AFC Richmond is poised for a bitter rivalry during the 2022-23 Premier League season — but what else do we know about the highly anticipated return of Ted Lasso?
As you’ll recall, Season 2 of the Emmy-winning Apple TV+ comedy ended on a major cliffhanger: Almost as soon as Richmond was promoted, their assistant coach went and betrayed the team. After lashing out at Ted, Nate resigned and took a job as head coach of Rupert’s newly acquired West Ham United.
So, what happens now? And how soon might we see the Bantr-backed football club back out on the pitch, in direct competition with egomaniacal Coach Shelley?
Read on for a breakdown of everything that’s already been reported about Ted Lasso Season 3 — from the inevitable time jump to its delayed premiere — then hit the comments with your hopes for the series’ return.
PRODUCTION WAS DELAYED
Whereas Seasons 1 and 2 of the Emmy-winning Apple TV+ comedy bowed in August 2020 and July 2021, respectively, series co-creator Brendan Hunt (aka Coach Beard) previously told TVLine that viewers should anticipate a slightly later premiere date for Season 3 due to a “football wrinkle” that held up production.
“We are definitely starting later this year than in Season 2, that’s for sure,” he said in Feb. 2022. “So I would be surprised if our delivery dates were the same. That’s above my pay grade, I don’t know for sure, but I do have a vague understanding of the limits of this dimension we call time, and I would say it seems pretty unlikely that we would [premiere] as early this year.”
Production commenced one month later, on March 7, and wrapped Nov. 18.
A TIME JUMP IS TO BE EXPECTED
Asked what he could reveal about where the new episodes pick up, Hunt delivered us a delicious teaser:
“Well, we don’t like to do the same thing twice,” he said. “In Season 1, we joined the [Premier League] season in January. In Season 2, we joined the season in late September. We’ve never gone from the start of a season, so perhaps that’s something we want to get to. And just by dint of how the schedule works in the English Premier League, we will play West Ham twice — home and away, because that’s how it goes.”
For those unfamiliar with the English Premier League schedule, a season typically begins in August and ends in May — and since Ted Lasso Season 2 concluded at the end of a season, we can deduce that there will be a two-month time jump upon the series’ return, assuming we pick up on (or close to) the first match of the year.
Hunt’s tease also confirmed that Coach Lasso and AFC Richmond will face Coach Shelley and West Ham not once, but twice over the course of 12 episodes.
NATE'S REDEMPTION WON'T COME EASY — IF AT ALL
Just because Ted Lasso is a feel-good show doesn’t mean viewers should anticipate a feel-good ending for The Man Formerly Known as Nate the Great.
“I think what people would like is a redemption arc in Season 3,” portrayer Nick Mohammed opined in the immediate aftermath of that Season 2 cliffhanger. “But also, there’s a very good chance that Nate has gone too far over the mark and can’t come back from this. And he may be the one character that doesn’t get a redemption arc… You never know what [the writers] might do.”
AT LEAST ONE ORIGIN STORY IS IN THE WORKS
The next batch of episodes will delve “deeper” into the characters’ backstories, according to supervising producer Kip Kroeger. “We’re going to get a little more information about where they came from.”
Per Deadline, Hunt has said that one such origin story will shine a light on Rebecca’s relationship with ex-husband Rupert (played by recurring guest star Anthony Head).
THESE FAN-FAVORITE CHARACTERS WILL RETURN
In an interview with Deadline, executive producer Bill Lawrence confirmed that both series regular Sarah Niles (who was first introduced in Season 2 as team psychologist Dr. Sharon Fieldstone) and recurring guest star James Lance (who in Seasons 1 and 2 played sports columnist Trent Crimm) will factor heavily into the next 12 episodes, despite their presumed exits in the Season 2 finale.
“I can tell you both of them have significant roles next year,” he said.
Season 2’s penultimate episode marked Sharon’s departure from AFC Richmond. Ted and Sharon headed out for last-day drinks at the Crown & Anchor, where Ted one-upped Sharon’s previous attempt at an Irish goodbye. Sharon, however, was still in touch with Ted in the following episode. The opening scene featured a voicemail she had left for the club’s coach after Trent’s exposé was published online.
The finale also revealed that Trent was no longer employed as a journalist. He ratted himself out for revealing a source and got sacked by The Independent.
In additional casting news, For All Mankind‘s Jodi Balfour will recur in Season 3 as charming venture capitalist Jack. No further details have been disclosed.
RICHMOND KITS ARE GETTING AN UPGRADE
To mark the start of production, Apple TV+ offered a first look at AFC Richmond’s new kits.
“Never Done Believing,” a tweet from Nike read, along with a glimpse at the new and improved jerseys. In response, the official account for AFC Richmond responded, “So proud to have Nike as our new official kit supplier.”
It was previously reported by our sister pub Sportico that Apple had inked a six-figure licensing deal with the Premier League that would allow Ted Lasso to use Premier League footage and showcase team logos in upcoming episodes.
Never Done Believing. @AFCRichmond @TedLasso pic.twitter.com/33IVSA3WXP
— Nike (@Nike) March 7, 2022
Nike appear to be dropping a Ted Lasso @AFCRichmond kit 👀 pic.twitter.com/r5Zowcb9ab
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 7, 2022
SEASON 3 IS BEING WRITTEN AS THE FINAL ONE
As recently as September 2022, series star/co-creator Jason Sudeikis refused to confirm that Ted Lasso, which he initially envisioned as a three-season story, would exit the pitch after its upcoming run.
“I don’t know,” he told reporters after the series took home its second consecutive Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series (per Deadline). “It’s up to more factors than myself. The response has been overwhelming. We have a tremendous group of writers, actors, people in production and post-production, all of those thrown in the jambalaya of possibility. I couldn’t say yes or no… If I knew, I wouldn’t tell you.”
But months before Sudeikis suggested that no decision had been made, fellow star (and series scribe) Brett Goldstein, aka Roy, gave an interview to the UK’s Sunday Times and implied that Season 3 would mark the end of the (Nelson) Road.
“We are writing it like that,” he said in June. “It was planned as three. Spoiler alert: everyone dies.”
Hannah Waddingham, who plays Rebecca, has also gone on record about potentially wrapping the show.
“We are halfway through shooting Season 3 and I would like to pause things because I’m not ready to say goodbye to [Rebecca],” she told Deadline in July. “Brett and I were talking about [saying goodbye] earlier and we’re both a little bit in denial…. It’s like a long, slow mourning.” (Last Update: Friday, Dec. 23.)