Season three of Big Little Lies appears to be a go, according to one of its stars.
Considering that the show was last on our screens five years ago, it was starting to look like season two was the last we’d see of the Monterey Five. As Harper’s Bazaar reported in February 2019, at an appearance on the Television Critics Association press tour, creator David E. Kelley (of Ally McBeal fame) hinted that a third season of the hit HBO series wasn’t likely.
But over time, the show’s stars began opening up about whether they’d return for a season three, and it started to look promising. Then, in an interview on the red carpet at the 81st Golden Globes, on January 7, star Reese Witherspoon said it was being worked on.
Here’s everything we know about the future of Big Little Lies so far.
At the Golden Globes, Reese Witherspoon confirms season three is in the works.
While walking the red carpet at the Beverly Hilton with her son, Witherspoon broke the news that season three of the series is finally in development.
“We are working on it,” the actor said with a massive grin during an interview with Variety. “[Nicole Kidman] and I have been working on it a lot.”
Witherspoon had discussed the possibility of a third season way back in June 2020, during an at-home discussion with fellow actor Regina King for Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series.
“I never say never, because we thought Big Little Lies was going to be one season, and we had no idea we were going to go back,” she said. “But I will say Big Little Lies is one of the most fulfilling creative experiences for me. Just working with those women—Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Zoë Kravitz and Shailene Woodley, and now Meryl Streep—it was just a dream.”
Nicole Kidman calls a third season “more of a dream” than “a reality.”
Before that, speaking to Entertainment Tonight at the 2020 Producers Guild Awards in January 2019, Kidman had teased, “You have to ask Reese [Witherspoon]… [We] were just texting.”
Kidman added, “[A third season[ is what we’re going to see if we can do, but right now it’s certainly more of a dream than it is a reality. … Sorry to say, but maybe one day.”
Laura Dern would absolutely reprise Renata.
Dern also opened up to Entertainment Tonight at the 2020 Producers Guild Awards, saying, “How can I say no to Renata?” name-checking the character she plays in the series. “I mean, she requires [all the memes], and I love her so much, so I’m thrilled for her that she’s a meme, because she would really appreciate it.”
In short: Fans will be overjoyed to hear Dern say, “I could never say no to Renata.”
Kidman is open to season three, but it probably won’t happen soon.
The Australian actress is working with BLL writer David E. Kelley on the new show The Undoing, which is their top priority right now. When asked about a possible third season for Big Little Lies at the January 2020 TCAs, Kidman said, per Variety, “We would love to, but there are ideas that are further on down the track… we’ve been so focused on [The Undoing].”
She also pointed to the busy schedules of her co-stars, like Laura Dern, who was just in Marriage Story and Little Women, and Zoë Kravitz, who’ll star in Hulu’s High Fidelity series starting next month and is set to star as Catwoman in an upcoming Batman remake.
“So I think everyone’s working in incredibly good places, which is lovely thing to have come out of that show,” Kidman added. “Hopefully we can all collide again at some point.”
Kidman said she’ll do Season 3 if Liane Moriarty is on board.
In November 2019, Kidman told Deadline, “The muse is Liane, and she will construct something, so it’s left there. And I like how that is, that it’s David and Liane. It’s David’s show. David E. Kelley constructed this show with Liane Moriarty. They built it from the ground up, and it’s their show, and we’ll see if they’re ignited into building a life for these women, and which way they would go next.” She continued, “If there is a third one, all of it will come from the writers, and that’s amazing. Liane is deeply talented. David is deeply talented, and the combination of them is extraordinary.”
In her October 2019 interview with ELLE, Kidman also discussed whether or not she’d return for Season 3 of Big Little Lies. She explained, “Everyone says, ‘Are you going to do a Season 3?'” Kidman continued, “We’re like, ‘Just give us a sec.'”
And it seems that the actress certainly isn’t ruling out another season of the show, as she told ELLE, “We’d love to [do another season] because we love being together, and it’s lovely spending time with your friends, and with such good material.”
Reese Witherspoon wants Jennifer Aniston to join the cast.
In an interview with The Times to promote The Morning Show, Witherspoon joked that Aniston should costar with her on Big Little Lies. It all started when Aniston said, “We wrapped The Morning Show, she went directly to another show. There is no hanging out to be done with this hard-working woman.” Witherspoon was quick to reply, “Come on Big Little Lies.”
What may or may not have started as a joke seemed to gather steam when Witherspoon said, “Nicole would die to have you there. She loves you. She’s always like, ‘How’s Jen?'” We’re sold.
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.
Emma Dibdin is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles who writes about culture, mental health, and true crime. She loves owls, hates cilantro, and can find the queer subtext in literally anything.
Amy Mackelden is a freelance writer, editor, and disability activist. Her bylines include Harper’s BAZAAR, Nicki Swift, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, ELLE, The Independent, Bustle, Healthline, and HelloGiggles. She co-edited The Emma Press Anthology of Illness, and previously spent all of her money on Kylie Cosmetics.