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My Brilliant Friend Season 3 Release Date, Cast, And Plot - What We Know So Far

HBO's Italian- and Neapolitan-language coming-of-age series, "My Brilliant Friend," premiered its first season in November 2018. After rave reviews — the first season holds 93% Tomatometer and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes — a second season was swiftly renewed the following month (via Variety).

Set in 1950s Naples, the series centers on Elena "Lenù" Greco (Margherita Mazzucco, Elisa del Genio) as she meets and becomes friends with Raffaella "Lila" Cerullo (Gaia Girace, Ludovica Nasti) in elementary school. The story follows them through adolescence and, eventually, into late adulthood when an elderly Lila has disappeared. Based on a book series by Elena Ferrante, the first season was adapted from the first in the series, also titled "My Brilliant Friend," while the second season was adapted from the second novel, titled "The Story of a New Name."

Knowing that there are four books in the series probably has the show's fans eager to hear about the show moving forward with a third season. Here are all the details we know so far about Season 3 of "My Brilliant Friend."

When will Season 3 be released?

The good news is that a third season has been officially renewed; HBO confirmed the renewal last April (via The Hollywood Reporter). The not-so-good news is that, as of now, there's no release date for the next season, so we're unsure when we'll get to see the continuation of Elena and Lila's story come to fruition.

"The fact that viewers and critics alike have continued to embrace Elena and Lila's story makes it all the more gratifying, and we thank the entire team led by Saverio Costanzo for their outstanding work on the second season," the executive VP of HBO Programming stated upon the news of the renewal. "We cannot wait to tell the next chapter of Elena and Lila's lives and friendship."

Unfortunately, the filming of that next chapter faced production delays due to COVID-19, much like just about every other film and television production. Luckily, according to TheCinemaholic, Season 3 production resumed in February 2021. With the production back to being well underway, hopefully we'll receive news of a release date soon.

Who will be in Season 3?

Because the story follows the two lead characters throughout decades of their lives, the roles have already been taken on by multiple actors. For the character of Elena, actor Margherita Mazzucco has taken on the bulk of the character portrayal, with Elisa del Genio playing the younger version of Elena for Season 1 and some of Season 2. Additionally, an older actress, Elisabetta De Palo, portrayed Elena as a senior in a guest role, while Ingrid del Genio appeared in a guest role as a very young Elena. Similarly, the other lead, Lila, has had two prominent actors play the role thus far, with Gaia Girace taking on the more dominant, adolescent storyline and Ludovica Nasti playing the younger Lila.

With the story progressing forward in their lives — the third book takes the characters further into adulthood — we can expect to see new faces playing the familiar characters. Last year, TVZap confirmed that Girace will exit the series after three episodes of the third season, with another actor — as of now unannounced — taking over the role. Girace told TVZap, "I'm sorry to leave Lila's character ... I hope that whoever takes my place will love her at least a penny of what I love her."

Further, while it has not been announced, it's expected that another actor will also replace Mazzucco as Elena.

What will Season 3 be about?

The ending of Season 2 saw Elena engaged and the author of a recently published debut novel. The published book, titled "The Digression," chronicles the development of her friendship with Lila — essentially all the events the audience has been watching thus far. The final moments of the series finale see Elena giving a book talk, where she is reunited with Nino (Francesco Serpico), an old friend and childhood crush — as well as an ex-lover of Lila's — whom she hasn't seen in years. The series ends with a shot of a smiling Elena, clearly delighted to see Nino.

The third season is likely to provide more context to Elena and Nino's reunion, while also chronicling the events of Ferrante's third book. The next book in the series, "Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay," sees Lila now estranged from her husband and in the workforce, at a sausage factory, where she is dealing with frequent sexual harassment. While working, Lila is also studying computer science alongside another familiar face from their childhood, Enzo Scanno (Giovanni Buselli, Vincenzo Vaccaro), whom she finds herself developing feelings for. 

Meanwhile, Elena, after her marriage, becomes pregnant right away, despite wanting to wait until she's written her second novel. Throughout the book, she struggles with balancing motherhood and her writing craft. Elena also faces her feelings for Nino, after running into him again after the time at the book talk.

With a book full of compelling drama within Elena and Lila's lives, the third season — when it finally comes out on HBO — is bound to be just as stellar as the first two.