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After Life Season 3 - What We Know So Far

The British TV series After Life has been a big hit for Netflix ever since it launched on the streaming service in March 2019. Creator and writer Ricky Gervais stars in the black comedy, portraying a man trying to get on with life after the death of his wife by ending his reputation as a nice guy and saying exactly what he thinks. The show heads into a much-anticipated third season this year. 

After Life's first season was described by NME as "a raw, moving stand-alone portrait of human pain and endurance." Netflix ordered a renewal just a month after it dropped, according to The Hollywood Reporter (THR). NME noted that the second season, which debuted in April 2020 right as the pandemic was causing people all over the world to isolate themselves, was a victim of timing — tackling issues of death and loss that seemed too close to home. Despite this criticism, After Life performed well enough to earn another renewal: Netflix UK & Ireland's Twitter page reported in early May that the series was getting a third season. Gervais followed it up with a post of his own, confirming he would begin production on more After Life.

THR noted that the renewal was part of a new overall deal between Netflix and Gervais, which would include new scripted series and stand-up comedy specials. But now, almost a full year after the show was renewed, that third season seems nowhere in sight. So, what's the deal with season 3 of After Life?

What is the release date of After Life season 3?

In July 2020, Gervais posted an image of himself to Twitter, showing After Life's first draft of series 3, episode 1. However, production appears to have slowed, likely as a result of the pandemic.

In February, the comedian made an appearance on British network ITV's show Lorraine, indicating that production on the show is probably starting right now. ""Everything going well, we film in April and May and then it takes a few months to edit and then it takes a couple of months to put into a 160 languages," he said (via Tyla). He believes the series will be available for viewers by the end of 2021. 

However, don't expect much more After Life. British television seasons tends to end quickly, and After Life's have included just six episodes of about 30 minutes each. Furthermore, the third season will likely be the last. "I've never done a third series of anything," Gervais told ITV. "But it felt right, and I fell in love with the characters, and I think this should be it."

Who's in the cast of After Life season 3?

The cast list of After Life isn't expected to change much in the season 3, although the death of Tony's father, Ray (David Bradley) may be the one exception. The show stars Gervais as Tony Johnson, and Tom Basden plays his boss and brother-in-law, Matt, who is having marital problems. The cast also includes Tony Way (Lenny), Diane Morgan (Kath), and Mandeep Dhillon (Sandy). Ashley Jensen is Emma, a new romantic interest for Tony and his father's nurse. 

Kerry Godliman portrays Lisa, Tony's late wife, who appears mostly through a video guide-to-life she's left for her husband after her death from breast cancer. Penelope Wilton is also in the cast as Anne, an older widow whom Tony meets at a graveyard. She helps him gain a new perspective on life. 

When the cast list was announced in 2018, BBC America noted that it "reads like a who's who of modern British comedy and drama." Gervais gave some insight on the casting in a statement (via Deadline), saying, "This cast combines the best of the new breed of great British comedy talent with some of the wonderful alumni of my previous shows."

What is the plot of After Life season 3?

Describing the plot of the show in a tweet from before pre-production of the first season, Gervais wrote, "It's a 6 part, dark comedy, in which I play a man who, after the death of his wife, becomes suicidal but decides to live long enough to punish the world by saying and doing whatever the f*** he likes from now on." While his character Tony has grown a bit from that description since the first season, he continues to suffer many ups and downs during the course of his recovery from his wife's death. 

That includes taking drugs, dealing with the death of his father, embarking (in fits and starts) on a new romance, and attempting to commit suicide — twice now, since the final episode of the second season. While the endings of both seasons have injected some hope into his life, he still seems to be in a dark place that he's not ready to leave. The question that will hopefully be resolved is whether or not he'll finally gain some emotional stability, with help from his quirky and fun work friends and his faithful doggo.