Maciej Drążkiewicz from Unsplash
Multiple HBO shows have later release dates than initially anticipated, including continuing ones, such as White Lotus, Euphoria, and The Last of Us. The former two shows await a third season, whereas the latter’s second season has been highly anticipated by its audience since its January 2023 release. Almost all pending seasons of HBO shows have late 2024 and 2025 release dates.
This comes after the SAG-AFTRA strike called for film and television set shutdowns, along with actors and writers walking off their jobs and refusing to work until demands were met by studios. The strike began in July, and negotiations are currently underway. The studios just delivered a new offer, so the strike may officially end soon.
The strike involved professionals in the entertainment industry wanting better pay, better working conditions, residuals, and restrictions on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to scan actors for digital performances. Although some independent studios quickly offered contracts and resumed filming with SAG-AFTRA’s permission, such as A24 and Lionsgate, the major studios connected to the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP) halted their work.
HBO was particularly affected by the Writers Guild of America’s (WGA) strike, which overlapped with SAG-AFTRA’s strike. This set many productions back across platforms and studios, including some of HBO’s work. However, a press conference with Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys at HBO’s Manhattan offices confirmed a few seasons of our favorite shows releasing in 2024 and 2025.
The third season of White Lotus will appear on screens in 2025, which was pushed back for a few reasons, including a location switch from Japan to Thailand. According to IndieWire, the showrunners received a $4.4 million rebate to shoot in Thailand, which has a film incentive system. Japanese producer Georgina Pope commented on the switch during the Tokyo Film Festival.
“Everyone looked at me with sympathy,” Pope said. “At the time in Japan, we had no incentive in place at all. I could not respond with a concrete answer. All I could hear was the sound of a $35 million project flying out the window.”
The third season is currently shooting, but one show in the HBO lineup will come to audiences a bit sooner. Bloys confirmed that the Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, will release its second season in summer 2024. The first season received numerous accolades, including a Golden Globe for “Best Television Series - Drama,” three BAFTA awards, and nine nominations at the Primetime Emmy Awards. It’s been highly anticipated since its 2022 debut.
Two more HBO prequels delayed for production are Welcome to Derry and The Penguin. Welcome to Derry is a show developed by Andy and Barbara Muschietti, the filmmakers behind the It remakes in 2017 and 2019, along with Jason Fuchs. According to IMDb, the show will follow the town of Derry, Maine in the 1960s. The Penguin, on the other hand, is a prequel following Batman’s famous foe. Although it was slated for a spring 2024 release, it will now appear on Max later in 2024.
Euphoria’s third season is another one that fans have been waiting for, especially after creator Sam Levinson wrapped up The Idol over the summer. However, the second season was released at the beginning of 2022 and there weren’t many updates, so fans lost hope in following Zendaya’s character battle addiction, along with other insane storylines for a group of “teenagers.” The discouragement only grew when it was announced that Angus Cloud, the actor who played the beloved drug dealer with a heart of gold named Fezco, passed away.
HBO Drama Chief Francesca Orsi told Deadline back in May that Euphoria was headed toward a 2025 release. Many fans online have said that the years between seasons should be enough to cancel the show. However, Euphoria’s costume designer told Vogue that she suspects a time jump, which would explain the gaps between seasons well.
“I’m really excited to read the scripts,” Heidi Biven, the costume designer, said. “There is talk of it being approximately five years in the future, and that they’re not in high school anymore. Dorothy’s not in Kansas anymore. I mean, it might be a total trip.”
The last major change is the second season of The Last of Us starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, which is based on a video game of the same name. The show was a major hit on HBO’s streaming platform, Max. It also received 24 nominations at the 2023 Primetime Emmy Awards. Although the show was immediately renewed for a second season, the WGA strike pushed it back. Bloys announced that production will start in early 2024.
Although it’s been a long time coming, fans are excited to see plans for fresh content from their favorite HBO shows. As long as SAG-AFTRA negotiations go smoothly, fans get the opportunity to watch content from the comfort of their homes again all while knowing that the creatives who put the content together received the benefits they deserve.
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