If The White Lotus season 2 finale left you hanging, don’t fret: HBO has already booked another excursion at the luxury hotel (aka: a season 3 renewal). And while creator Mike White hasn’t said much about what he envisions for a third season, it appears to once again involve a whole different continent.
Beyond just the pitch of “more White Lotus,” White has said he thinks the season will center around a core theme in the same way the first two seasons did.
“The first season kind of highlighted money, and then the second season is sex,” White said in HBO’s inside the episode featurette for the finale. “I think the third season would be maybe a satirical and funny look at death and Eastern religion and spirituality. It feels like it could be a rich tapestry to do another round at White Lotus.”
[Ed. note: The rest of this post discusses the season 2 finale of The White Lotus.]
It’s not a lot to go on, but death certainly seems like an appropriate theme after the season 2 finale, which saw fan favorite Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) die — sort of at the hands of the assassins her husband hired, and also at her own attempts to drop into the skiff during her escape.
Such annihilation is the albatross of The White Lotus, the ostensible framing for each season so far being a mysterious death that usually takes on a deeper resonance once you’ve seen the season. For White, Tanya dying felt appropriate for the character — “a larger than life female archetype” who needed the perfect “operatic conclusion” because she saw death as the final “immersive experience” she had yet to try.
But, with her being the only character to carry between seasons 1 and 2, the loss of Tanya does at least leave the door open to bring back more of The White Lotus’ robust cast.
So far several cast members have said they’d be open to the idea. Jake Lacy, who played season 1’s resident douchebag Shane, told Deadline that “Mike texted [Alexandria Daddario, who played Shane’s wife Rachel] and I with this idea for an episode where the two of us are talking for a half hour; it’s just the banality of rich people on a boat.” And then of course there’s the season 2 finale, which sees Daphne (Meghann Fahy) toast to the idea of a future vacation “in the Maldives.”
None of this is much to go on for season 3, which doesn’t even have a release date yet. But theoretically that means the sky’s the limit — up to and including a new cast list and banger White Lotus theme song remix.
The first two seasons of The White Lotus are now streaming on HBO Max.