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Euphoria Season 3 in limbo! HBO postpones Zendaya-led series amid creative disagreements

The clash between Zendaya and HBO over the direction of Euphoria Season 3 has resulted in production delays.

Euphoria Season 3 in limbo! HBO postpones Zendaya-led series amid creative disagreements
Zendaya in a still from Euphoria

Last Updated: 01.47 PM, Mar 29, 2024


Euphoria won numerous Emmys and catapulted its youthful cast to peaking stardom over its two seasons on HBO, but fans of the Sam Levinson-created series will have to wait for news on what's next. HBO formally postponed the drama, initially scheduled to start filming later this spring, earlier this week. The third season will be absolutely great, according to an HBO representative who talked with Variety on the network's behalf. While they work on this, they are letting their highly sought-after cast members explore other possibilities.

Postponement of Euphoria Season 3

Considering several ideas for the show's future, HBO isn't saying anything about the possibility of a third season of Euphoria ever happening. Executives from Casey Bloys on down feel compelled to attempt to finish the story since Euphoria has been so essential to the network—attracting notoriously difficult-to-please millennial and Gen Z viewers and boasting big ratings.


According to Variety's sources, in the winter of 2023, Levinson—who writes and directs every episode—proposed a plan for the upcoming season that would take place five years after East Highland High School graduates. HBO viewed his pitch and season drafts as promising beginnings, with "very compelling" meat storylines for Sydney Sweeney and Jacob Elordi, among other things. The 27-year-old star of Euphoria and two-time Emmy winner, Zendaya, was not impressed with the screenplays sent in after the WGA strike concluded.

Levinson's proposal for Season 3

Levinson and Zendaya, who are in great demand as a result of Dune: Part Two's box office success, have had a creatively mutually beneficial connection since the beginning of Euphoria, and it continued into the upcoming Netflix feature Malcolm & Marie. Despite not having veto authority over the scripts, Zendaya, who stars and is an executive producer of Euphoria, gave Levinson a lot of feedback on the direction she wanted Season 3 to take. 

Angus Cloud, who tragically passed away at the age of 25 from an overdose in July of last year, was reportedly integral to the original idea for the season, prompting Levinson to begin the makeover process. Producing Euphoria was already a challenging task before November's unexpected death of 45-year-old Kevin Turen from heart failure dealt a devastating blow to Levinson and the rest of the ensemble.

When Levinson submitted his rewritten screenplays in late 2023 or early 2024, it was the executives at HBO who were dissatisfied. In Levinson's original draft, Zendaya's Rue had a minor role in an unexpected plot involving her employment as a private detective—a plot that HBO promptly rejected—but now she had a new arc to follow. Zendaya had proposed a number of other ideas for the rewrites, one of which was to have Rue, now a sober young lady in her twenties, serve as a surrogate mother. However, those in the know claim that the new scripts just didn't fit with the show's general vibe.

Challenges faced by the production

Aside from the obvious artistic differences, HBO considered other possibilities, such as Levinson himself leaving Euphoria. Similar to the two one-offs that HBO aired in December 2020 and the following month during the pandemic, the network has considered and rejected alternative scenarios, such as a movie or specials. Reliable sources have informed Variety that Zendaya, Sweeney, and Elordi are particularly committed to seeing Levinson's Euphoria through to its conclusion with a third season, and that the entire cast is not just under contract for that duration.

Given the time commitment involved, it's hard to say the same for their reps. After Season 2, HBO renegotiated the cast's contracts and increased their salaries significantly. Zendaya, Sweeney, and Elordi's earnings from Euphoria are far lower than what they could earn from cinema roles. Sweeney, 26, is on the same wave as Zendaya, having just released the romantic comedy Anyone but You, which was a smashing success at the box office. While filming Guillermo del Toro's big-budget Netflix picture Frankenstein, 26-year-old Elordi also witnessed a considerable increase in his stock price after the critical success of the psychological thriller Saltburn.

Potential impact on the series

The third season is reportedly still in the works and could still happen, even though Zendaya hasn't read the new scripts from Levinson. HBO has released the cast for the remainder of 2024 and promises that they will return on October 1 with a firm plan to begin filming in 2025. If filming goes on, the cast will be busy for 25 weeks, and the season will probably include six episodes instead of eight, but HBO is willing to cut episodes if Levinson wants more.

While he and HBO continue their creative discussions, Levinson is now giving the material another go. Network brass are dead set on having Euphoria creator Sarah Levinson and her A-list ensemble return for a final season. Challengers, Zendaya's next film, opens on April 26. Some believe that the success or failure of Euphoria could determine its fate. Meanwhile, the development of Spider-Man 4 continues, without an announced director or start date, and the script remains unfinished.

Not having finished screenplays that everyone is satisfied with is not an option for Euphoria when it comes to production. That was Levinson's move during the extraordinary The Idol situation—his tumultuous collaboration with the Weeknd, which was widely seen as a creative failure and an expensive vanity project for HBO.

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