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Paddington 3 Release Date, Cast And Plot - What We Know So Far

Based on the beloved writings of the late Michael Bond, 2014's Paddington introduced the cinema world to the titular bear in his first incredibly heartwarming feature. Unsurprisingly, the adaptation became a huge hit, grossing nearly $283 million at the worldwide box office and winning over critics everywhere. As Hollywood tends to do with such success, sequel talks began shortly thereafter, resulting in Paddington 2 hitting the big screen only three years later. Much like the first, the second chapter in Paddington Bear's story stole audience's hearts — as well as their funds, taking in roughly $228 million over the course of its theatrical tenure.

In the three, nearing four, years since Paddington 2 graced the cinema, talks of a third movie to round out the trilogy had grown scarce at best. But that all changed on February 17, 2021, when Variety reported the news that everyone could use in these trying times: the highly anticipated Paddington 3 is preparing to get off the ground very soon. A representative from production company StudioCanal said in a statement that accompanied the news, "We can confirm StudioCanal is working very hard on film 3 with the utmost craft and care — as with film 1 and 2."

With it now set in stone that Paddington 3 is on the way, what can audiences expect when it premieres in the distant future? Here's everything we know so far about Paddington 3's release date, cast, and plot.

Paddington 3's release date: The wait rolls on

StudioCanal hasn't announced a release date for Paddington 3 as of this writing (mid-February 2021), so the day the delightful little bear returns to the movies is unknown. The company also neglected to mention how far along in production the threequel is, only noting that the team is taking its time with the movie, in the same way they did Paddington and Paddington 2. One would imagine this comparison means we can expect Paddington 3 to take just as long to hit theaters as the previous two installments, but that theory isn't exactly iron-clad.

Announced way back in late 2007, the first Paddington film found itself trapped in development limbo until September 2013. Thankfully, after the ball got rolling in the writer's room and principal photography kicked off, it was ready for public consumption by November 2014. Paddington 2, on the other hand, wasted little time in coming together, being revealed in April 2015 by producer David Heyman and beginning filming in October 2016. By November 2017, Paddington 2 was playing in megaplexes across the globe, which is a much quicker turnaround than its predecessor.

By this logic, it's difficult to estimate when Paddington 3 will arrive, but no earlier than 2022 is the safest bet to make.

The Paddington 3 cast will include faces new and old

Similarly to the lack of a release date for Paddington 3, StudioCanal's original statement doesn't include a cast list of any kind. Therefore, it's impossible to know for sure who will pop up in the long awaited continuation. However, it's safe to assume that the series' regulars will come back for another go, so long as the story calls for it. That includes Cloud Atlas' Ben Whishaw, who provides Paddington's voice; Hugh Bonneville as Henry Brown; Sally Hawkins as Mary Brown; Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin as Judy and Jonathan Brown, respectively; as well as former Doctor Who actor Peter Capaldi as Mr. Curry, among others.

One person who won't return in the same manner for Paddington 3 is director Paul King, who oversaw the previous two Paddington projects. As he told Empire in June 2020 (via Yahoo! Movies), he stepped down from the position in favor of an executive producer spot, giving him the chance to focus on other ventures. It remains to be seen who will inherit directorial duties from King, just as it's still a mystery who will take on the responsibility of playing the villain this time around. Paddington featured Nicole Kidman as the crooked taxidermist Millicent Clyde, and Paddington 2 saw the introduction of failed actor Phoenix Buchanan, portrayed by Hugh Grant. This leaves big shoes to fill for the actor who gets the job in Paddington 3.

What will Paddington 3 be about?

When it comes to Paddington 3's story, there currently aren't any details floating around, indicating just how early it is into production. Although, given the nature of the first two movies' plots, Paddington Bear's next adventure can lead him just about anywhere. 

The 2014 feature documented the Peruvian bear's attempts to find a family of his own in London while avoiding becoming a part of Clyde's taxidermy collection, and the 2017 sequel saw him framed for a crime he didn't commit. Of course, spoiler alert, it came to light that Buchanan was the culprit all along, absolving Paddington of him crimes and freeing him from prison in the end.

If those behind Paddington 3 are suffering from a serious case of writer's block, there's plenty of non-screen-based media centering on the character to find inspiration from. Before his death at the age of 91 in June 2017, author Michael Bond penned 29 different books about the inquisitive bear, showcasing him taking on activities big and small. While most of these stories are a bit thin for a full-length film, they're certainly fine starting points to work from. 

No matter where Paddington 3 goes story-wise, it stands to reason there will be hard stares and marmalade sandwiches to go around — making for a welcome entry into this universally loved franchise.