Warning: This article contains spoilers for season 2 of The White Lotus.
The second season of HBO’s The White Lotus ended on as shocking a note as any whodunnit could. And yet, we still didn’t see it coming. Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) takes a tragic slip off the side of a yacht and falls to her death. Her corpse is discovered in the Ionian Sea the next day by Daphne (Meghann Fahy), along with the bodies of the captors she murdered in order to escape. Hey, at least Tanya went out guns blazing. Although, she really should’ve taken her heels off first.
Just like the first season, White Lotus creator and showrunner Mike White had audiences engrossed in epic landscapes (Hawaii then Sicily), and also entangled in the complex web of characters he created. Who knew that by the end of this installation, we’d all be rooting for a pair of scheming escorts? As it turns out, troubled and ultra-rich vacationers are his specialty, and audiences want nothing more than to see these elites get played. And boy did they.
Now that fans are done theorizing about the finale, there’s only one question that remains: where in the world will White take us next? Speculation around season three of White Lotus has already started. Fans are dissecting every morsel of information that the writer and director has given thus far. When will it come out? Who will be in the cast? What will it be about? Here, we break down everything you need to know about the upcoming season.
Yes, There Will Be a White Lotus Season 3—and It Will Be ‘Supersized’
Yes! HBO officially renewed The White Lotus for a third season back in November. You can expect a change of scenery and an ensemble of new characters. However, White teased that he’ll be taking the installment to a new level in season three—which is great for us viewers.
“It’s going to be a supersized White Lotus,” White revealed to Entertainment Weekly. “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.”
As of now, it’s unclear whether White means that the series will have additional episodes, longer run times, or both. Either way, the network has assured viewers that they have full faith in whatever he’s able to come up with.
“Reflecting on The White Lotus‘ humble, run-and-gun origin as a contained pandemic production, it’s impossible not to be awestruck by how Mike orchestrated one of the buzziest and most critically acclaimed shows,” Francesca Orsi, executive vice president of HBO Programming and head of HBO drama series and films, said in a press statement. “And yet, he’s only continued to reach new heights in season 2, which is the ultimate testament to Mike’s raw, unparalleled vision. His courage to explore the uncharted waters of the human psyche, paired with his signature irreverent humor and buoyant directing style, have us all dreaming of more vacation days at the resort we’ve come to adore. We couldn’t be more thrilled to get the chance to collaborate on a third season together.”
The White Lotus Season 3 Location Is Thailand
“Next year, the Maldives!” Daphne may have been joking when she suggested visiting the South Asian archipelago for another contentious couple’s retreat, but she might not have been far off. White told Robb Report’s sister site Deadline that Asia isn’t off the table for season three after season one took place in Hawaii and season two was based in Italy. “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.”
Executive producer David Bernad confirmed our suspicions during a keynote event at the Berlinale Series Market in Germany saying, “We’ve tried to work in Asia a lot and hopefully Season 3 will be our chance to make something happen there.”
Of course, Asia is a very big place, leaving plenty of room for speculation. However, Variety reported that filming will begin in February 2024 and will take place in Thailand around Koh Samui, Phuket, and Bangkok. HBO has also teamed up with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to support the filming and promotion of the next installment.
While Tokyo was the rumored locale for a while, it was confirmed by Deadline that the reason White settled on Thailand for season three was ultimately due to tax incentives. At the Tokyo Film Festival, Japanese producer Georgia Pope spoke about a location scouting trip that she went on with a “high profile showrunner” and his producers and studio executives. “It was a great scout,” Pope recalled in her MPA keynote address. “We saw some absolutely stunning locations all over Honshu. The showrunner loved it all, and I was feeling very confident that I had it all in the bag.”
Things ultimately took a turn when a Thai production company informed the White Lotus crew of a 30 percent rebate. “For their project, that meant $4.4 million alone…At the time in Japan, we had no incentive in place at all…All I could hear was the sound of a $35 million project flying out the window,” Pope said.
While it’s not confirmed which hotel property in Thailand will host the series, it’s safe to assume that another real-life Four Seasons resort will act as the White Lotus. The hotel chain’s Maui and Taormina locations were used during filming for the previous installments. And in Thailand, there are outposts in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, and the Golden Triangle.
The White Lotus Season 3 Release Date: It Won’t Air Until 2025
White Lotus season three was reportedly in the early stages of production before the writers’ strike brought everything in Hollywood to a halt. White revealed to EW that he planned to start shooting the new season “at the beginning of the year” but admitted that the simultaneous SAG-AFTRA strike also hindered the development of the show’s next chapter.
