Big Little Lies Season 3 - Will It Ever Happen?

Created by David E. Kelley and based on the novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty, the HBO series, "Big Little Lies," follows a murder case in the wealthy community of Monterey, California, focusing on the perspective of the mothers in the community — Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Celeste (Nicole Kidman), Jane (Shailene Woodley), Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz), and Renata (Laura Dern). The second season dives into the aftermath of the Season 1 reveal of who died and who committed the murder.

"Big Little Lies" premiered its first season in February 2017 to much acclaim and popularity, even earning itself a slew of Golden Globes and Emmys the following award season. With all of that positive attention, it seemed natural for HBO to move forward with a second season, even though "Big Little Lies" was originally intended to be a miniseries. Season 2, which saw much of the star-studded cast returning to reprise their roles, premiered in June 2019.

With a second season that was also well-received – and proved that the story could continue beyond its one-book source material — fans have been wondering if there's a third season on the horizon for "Big Little Lies." Well, it has not been officially confirmed, but it also hasn't been completely shot down. Here's what we know so far about a possible "Big Little Lies" Season 3.

The stars are interested in returning, but there currently aren't any official plans for Season 3

As of the time of writing, the prospect of a Season 3 of "Big Little Lies" is a bit of good news, bad news situation. On one hand, several of the show's stars have been vocal about wanting to try and make another season happen. On the other hand, there's been no official word from HBO regarding any new episodes, and in the past, the president of programming at HBO, Casey Bloys, has expressed doubt that another season would follow.

"To me, there's no obvious place to go, or no obvious story," Bloys told Entertainment Weekly in the wake of Season 2 coming to an end in 2019. "That said, this group is extraordinary ... so if they all came to me and said, 'We have the greatest take,' ... I would certainly be open to it because I love working with all of them." In 2020, ET Online reported on an Instagram Live conversation between Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern in which they discussed a potential Season 3. Witherspoon said, "We want to do it, we're just kind of waiting — we talked to Nicole, didn't we? We Facetimed Nicole the other day."

Speaking of Kidman, in December 2021, the Oscar winner appeared on SiriusXM's "Radio Andy" (via E! Online). When asked by host Andy Cohen about roles from her career she would like to revisit, she responded, "I think we'd all love to do a 'Big Little Lies' season three, you know?" However, as for whether or not that was actually going to happen, Kidman said, "I don't know."

What Zoë Kravitz has said about Big Little Lies Season 3

The majority of the cast and crew of "Big Little Lies" have been assuring that a third season is definitely not out of the cards in the years since the second season's 2019 airing. However, in 2022, Zoë Kravitz delivered some harsh news about the fate of the series, much to the dismay of fans who had been eager for a continuation of the Monterey Five's story. In a Q&A video shared by GQ, Kravitz gave a straight answer to one such fan asking about when the series' third season was coming, saying "I don't think it is."

The actress stated that though the cast and crew talked "a lot" about returning for a third season, the death of "Big Little Lies" director and executive producer Jean-Marc Vallée in 2021 cast doubts on the future of the series. "I just can't imagine going on without him, he [Vallée] really was the visionary for that show. So, unfortunately, it's done." Kravitz clarified, seemingly closing the lid on any further discussions and hopes for the series' renewal.

However, just a few months prior to Kravitz's statement, Reese Witherspoon still appeared hopeful about the show's future in an interview for The Hollywood Reporter and affirmed that conversations about a third season were still persisting between her and her cast members.

What could be explored in Season 3?

The Season 2 finale of "Big Little Lies" ("I Want to Know") ended on a cliffhanger, with the rest of the Monterey Five joining Bonnie in marching towards the police station to confess their involvement in the much-investigated murder of Perry Wright (Alexander Skarsgård). The show's third season could reveal whether or not the Five went through with the confession — the consequences of either of which would be far-reaching for each of the Five members to sustain an entire season.

Given that Bonnie was the one who killed Perry, the frenzy surrounding her arrest, legal proceedings, possible imprisonment, and its effects on her relationship with her husband and child, would be a major focus of Season 3. Additionally, the season could explore Celeste's attempt at recovering from the trauma and grief of Perry's death, and how her confession to Perry's murder will affect the verdict of her custody battle with Perry's mother, Mary Louise (Meryl Streep), over her twins — which Celeste had won in the Season 2 finale.

What also remains to be seen is how Madeline's marriage with Ed (Adam Scott) pans out after the two renewed their vows at the end of Season 2, and how Renata will recover from her financial woes caused by her husband Gordon's (Jeffrey Nordling) gambling addiction. Season 2 had left Jane making progress in her relationship with Corey (Douglas Smith) with her son Ziggy's (Iain Armitage) acceptance, and it remains to be seen what kind of a character Corey ends up becoming considering the suspicions around him being an undercover cop.

Who would star in Season 3?

Nearly every cast member of "Big Little Lies" is more than willing to return to a third season. Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, and Zoë Kravitz have repeatedly expressed their eagerness to reprise their characters. However, it's not a question of whether the cast wants to return as much as they can return, given their busy schedules and the difficulty in aligning them.

Here's what the cast has been up to so far: Witherspoon is executive producing multiple projects for Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, ABC, and Netflix, and is confirmed to reprise her breakthrough role as Elle Woods for "Legally Blonde 3." Kidman had since starred and executive produced in Hulu's "Nine Perfect Strangers," another adaptation of a Liane Moriarty book, portrayed Lucille Ball in a Golden Globe-winning performance in Aaron Sorkin's "Being the Ricardos," appeared in Robert Egger's "The Northman,” and will reprise her role as Queen Atlanta in the upcoming DCEU installment, "Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom."

