It’s been more than a year since Season 2 of “The White Lotus” concluded on HBO with a certain hot mess of an heiress falling to her death off the side of a yacht while attempting to escape a cabal of murderous, jet-setting gay men.
Fans of Mike White’s anthology series, which blends biting social satire with a good old-fashioned murder mystery set in luxurious hotels around the world, were thrilled when HBO announced a third installment was on the way.
But they have had to wait patiently for further updates on the series for now. Because of the impasse between studios and the Writers Guild of America, and later the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, leading to a dual strike, many Hollywood productions were delayed.
For viewers hungry for more murder and lifestyle porn, tracking updates (and speculating wildly) about the show, which is up for 12 awards at the Primetime Emmy Awards on Jan. 15, has become a pastime in its own rite.
Here is everything we know about Season 3 to date.
The biggest piece of “White Lotus” news to land in months came Friday: HBO announced that Parker Posey, Jason Isaacs, Leslie Bibb, Dom Hetrakul, Tayme Thapthimthong and Michelle Monaghan would join the cast of Season 3. They will star alongside Natasha Rothwell, who will reprise her role as Belinda, the beleaguered spa manager last seen dreaming of opening her own wellness center in the Maui-set first season. Like many of the actresses White has worked with in “The White Lotus,” including Jennifer Coolidge and Aubrey Plaza, Posey is best known for her comedic roles in films like “Dazed and Confused,” Party Girl” and “Waiting for Guffman.” We look forward to many Posey-centric memes.
Though fans might wish otherwise, it seems highly unlikely that Coolidge will reprise her role as Tanya McQuoid — unless Season 3 turns out to be a prequel or a ghost story.
After seasons set in Maui and Sicily, Season 3 will move to Thailand, with production to take place in and around Koh Samui, Phuket, and Bangkok. HBO is partnering with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to help produce and promote the series, which — despite all the murder and mayhem — also serves as a glossy travel brochure for high-end destinations around the world. “‘The White Lotus’ project will certainly strengthen the kingdom’s status as a preferred filming destination and a beacon of experience-based tourism, inspiring even more visitors,” said Thapanee Kiatphaibool, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Seasons 1 and 2 of “The White Lotus” were filmed on location at Four Seasons Resorts in Italy and Hawaii. In case you were wondering, there is a Four Seasons Resort in Koh Samui, where guests can stay in private villas overlooking the Gulf of Siam. Although HBO has not confirmed the series will be filmed at the hotel, it happens to be unavailable for bookings from late January to late March.
As Johnny Knoxville accidentally revealed in an interview with Vulture, Season 3 was originally supposed to film in Japan. But the project was relocated to Thailand because of generous tax incentives provided by the government, according to a report in Deadline.
Production is set to begin in February 2024, according to HBO. A premiere date has not been announced for Season 3. Originally expected to air in 2024, HBO chief executive Casey Bloys said in November that it would most likely be delayed until 2025.
Very little is known about the plot of Season 3, other than it will follow the guests and staff at a luxurious hotel and will, presumably, involve a dead body or two. The focus of each season has shifted to reflect the location: Season 1 examined race, class and American imperialism; Season 2 was all about sex, money and transactional relationships. Season 3, it seems, may literally be about death.
In a featurette that accompanied the Season 2 finale, White said Season 3 will be “a kind of satirical and funny look at death in Eastern religion and spirituality — it feels like it could be a rich tapestry to do another round at White Lotus.”