As BAZAAR.com reported in February, during an appearance at the Television Critics Association press tour, creator David E. Kelley (of Ally McBeal fame) hinted that a third season wasn't looking likely. Here's everything we know about the future of Big Little Lies so far.
A second season was never planned, so a third isn't completely out of the question.
"No such plan now," Kelley said when asked about a third season at the Television Critics Association press tour. "I think that it's one and two, and we like where our closure is at the end of Season 2, so that will probably be it."
However, also at TCA, producer-stars Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman were quick to point out that we've heard this one before. "That's what you said last time," Kidman told Kelley, while Witherspoon added, "That is. You sat here and said that last time, David."
Kelley previously suggested he was open to the possibility of a third season. "I guess you have to say a little open-minded, because we were convinced the first one was a one-off," he told The Hollywood Reporter back in 2017. "But we're equally convinced that season two will be it, too. … Maybe not equally, but in my mind it's only one more year."
Getting the star-studded cast back together has always been the biggest issue.
As reported by BAZAAR.com at the Television Critics Association press tour, the cast and crew pointed out that the existence of Season 2 is kind of a miracle in itself—reuniting this all-star cast, and adding Meryl Streep into the mix, was no mean feat.
"There's no plan," Kidman said. "There's no plan for it, to answer it, really specifically. And, it was a long shoot for us, and it was an enormous amount of work, and, we're just amazed that we can be here."
Of making Season 2, Kelley told The Hollywood Reporter in 2018, "I didn't think it was a very good idea. We wrote it as a one-off and we ended it in a way that was very lyrical. But we ended on a lie. I get so protective of characters and series, too, that I don't want to damage them in any way, and I so loved how we ended year one and I thought, 'Let's just leave it at that.'"
But it was the addition of Streep that convinced him to return for one more season. He explained, "Introducing this character who's being played by Meryl Streep. It's a delicious character and I felt bringing her in was both liberating and daunting. Daunting because she sets a high bar and you have to measure up, but liberating in that now the show's not going to be compared to last year. There was freedom in that."
It definitely sounds as though a third season isn't on the writer's radar right now.
The drama surrounding director Andrea Arnold's work on the second season could influence whether there's a third.
In July, it was revealed that HBO took control of Big Little Lies Season 2 from its Oscar-winning director, Andrea Arnold. IndieWire reported that despite promising Arnold complete control over the second season, HBO handed post-production duties over to Season 1 director (and an executive producer on Season 2) Jean-Marc Vallée.
Per IndieWire, Vallée was tasked to "take Arnold's work and make it look and feel like the familiar style Vallée brought to the hit first season." Per the report, the plan had always been to bring the style of the show's second season in line with that of the first. However, this was allegedly not communicated to Arnold, who was also never given any indication during the shoot.
Even though Arnold apparently began postproduction of Season 2 with her team in London, HBO moved editing to Vallée's Montreal base and ordered reshoots, where Vallée had complete control.
HBO is ready if anyone changes their mind.
HBO president Casey Bloys told TVLine recently, "I love this group of people—I would do anything with them." He continued, "But the reality is, they are some of the busiest actresses working in Hollywood. We have deals with some of them—Nicole [Kidman] is doing her next show (The Undoing) with us. I just think it’s not realistic."
Plus, Bloys revealed that Season 2 was about the cast and crew finding closure, and described it as "a chance for everyone involved to end [the franchise] in a way that feels satisfying." But he's not given up entirely. "Look, if they all came to me and said, 'We worked out all of our schedules!'–then sure." He continued, "But I just don’t think it's realistic."
Bloys doubled down on his comments during the TCA summer tour. "To me on the face of it, there’s no obvious place to go," he said of a prospective third season, per Deadline. "But this is an extraordinary group of actors and producers, and if they said ‘we have the greatest take’, I’d listen to them. I’d be open."
However, Kidman told News Corp Australia in July, "I think we would love to do a season three because there is certainly ideas," continuing, "but we would not do it without all of the same people involved … even the kids." Basically, it's time to consult your calendars, Witherspoon, Dern, Kravitz, and Woodley, because Kidman is ready for more Big Little Lies.
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