jamie returned to Richmond in season 2 as a changed man, and season 3 saw him become the ultimate team player, forgoing his own glory to lead his fellow Greyhounds to victory time and again.

"When we started, all I really knew about him was that he was like, a bit of a diva -- conceited, arrogant narcissist," Dunster said of evolving the character over Ted Lasso's three seasons. "What a cool thing, to have gotten to try loads of different haircuts and different bad clothing choices along the way."

While the finale saw Jamie reconnecting with his abusive father -- now in rehab -- it's the relationships in and around the Richmond team that really helped shape his massive character change. Leadership from Ted, tough love from ex-girlfriend Keeley Jones (Juno Temple), and disapproving grunts from rival-turned-reluctant friend Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) all affected the former playboy in important ways, Dunster explained.

"The emotional side of him is probably Keeley, the spiritual side of him is probably Ted and the, like, physical and bravado side of him is probable Roy," he noted. "But I think really, fundamentally for Jamie, I think that his biggest teacher has probably been Keeley over the three seasons, because she's the one who taught him to be taught."

"I think that that's a really important part in any relationship is knowing when to be the teacher and when to be taught," the actor continued. "And I think that just through giving him love, she showed him how to do that and also how to apologize and take responsibility."

Apple TV+

There's been plenty of speculation over Ted Lasso's final season. The cast and creative team have said time and again that the show was always planned as a three-season run, and despite the awards season success, critical acclaim and fan demand, the final episode did feel like an ending for Sudeikis' character. However, there has also been talk about potential spinoffs and possible continuation series, which could bring back some, if not all, of the show's beloved characters.

Appropriately, Dunster recalled the atmosphere on the set of season 3's final days as feeling like the last days of school.

"It was like, people stepping on crying mines, they'd all of a sudden just burst into tears and you'd be simultaneously, like, 'What happened?' but then also, like, 'I totally get this. I get it, man,'" he recalled.

"This isn't necessarily the end," he continued, offering a hint of hope for future stories in the Ted Lasso universe. "We don't know... It felt like the end of school, where you're like, I'm so grateful that we've all been a part of this thing. I'm also so excited for what happens next."

"And yeah, we were all pretty hoarse from singing 'We're Richmond 'til we die,'" the actor added with a laugh.

So, what would be ahead for Jamie Tartt in a potential continuation series or spinoff? 

"I think Jamie probably, like, goes into nightclub ownership, like maybe quite seedy nightclubs that," he speculated. "Or maybe he runs, like, a secondhand car dealership or something -- just something totally out of left field."

"It might be quite funny [to see] 20 years on where maybe he goes into an ownership role at the club or something, where he's just totally out of his depth," Dunster added.

Apple TV+

One thing the actor is certain of is that Jamie would still be a work in progress when it comes to his character growth and emotional literacy.

"I think it wouldn't be fun for us as an audience if, in this hypothetical world, Jamie was all of a sudden, like, super emotionally adept," he noted. "I think hopefully the thing that's enjoyable about his arc is that he still does make the wrong decisions along the way. And I think that's relatable for us as an audience."

Growing up as a fan of English football, particularly his longtime favorite club, AFC Wimbledon, Dunster joked that it's been "very bad for my ego" to get to spend three years playing one of the biggest football stars in the world and filming in some of the most venerated stadiums in Europe.

Recalling first stepping foot in Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea F.C., Dunster said he was immediately awash in emotions about the historic venue and its meaning to football fans around the world.

"The feeling suddenly was like, oh, this is a special thing, you know, this is normally reserved for like the players," he remembered. "I've seen so many brilliant players play there on TV and such brilliant games there. Turning up there and pretending to play there was a real watershed moment."

All in all, Dunster will hopefully, finally, get some much-deserved Emmy recognition for his work in Ted Lasso's third and final season. And whether or not Jamie Tartt ever returns to our screens, he's certainly made an impact.

"What a joy," the actor said of his time on the show. "And that people enjoy it? That's a bonus."

Ted Lasso is streaming now on Apple TV+.