The Real Reason Euphoria Season 3 Was Delayed Is Deeper Than Fans Think

The Real Reason Euphoria Season 3 Was Delayed Is Deeper Than Fans Think


On March 25, news broke that the long-awaited third season of "Euphoria" was delayed yet again (after the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes caused an initial delay, following the tragic, untimely passing of actor Angus Cloud). In The Hollywood Reporter, a statement regarding this news read, "HBO and ['Euphoria' creator] Sam Levinson remain committed to making an exceptional third season. In the interim, we are allowing our in-demand cast to pursue other opportunities." THR notes that the stars of "Euphoria" remain under contract, but that the premium network wants to give them leeway to work on other projects until Season 3 begins production in earnest.

(That sound you hear in the distance is probably mega-stars Zendaya, Sydney Sweeney, and Jacob Elordi breathing an enormous sigh of relief.)

There's a lot at play here, and though fans of "Euphoria" are probably feeling pretty disappointed, this news doesn't feel particularly surprising. "Euphoria" is, to say the least, a lightning rod for controversy, and rumors have swirled for years about difficult on-set conditions and Levinson's apparent unwillingness to ever cede creative control to anyone else. The long-awaited third season — for context, "Euphoria's" Season 2 finale aired in February 2022 — was already pushed to 2025 and could be bumped even further. 

What exactly is going on here? Is it Levinson's bad reputation, the tragic loss of a major cast member, or something else entirely?


The death of Angus Cloud left the cast and crew of Euphoria reeling

The Real Reason Euphoria Season 3 Was Delayed Is Deeper Than Fans Think


The world was shocked and saddened on July 31, 2023, when "Euphoria" star Angus Cloud, who played Fezco "Fez" O'Neill, was found dead by his family from an apparent drug overdose. The actor was just 25 years old at the time of his passing and had just experienced a loss of his own. After his death was announced, the Cloud family released a statement to CNN, reading, "Last week he buried his father and intensely struggled with this loss. Angus was open about his battle with mental health and we hope that his passing can be a reminder to others that they are not alone and should not fight this on their own in silence."

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The cast and crew of "Euphoria" publicly mourned their fallen friend and colleague, posting on social media and releasing their own statements about losing Cloud. In February of this year, newly minted Oscar nominee Colman Domingo revealed that a lot of the show's third season was set to center around Fezco's journey. "It was absolutely terrible because we felt like we lost one to the disease," the "Rustin" star told Vanity Fair. "And I'm sure it affected not only the creation of season three, because [Angus] was going to be a very strong part of it, but it's… I don't know." 

Cloud's death was tragic for so many reasons, and it's perfectly understandable that it might feel impossible for everyone involved in "Euphoria" to simply continue on without their castmate.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).


Sam Levinson's recent series was a huge critical flop

The Real Reason Euphoria Season 3 Was Delayed Is Deeper Than Fans Think


Then there's "The Idol," the much-maligned series made by Sam Levinson after the second season of "Euphoria." It's hard to say where to even start when it comes to this absolutely disastrous project. First, there were accusations of trouble behind the scenes and allegations that Levinson and Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye, who worked behind the scenes on "The Idol" and also stars as creepy cult leader Tedros, reworked the entire show after booting original player Amy Seimetz. Then, once it premiered, "The Idol" received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics, with Levinson's apparent message about the exploitation of young, famous women getting muddled by the show's extreme focus on nudity and, well, exploitation of its lead actress (Lily-Rose Depp). Then, "The Idol" ended abruptly after five episodes, with HBO later confirming that the series would not be returning for a second season.

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Sure, it feels far-fetched to say that Levinson's reported struggles with "Euphoria" Season 3 are related to this total dud of a show, but it's also safe to say that "The Idol" didn't exactly bolster Levinson's reputation. That reputation in question, though, is definitely relayed to the delayed third season of "Euphoria," because Levinson's inability to share control over his own work keeps getting in his own way.


Ultimately, Sam Levinson's staunch refusal to create a traditional writer's room is his downfall

The Real Reason Euphoria Season 3 Was Delayed Is Deeper Than Fans Think


Most great television shows come together thanks to a diverse, talented room full of writers — but that tactic apparently doesn't work for Sam Levinson. In February 2022, the New York Times revealed that HBO confirmed that Levinson works completely alone and eschews a traditional writers' room. This doesn't have to be a recipe for disaster; it's well-known that Emmy-winning writer Mike White creates each season of his anthology, "The White Lotus," solo. Based on Levinson's non-"Euphoria" work, though, his unwillingness to give up even an ounce of creative control feels troubling — largely because he has telegraphed, time and time again, that he doesn't take criticism well.

Take "Malcolm & Marie," a quarantine-era project led by only Zendaya and John David Washington, which focused on Washington's unnamed writer-director complaining about how critics just don't understand his work. We've already glossed over the troubling aspects of "The Idol," but the series constantly took cheap shots at critics and journalists, obviously referencing Levinson's disdain for anyone who doesn't understand his work. 

The third season of "Euphoria" doesn't need to be, to Levinson's eyes, "perfect." Season 2 certainly had its ups and downs — and it's frustrating for fans of the show that Levinson's obsessive, seemingly self-destructive qualities as a lone wolf writer will keep delaying the series.


Will Euphoria's cast members even be able to make Season 3 work in their busy schedules?

The Real Reason Euphoria Season 3 Was Delayed Is Deeper Than Fans Think


Finally, there's a big question mark regarding the cast of "Euphoria" — namely, will these talented performers try to wriggle out of their contracts while they wait endlessly for a third season? Barbie Ferreira, who appears on the show's first two seasons as shy teenager-turned-camgirl Kat Hernandez, already exited the series ahead of Season 3 due to alleged on-set disputes with Sam Levinson over the direction of her character. As for some of the other stars, their industry dance cards have filled up since "Euphoria" Season 2 wrapped up in February 2022, and a handful of them have become truly enormous stars.

Zendaya may have won two Emmys for her central performance as Rue Bennett on "Euphoria," but thanks to blockbusters like "Dune: Part Two," she's officially a member of Hollywood's young A-list. Sydney Sweeney's recent romantic comedy "Anyone But You," which she also produced, was a huge hit at the box office. Despite appearing in the box office bomb "Madame Web," her reputation remains excellent, especially as her new horror flick "Immaculate" makes waves. 

Jacob Elordi also showed up in two major 2023 releases — "Saltburn" and "Priscilla" — and is set to appear in Guillermo del Toro's highly anticipated take on "Frankenstein." Even Storm Reid, who plays a supporting role on "Euphoria" as Rue's younger sister, Gia, took home an Emmy for her guest role on HBO's "The Last of Us." It's a genuine concern at this point: by the time Levinson gets himself together and has a script for "Euphoria" Season 3, will the major cast members be willing to drop other potential commitments to return?

Whether or not the third season ever materializes, the first two seasons of "Euphoria" are available to stream on Max now.


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