Eager to check back in at The White Lotus? A third installment of HBO's hit anthology series is on the way, so where might creator Mike White take us for round three? And could Jennifer Coolidge still somehow be involved? Here's everything we know so far:
Has 'The White Lotus' been confirmed for season 3?
Yes, HBO renewed The White Lotus for a third installment in November 2022. The network confirmed that season 3 will be "following a new group of guests at another White Lotus property," so the show will remain an anthology that shifts to a new storyline in the same world.
Where will season 3 be set?
While nothing has been confirmed, creator Mike White has hinted that the third season may take place in Asia.
"We just turned in our last episode to the network yesterday, so it's hard to think about the next race," White told Deadline in October 2022. "But if we did, 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 went on to specifically mention Japan as a possible setting. Then, in December 2022, Los Angeles magazine cited a source close to White who suggested he has settled on this as his desired location. "Mike really wants to set it in Japan," the source said. "He's trying to figure this out. It might not work, but definitely Asia." If so, the outlet speculated the Kyoto Four Seasons could be an ideal filming location.
In February 2023, Jackass star Johnny Knoxville, a friend of White, also suggested the setting for the season will be Tokyo. "Mike White is a very close friend of mine," he told Vulture. "He and I had been in Tokyo together. I think that's where the next ... oh, I'm not giving anything away."
In January 2023, though, writer Evan Ross Katz shared a video that White sent from Thailand, sparking speculation that this could be the setting. "Not Mike all but confirming WHITE LOTUS: THAILAND in this video lol," Katz tweeted — or White could have simply been vacationing in Thailand.
Some fans also speculated season 2 might have teased the setting for season 3 in a scene where Daphne says during a toast, "Next year, the Maldives!"
What will season 3 be about?
Regardless of the setting, White has hinted at a theme for the third season.
"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," White said in an HBO interview that aired after the season 2 finale.
White also mentioned an idea that didn't make it into season 2 during an Entertainment Weekly interview, suggesting he "might still do it down the road maybe, if they give us a third season." Originally, he explained, the second season involved "more of like a Bilderberg conference, more about getting into some of the bigger power dynamics there." So could a similar conference idea be incorporated into the third season?
Could Jennifer Coolidge return for season 3?
Season 2 made it seem like the one constant in The White Lotus would be Jennifer Coolidge's character, Tanya. But White pulled the rug out from under fans in the finale with her shocking, darkly hilarious death.
It was especially surprising because White previously hinted he might bring Coolidge back for season 3.
"Jennifer is my friend and everybody loved her in the first season, and I was like, 'I can't go to Italy without Jennifer,'" White told Deadline in October 2022. "And maybe that's still the case. Like, maybe you can't go to Japan without Jennifer, either."
It's possible White just said that to keep her death a surprise. But one way Coolidge's return could theoretically be possible would be if season 3 takes place before season 2. After all, the show has implied that Tanya has been to more White Lotus locations than we've seen, so could season 3 depict one of those trips?
For her part, though, Coolidge doesn't seem to think she'll be brought back. "I don't know what it would take to get me into [season] 3," she told E! News. "I don't think [White would] go for it."
White also sounded wistful about the likelihood of not working with Coolidge again in a post-season interview with The New York Times. "This is the end for me and Jennifer," he said, adding, "It's going to be hard to do it without her. There's definitely going to be something missing."
Who else could be in season 3?
White has also suggested season 3 may take place after season 2. This would rule out Coolidge's return but open the door to other characters coming back.
In his interview that aired on HBO at the end of season 2, White speculated that "the fact that all of those guys die on the boat [in the season 2 finale], it feels like there's gotta be somebody who's going to track [Tanya's death] back down to Greg." But he stopped himself before saying more, implying this could be depicted in the show. "Maybe you'll have to wait to find out what happens," he hinted.
So if White brings back at least one character from a prior season again, could that returning character be Tanya's husband, Greg, and could season 3 see him get his comeuppance for her death?
Alternatively, season 3 could feature the return of a character from season 1: Connie Britton's Nicole Mossbacher. In an interview with Deadline in July 2022, Britton revealed White "wanted me to be in the second season, and there was an idea that I loved for the character. Our intention is to do it in the third season." By January 2023, she said "my lips are sealed" about a possible return, perhaps suggesting it's now actually in the works.
White also hinted that Michael Imperioli's Dominic Di Grasso could return from season 2, telling Esquire, "Who knows, maybe there'll be another White Lotus season where Dominic comes with his wife and they patch it all up!"
"I don't want to think about it too much," Imperioli said of his possible return. "Because the idea of that makes me so happy. I don't want to be disappointed … I would want nothing more than that. I just loved working with Mike so much."
When might season 3 come out?
A release date for season 3 hasn't been set. But the second season debuted about 14 months after the finale of season 1. So if White follows roughly that timeline again, season 3 should air on HBO in early 2024.