The third season of Apple's hit soccer comedy Ted Lasso will debut on March 15 — but will it be the series' last? Here everything we know so far:
The show was originally envisioned as a 'three-season arc'
The reason fans have just assumed Ted Lasso will end this year is that for the show's entire run, its 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 seem to 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."
Producer and star Brendan Hunt also told Entertainment Weekly that "we've always meant it to be three seasons" and "it would be pretty cool if, in the face of how much everyone likes this show, that we stick to our guns and really just do 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.
In July 2021, Sudeikis told the Today show that ending after three seasons was still the plan "as of now." But in October of that same year, Sudeikis told Entertainment Tonight he has to "tell folks you can't look at season 4 when we're in the middle of season 3," seemingly implying it's not impossible that there could be a fourth season.
Producer Bill Lawrence suggested the show could find 'another story to tell'
In October 2021, after the second season finale aired, 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 then floated the idea that the show could continue beyond that original road map.
"I would probably stay clean and say that 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, he 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," though it's "going to only keep going as long as [Sudeikis] feels like it's a cool thing for him, not only to do creatively and professionally, but personally."
Lawrence suggested Sudeikis wouldn't want to keep filming away from home
On that note, one important factor in all this is that Ted Lasso is largely shot in London, away from home for Sudeikis, who has kids with his ex-partner, Olivia Wilde. In 2020, Lawrence suggested the long-distance arrangement makes it less likely the show could continue after season 3. "The only way I think a fourth season of Ted Lasso exists" would be if the character "went and coached a soccer team that played about a block from Jason's house in real life," Lawrence joked on the Fake Doctors, Real Friends podcast. "You know what I mean? He's got young kids."
Producer 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 a few months later, Goldstein offered a less definitive answer at the 2022 Emmys, this time saying, "It's entirely up to Jason. We've been writing this as if it's the end, but it might not be. But I really don't know."
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 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 also told Deadline she "thought Jason would be pushed and pushed [to keep going]" beyond season 3, implying he hasn't, in fact, changed his mind.
Sudeikis was evasive in 2022 when asked if the show is ending
Despite this, Sudeikis gave an evasive answer about whether Ted Lasso would continue while 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 suggested Sudeikis is now open to continuing
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 now become more open to continuing the show beyond the original three-season plan.
"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 continued that the third season "ends beautifully," so "if that is all we do in the Ted Lasso universe, I think the fans will be really happy and excited." But, she added, "there's also a way to crack open a door," and "if we're fortunate enough to do more, we can keep on going."
The cast's deals include options for future seasons
Apple also 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 isn't promoting season 3 as the final season
But the best reason to think season 3 might not be the end is that Apple has never promoted it that way, even though it would make sense for publicity purposes. When Apple announced the show's return date in February 2023, for example, the streamer only referred to this latest chapter as the third season, never the final season.
"Until the first ad arrives calling this 'the third and final season,' I assume that backroom negotiations are ongoing," The Hollywood Reporter critic Daniel Fienberg wrote in his review of season 3.
Just days before the third season's premiere, Sudeikis also told Entertainment Weekly he "can't give you a definitive answer" about whether the show will continue, though he added, "It's definitively the last season of this story, that I can say."
So we at least know that the series will reach an ending this year, concluding the original story arc that was envisioned from the start. But because the show has been such a massive phenomenon, it may or may not be the ending. For now, fans really don't know what to believe.
The third season of Ted Lasso premieres on March 15.