Netflix’s Master of None will return in May with a third season that reportedly dials down Aziz Ansari’s on-screen presence, more than three years after the acclaimed comedy’s co-creator was the subject of a sexual assault allegation.
Instead of focusing on Ansari’s character of Dev Shah, the new season will spotlight Lena Waithe’s Denise, Variety reports. A Netflix rep declined to comment.
Master of None‘s exploration of Denise’s sexuality, in a Season 2 episode titled “Thanksgiving,” focused primarily on her instead of Dev and earned Ansari and Waithe their first Emmy for writing. Angela Bassett guest-starred as Denise’s mom (and earned an Emmy nod).
Moving away from the first two seasons’ focus on Dev as a single man looking for love helps the series and Netflix move away from the aforementioned incident in Ansari’s personal life. In January 2018, a 23-year-old woman posted an article online alleging that a date with Ansari had ended with a nonconsensual sexual encounter with the actor.
Soon after, Ansari released a statement saying, “it was true that everything did seem okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned. I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said.”
A year later, Ansari explained his side of things further with the Netflix standup special Aziz Ansari: Right Now. In it, he addressed the allegations, admitting that he “felt terrible” that his accuser felt that he had violated her.
“There’s times I felt scared, there’s times I felt humiliated, there’s times I felt embarrassed,” he said on the special. “And ultimately, I just felt terrible that this person felt this way. And after a year or so, I just hope it was a step forward. It moved things forward for me, made me think about a lot. I hope I’ve become a better person.”
Master of None, which has twice been Emmy-nominated for best comedy series, and for which Ansari won a Golden Globe in 2018 for best comedy actor, released its second season back in May 2017.