Dern had returned to her role as Dr. Ellie Sattler in 2022's "Jurassic World Dominion," and executive produced Hulu's "Tiny Beautiful Things" alongside Witherspoon. Kravitz starred in and executive produced Hulu's "High Fidelity," which was canceled after one season, stole the show as Selina Kyle in 2022's "The Batman," and is set to make her directorial debut with "Pussy Island," which the actress had also co-written and co-produced.

What do fans think of a potential Season 3?

Despite the fact that both seasons of "Big Little Lies" had garnered critical acclaim and high ratings, the need for a third season is often debated among fans and viewers of the show in online discussion boards. Many fans have their fingers crossed for a continuation to the cliffhanger that Season 2 ended with, and generally have expressed interest in following the characters for more subsequent seasons just for their excellent casting.

Redditor u/autumnnoel95 commented on a thread discussing the possibility of a third season, "I love the characters so much I would watch 5 seasons of that show haha even if it was just like a soap opera thing." Another user, u/DancingOnACounter, wrote, "I thought Season 1 wrapped up real nicely. And despite season 2 being just so-so, the cast was way too brilliant. I would totally watch a mediocre season 3 if they could get everyone back again!"

Conversely, there were others who had deemed the show's second season unnecessary and felt that the show should have ended with Season 1 as it had been initially planned. u/VapeApe- commented on another Reddit discussion board, "Season 2 was the most unnecessary season. I liked season 1 and it should have ended there." Similarly, u/Senpai_Onyx added, "Season 2 felt like it wrapped up the story. While I enjoyed the show a lot, it def doesn't need a season 3."

Big Little Lies was originally conceived as a miniseries

The first season of the show covered the entirety of the events in Liane Moriarty's bestselling novel of the same name, which is why "Big Little Lies" was initially conceived and announced as a miniseries. However, after the positive reception of the show, especially with several Emmy nominations, much of the cast and crew — including HBO and Liane Moriarty — agreed there was a scope for a continuation of the story. HBO president Casey Bloys commissioned Moriarty to work on a story idea for the sophomore season, for which the author wrote a novella as a basis for Season 2.

Nicole Kidman, whose production company Blossom Films co-produced the show, revealed in an interview with Deadline that when talks of a possible Season 2 began, most of the cast and crew had been resistant to the idea until Moriarty presented her ideas on a continuation of the story, which affirmed the team's faith. Additionally, the viewing numbers of Season 1 helped make the case for the audience's interest in a second season.

"Apparently, the show has rated, in terms of viewing, crazy numbers," Kidman said. So, 12, 13, 14 million, which is really an enormous amount for a show like this. So, it was driven by Liane [Moriarty] having some really strong ideas, David [E. Kelley] thinking he could write these women, and continue their narrative, and then all of us as women going, 'Oh my gosh, the audience's desire to keep these people alive is so strong.'"

Director Jean-Marc Vallée was vehemently opposed to a second season

While much of the cast was up for returning for a "Big Little Lies" Season 2, director and executive producer Jean-Marc Vallée wasn't convinced that the story should continue. "There is no way; there's no reason to make a Season 2," Vallée told Vulture. "That was meant to be a one-time deal, and it's finishing in a way where it's for the audience to imagine what can happen." 

According to the cast and crew, Vallée was instrumental in the show's unique tone and direction, which is why it was important for them and for HBO president Casey Bloys to get Vallée on board for a sophomore season." Bloys told TVLine, "I know [Vallée] said that... but Nicole and Reese can be very persuasive ... First we have to see the material and see if it's worth everyone's time. And if it is, [we'll have a] conversation about directors."

However, all it took for Vallée to change his mind was for the show to win eight Emmy awards, including the outstanding directing award for himself. During a backstage interview at the 2017 Emmy Awards (via TVLine), Vallée stated, "I'm just like the audience and like these girls and everyone else... It'd be great to reunite the team and to do it." Even though Vallée didn't direct the second season, he returned as executive producer, relegating the director's chair to Andrea Arnold.

How does HBO feel about Season 3?

Much like the rest of the cast and crew, HBO president Casey Bloys is more than willing to do a third season, as long as the actors' schedules all line up. He told TVLine that he "loved" the cast and "would do anything with them," but pointed out that the A-list cast all have busy schedules that would be challenging to coordinate in unison to make a third season. "Look, if they all came to me and said, 'We worked out all of our schedules!' — then sure ... But I just don't think it's realistic."

Bloys added that "Season 2 was a chance for everyone involved to end [the franchise] in a way that feels satisfying," negating the immediate need for Season 3. However, considering how much HBO relied on Jean-Marc Vallee for the creative aspect and his vision, it's unlikely that the network would go ahead with a third season without Vallée after his death in 2021.

If HBO were to embark on a Season 3, the choice of a director would be a major factor for the network to consider. Any replacement would either need to aptly capture the tone that Vallée had established through his direction, or would need to solidify their own unique directorial vision that also aligns with the storytelling of the previous seasons. Either way, it's not like HBO is hinging on a "Big Little Lies" third season, as they are occupied with a slew of other well-performing series like "The Last of Us," "House of the Dragon," "Euphoria," and "The White Lotus."