Has AFC Richmond really played its final game? Apple's hit soccer comedy "Ted Lasso" has concluded its third season with an episode that plays like a series finale. But despite the conclusive ending, it still hasn't been officially confirmed whether the show is over, and the cast and crew have left the door open to more stories. So did "Ted Lasso" just end, or is it just time for a new chapter?
The show was envisioned as a 'three-season arc'
For the entire run of "Ted Lasso," the comedy's producers, including star Jason Sudeikis, have noted it was pitched as a three-season story. "It's about the repercussions of good, bad and absent fathers," Sudeikis mentioned in a January 2021 interview with the Los Angeles Times. "The three-season arc is rooted in that."
In a June 2021 Entertainment Weekly interview, Sudeikis again said, "The story that's being told — that three-season arc — is one that I see, know and understood." Even back then, though, Sudeikis didn't completely close the door on additional installments. "I'm glad that [Apple is] willing to pay for those three seasons," Sudeikis told EW. "As far as what happens after that, who knows? I don't know."
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Producer and star Brendan Hunt also told Entertainment Weekly that "we've always meant it to be three seasons." But he also noted that "none of us were prepared to the degree to which people love this show," suggesting viewer enthusiasm might convince the producers to continue.
Brendan Hunt said season 3 is 'not necessarily the end'
In October 2021, producer Bill Lawrence told Deadline that "when we first pitched this particular story, we said this series was only going to be three seasons." But he floated the idea that the show could continue beyond that original road map. "Even if 'Ted Lasso' goes on, the story the writing staff has been telling had a beginning, middle and end for the first three seasons," he said. "And then it might veer off from that."
Similarly, Lawrence told The Hollywood Reporter that month, "[W]hen we started, we plotted out everybody's beginning, middle and end of a three-season arc. This story is going to be over [in season 3], regardless, even if the show finds another story to tell and goes on." Lawrence also said he'd "love the show to keep going."
More recently, producer and star Brendan Hunt told Deadline in March 2023 that the third season is "not necessarily the end of the series" but merely the "end of this story because we always saw it as a three-part thing." And in May, he told Consequence: "Another arc is possible after this, for sure." But Hunt told Digital Spy that "at the very least after season three, we're going to take a break." After that, he added, "everything's on the table."
Brett Goldstein said season 3 was written like it's the end
In June 2022, when asked by the Sunday Times whether season 3 would be the end, writer and star Brett Goldstein revealed, "We are writing it like that. It was planned as three." The quote was widely taken as confirmation that season 3 would be the show's last. But Goldstein offered a less definitive answer at the 2022 Emmys, saying, "It's entirely up to Jason. We've been writing this as if it's the end, but it might not be."
Also in 2022, Brendan Hunt confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that "we are writing an ending for this three-chunk portion that we've always seen," though he noted that continuing after that wouldn't be impossible. "It's just a matter of whether or not we pick this up in some other way, and when," he said.
Hannah Waddingham said Jason Sudeikis told her season 3 is the end 'for now'
In July 2022, star Hannah Waddingham told E! News that season 3 is "seemingly" the final season. "I asked [Sudeikis] recently [if season 3 is the end], and he said, 'Yeah, I think so, for now.'" That same month, Waddingham told Deadline she "thought Jason would be pushed and pushed [to keep going]" beyond season 3, implying he hasn't changed his mind. But Waddingham later told Kelly Clarkson in May 2023, just ahead of the season 3 finale, that she still doesn't know if the show is over, only noting that "Jason says it's the end of that three-season arc."
Sudeikis was evasive when asked if the show is ending
Sudeikis gave an evasive answer about whether "Ted Lasso" would continue backstage at the Emmys in September 2022. When a reporter asked about "the future of the show beyond season 3," the star responded, "I don't know. It's up to more factors than myself." The reporter then directly asked if there would be a fourth season, and Sudeikis responded he "couldn't say yes or no."
A Warner Bros. executive said the show 'can keep on going'
"Ted Lasso" is produced by Warner Bros., and in a February 2023 interview with Deadline, Warner Bros. Television Group CEO Channing Dungey suggested Sudeikis has become more open to continuing the show beyond the original arc. "What had initially been the vision that Jason and Bill [Lawrence] had, when they went into season 1, was very much a three-act structure," she said. "Then I think it becomes one of those things that as you get going with it, and if you fall in love with that world and those characters, it's hard to say goodbye." She added that "if we're fortunate enough to do more, we can keep on going."
The cast's deals included options for future seasons
Apple left itself room for further installments when signing contracts with the stars. In 2021, The Hollywood Reporter said that "Lawrence, Warners and Apple all would love for 'Ted Lasso' to continue well beyond a third season and that new deals with actors also include options for subsequent seasons."
Apple didn't promote season 3 as the final season
One reason to think season 3 might not be the end is that Apple never promoted it that way, even though it would have made sense for publicity purposes. When Apple TV+ announced the show's return date, the streamer only referred to this latest chapter as the third season, never the final season. Even days before the season premiere, Sudeikis told Entertainment Weekly he "can't give you a definitive answer" about whether the show will continue, though he told Deadline it's the "end of this story that we wanted to tell."
The final episode of season 3 was also listed on Apple TV+ as the "season finale," not the "series finale." For comparison, the final episode of Apple's "Servant" was listed as the "series finale" in March.
Social media posts teased 'our final match' and 'the last episode'
The strongest evidence that the show has ended arrived ahead of the finale via a tweet from the official "Ted Lasso" account, which said, "Tonight we play our final match." Hannah Waddingham also shared a photo of the cast that referenced "our final day as Richmond Greyhounds," while production designer Paul Cripps posted set photos with the caption: "Well it's the last episode of #tedlasso tonight." That said, star Phil Dunster's goodbye post was less definitive. "Hey Siri. Play 'Time to say Goodbye' (but also maybe not yet we simple don't know) by Andrea Botticelli," he wrote on Instagram.
Sudeikis suggested there could be spinoffs
The season 3 finale sees Ted Lasso leave the U.K. and go home to his son, while Roy Kent becomes manager of AFC Richmond. So unless Ted simply changes his mind and returns, a potential fourth season likely wouldn't feature the title character. But when Ted urged Trent Crimm to rename his book because "it's not about me," could this suggest there could be a fourth, Sudeikis-free season under a different title?
Another option would be for the series to get a spinoff, perhaps one centered on the new AFC Richmond women's team that Keeley proposes in the finale. In a March 2023 interview with Deadline, Sudeikis left the door open to a possible spinoff series, noting, "I think that we've set the table for all sorts of folks … to get to watch the further telling of these stories." Still, Warner Bros. Television Group CEO Channing Dungey didn't sound particularly enthusiastic about spinoffs without Sudeikis when she spoke with Deadline, noting, "When you think of 'Ted Lasso,' you obviously think of that unforgettable character."
So we at least know that the series has reached an ending, concluding the original story arc that was envisioned from the start. But because the show has been such a massive phenomenon, it remains to be seen whether it's the ending. For now, fans really don't know what to believe.
Updated May 31, 2023: This article has been updated throughout.
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