“I’m seriously finishing scripts,” he said. “Still waiting to be able to cast. 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.”
Now that the longest actors strike in Hollywood history has ended, it’s been announced that the next installment will air in 2025, which is further out than fans and the network were hoping. The news was recently confirmed by HBO chairman and CEO Casey Bloys during a press event, Variety reported. “White Lotus Season 3 probably would have been in play for 2024, it’s 2025,” said Bloy.
While the exact premiere date has yet to be revealed, we’ll make our best guess in the meantime. The first season of White Lotus made its debut back in July 2021 with six episodes and the second installment aired a little over a year later in October 2022 with seven episodes. So, it’s likely we’re looking at a potential summer or fall 2025 release.
The White Lotus Season 3 Cast: Natasha Rothwell Returns While Parker Posey, Carrie Coon and More Add Star Power
The third installment will welcome back White Lotus vet Natasha Rothwell. Viewers will remember her as season one spa manager, Belinda Lindsey, who was scammed by Tanya. But hey, maybe this time she’ll be making an appearance as a guest of the resort instead of an employee. Crazier things have happened. Also checking in for season three will be newcomers Leslie Bibb, Michelle Monaghan, Parker Posey, Jason Isaacs, Dom Hetrakul, and Tayme Thapthimthong, Variety confirmed. The Leftovers‘ Carrie Coon will also reportedly join the cast along with Miloš Biković, Christian Friedel, Morgana O’Reilly, Lek Patravadi, and Shalini Peiris.
Recently, HBO announced even more additions to the star-studded ensemble including Walton Goggins (The Righteous Gemstones), Patrick Schwarzenegger (Gen V), and Sex Education actress Aimee Lou Wood. Sarah Catherine Hook and Sam Nivola are also on board for The White Lotus season three.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Rothwell opened up about her working relationship with White and what initially went into creating her character. “Mike is so collaborative. When we did the first season, we sat down and talked a lot about Belinda and he was so receptive to feedback. So we plan to approach it the same way,” she said. “But all credit to him, what I love working with him is that he understands that Belinda’s POV is something that he doesn’t possess—so he’s really interested in my feedback, and really wants to make it authentic.”
The writer-actor recently spoke out for the first time about her role reprisal at the Los Angeles premiere of Wonka and teased fans about the upcoming season. “I’ve read all the scripts and I can’t say anything but I will say it’s going to blow people’s minds,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “I gasped out loud no less than five times and that was just reading them, so people are in for a treat.”
As for what other White Lotus guests could appear in season three, White reportedly told season one star Connie Britton that her character, Nicole, could return to the show. “He wanted me to be in the second season, and there was an idea that I loved for the character,” Britton told Deadline. “Our intention is to do it in the third season. A piece of casting didn’t work in the second season and we’re hoping to [do] that in the third season. I would love to see a spinoff on every character in that show.” Don’t get too excited, though. A spokesperson for Britton later revealed to TVLine that “she is not participating in the upcoming season.”
If you recall, Coolidge and Greis’s characters were the only links between seasons one and two, so we wouldn’t be all that surprised if they reappeared in the third iteration as well. In Coolidge’s Emmy acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress, she thanked White for reviving her career and told the audience that Tanya “is definitely dead” and that she’s “going along with it.”
However, if White does opt to continue the storyline, Coolidge has some choice words for the fate of her on-screen husband.“ My hope for Jon is that he’s not finished with Greg,” Coolidge told The Bear star Jeremy Allan White during Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series. “I hope there’s some comeuppance for evil Greg. I think he should, I don’t know, end up in a meat-grinding machine.”
The White Lotus Season 3 Story: What Will Happen?
As for what’s in store for season three, we’re short on specifics, but, thankfully, White did offer up some details on the potential theme in an exclusive clip for HBO. “The first season kind of 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 and Eastern religion and spirituality. And it feels like it could be a rich tapestry to do another round at White Lotus.”
White also hinted that parts of season two could carry over into the third. Namely, the murder-for-hire plot involving Greg (Jon Gries), Tanya’s husband, and Portia (Haley Lu Richardson), her assistant, who was only starting to put the pieces together. “I think as far as like, what happens to Greg and the conspiracy of Tanya’s death, it’s possible that I think Portia is scared enough to just leave it alone, but the fact that all of those guys die on the boat, it feels like there’s gotta be somebody who’s gonna track it back down to Greg. But maybe you’ll have to wait to find out what happens.”
You can hear all of White’s thoughts on The White Lotus season two finale below.