Creator Mike White says the new season is going to be ' longer, bigger, crazier.'
The White Lotus, creator Mike White's Emmy-winning social satire, is officially returning with season 3 and new episodes might be coming sooner than expected. Like the first two, the new installment will take place at another one of the luxury hotel's exotic locations, where a new group of guests and employees will find their lives clashing in unexpected ways.
Although HBO has not officially revealed any new or returning cast members, including Jennifer Coolidge, or where the new episodes will take place, White has shared some of his ideas while members of the sprawling ensemble have weighed in with ET about whether they would return.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, White said he plans to begin production on The White Lotus "at the beginning of the year," given that the SAG-AFTRA strike comes to an end.
As anticipation builds for another installment, now expected to be set in Asia, here's everything ET knows about the cast and the location of The White Lotus season 3.
"Still waiting to be able to cast," White tells EW. "If the SAG strike isn't resolved soon, then yeah, we'd have to push again because the show has a new cast every season, so there's lots of parts to cast ... I'm more than eager to get going.
The biggest question going into the new season was whether Coolidge would return as Tanya McQuiod, the grief-stricken guest who found solace in Greg Hunt (Jon Gries) in season 1 before the two's romance started to fall apart in season 2. The 62-year-old actress won her first Primetime Emmy for season 1 and will likely be nominated again for reprisal.
In an interview with Deadline, White said that he couldn't imagine doing another installment without her. "Jennifer is my friend and everybody loved her in the first season, and I was like, 'I can’t go to Italy without Jennifer.' And maybe that’s still the case. Like, maybe you can’t go to Japan without Jennifer, either."
And Coolidge seems to be open for more. "Yes, yes. Of course," she told ET when asked about returning, before adding, "I mean, I don't know what Mike has in mind. But yes, I would love [to come back]."
However, based on the season 2 finale, Coolidge's involvement with the series has come to an end.
Yet, there are still plenty of other characters who could all return, with White previously revealing to New York magazine that he's already thought about "bringing back season-one characters." That said, he later told Deadline, "There are so many fun actors we’ve worked with so far, so it’s just kind of like who’s available."
Of the season 1 ensemble, several have told ET that they are willing to come back for another stay at the White Lotus.
"I would do anything with Mike White. Like, White Lotus season 3 [or] something totally different. You know, help him move boxes into a new house. Like, whatever he wants. I absolutely adore him and think he’s a genius. So, if he’s got something going and I get a call, I will be there," Jake Lacy said, confirming that he's "100 percent" in if White wants him to reprise his role as demanding guest Shane Patton.
Alexandra Daddario, who played Shane's wife Rachel, is also done to come back. "If he had a great idea, then of course," she said. "I would do anything... Just being a small part of the series is amazing."
"I would absolutely jump at the chance to play [spa manager Belinda] again. I think there’s so many stories to tell," Natasha Rothwell previously said, later adding, "I don’t know what’s going to happen but I know I will follow Mike White to the ends of the earth."
And based on new reports, Rothwell is set to be the first of the season 1 characters to be brought back for the newest installment. If she does play Belinda again, it could be a way to tie up loose ends involving Tanya's storyline, which may need some closure following the events of season 2.
As for other season 1 stars, Connie Britton, who played mother and businesswoman Nicole Mossbacher, said, "With any luck, maybe I’ll be in another season."
After the finale, Britton's onscreen daughter, Sydney Sweeney, said there had been conversations with the show about the possibility of returning, with the Euphoria star revealing that she's open to whatever direction the creator decides to take things in the future. "I’m just so excited for Mike," she said. "Mike’s writing is just so much fun and so incredible."
As for the season 2 cast, there are just as many who want to come back -- especially now that audiences know who made it out of Sicily alive.
When asked if she could be back as the uptight Harper Spiller, Aubrey Plaza said, "I hope so. It depends on if I'm, like, a fan favorite. I think, you know, it just depends on who people want [to see again]." F. Murray Abraham, who plays aging patriarch Bert Di Grasso, said he wants to return for season 3 as well as seasons 4 through 6 -- if there are that many. "But I'm really happy to have been in this one," he shared.
One guest fans know is alive and well is Daphne Babcock (Meghann Fahy), who found herself vacationing with Harper and their two husbands at the Sicilian property before discovering a mysterious body in the water. "Oh my God, of course," Fahy said of returning. "I mean, I would pass out water on the third season. It's such an amazing set to be on. Like, just to witness everybody working. The cast is so amazing and watching Mike work is so cool. I mean, I would totally be there, of course."
Sadly, one other person who cannot return is Murray Bartlett as season 1's hotel manager Armand. That is, unless "we, like, go back in time or something," he offered. And that seems like an unlikely turn for the series.
While fans eagerly await official details about the cast, HBO CEO Casey Bloys recently revealed at the French drama festival, Series Mania, that White has "just pitched us the idea and it’s great. It’s a really fun idea and he’s shown it’s possible." According to Variety, he also said that White is once again putting together an all-star ensemble and "casting people you know." And like he's done in the past, he's creating roles that "allows you to rediscover them or see them in a new light."
While there's no shortage of stars who want to return to the series, the biggest mystery is where White will take the story following places, like Hawaii and Sicily. And according to him, Asia is near the top of the list.
"I think it’d be fun to maybe go to a whole different continent. You know, we did Europe, and maybe Asia, something crazy like that, that would be fun," White told Deadline, joking that "you can’t go to Japan without Jennifer, either." The country is a location he's previously floated in an interview with New York magazine, so it seems likely that's where season 3 is headed.
In February 2023, executive producer David Bernad added even more fuel to the fire when he seemingly hinted that Asia was almost certainly the next location."We’ve tried to work in Asia a lot and hopefully season 3 will be our chance to make something happen there,” Bernad said.
But as of March, multiple outlets with sources close to the HBO production have reported that Thailand will be the official destination of season 3, seemingly beating out multiple hints that it might end up being set in Tokyo, Japan.
Thailand, however, lines up perfectly with White's plans for the newest installment. "The first season we highlighted money and then the second season is sex and I think the third season, it would be maybe a kind of satirical and funny look at death in Eastern religion and spirituality," he said in a making-of-season 2 video. "It feels like it could be a rich tapestry to do another round at White Lotus."
Not only that but the Four Seasons, which has served as the filming location in the first two seasons, has multiple luxury hotels in the country. (In season 1, the Four Seasons Maui served as the White Lotus property while Four Seasons San Domenico Palace was stand-in for the property in season 2.)
While White is keeping mum about the storyline for now, he did tell EW, "It's going to be a supersized White Lotus. It's going to be longer, bigger, crazier. I don't know what people will think, but I am super excited, so at least for my own barometer, that's a good thing ... I'm super excited about the content of the season."
The White Lotus seasons 1 and 2 are now streaming on HBO Max.
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