New Report Details Internal Turmoil Behind the ‘Euphoria’ Season 3 Delay

Fans of Euphoria are still sitting on their hands waiting for a third (and likely final) season, but this week at least served up a heaping portion of their second-favorite hobby: digging into reports of behind-the-scenes mess.

The hit HBO series that introduced the concept of “Euphoria High School” to meme culture — where every student is a drug dealer, and outdoor sex is ubiquitous — is scheduled to return for season three, but when that will happen is anyone’s guess. Earlier this week, an HBO spokesperson rebutted rumors that the show had been canceled altogether, telling Variety that the network and creator Sam Levinson “remain committed to making an exceptional third season.” But according to a new report in Variety citing insider sources, multiple concepts and scripts for the third season have been rejected in the two years since the show last aired, leaving the future of Euphoria very much up in the air.

Levinson’s general concept for season three still involves a five-year time skip, Variety reported, an idea which HBO producers purportedly liked from the start. (Small wonder, as much of the cast — already notoriously past their “believable teen” years — are now solidly in their mid twenties.) But various parties reportedly balked at ideas for new character arcs, especially Levinson’s much-publicized pitch for Euphoria to switch gears into film noir and have Zendaya play a Veronica Mars-esque private detective. HBO binned that idea immediately, sources told Variety, and were similarly unreceptive to Zendaya’s own pitch for Rue to become a pregnancy surrogate after kicking her drug habit.

The showrunner is now “taking another swing” at scripts, Variety confirmed, and stars Zendaya, Sydney Sweeney, and Jacob Elordi are all reportedly committed to returning with Levinson still in command. But an anonymous cast member told The Daily Beast earlier this week that they don’t actually believe a third season will happen after all, citing the years of production delays and criticizing HBO for preventing actors from seeking other work during that time. (The network also stated on Monday that the cast would be released from their contracts to book other roles.)

“Since they have put it on hiatus, I can now take any job,” the cast member said. “But what sucks is that we all had more momentum right when the show came out, but now it’s been two years of waiting.”

HBO also considered letting Levinson go entirely, according to the new Variety report. The showrunner has been connected to some of Euphoria’s biggest controversies, from concerns over “unnecessary” nudity and sex and disputed reports of on-set toxicity to allegations that Levinson ripped off the work of multiple female creators for Euphoria, not to mention his now-infamous show with The Weeknd, The Idol.

Euphoria’s return was further delayed last year following the sudden death of series regular Angus Cloud, who was set to play a larger role in early drafts for the third season.

“He was one of the most unique and pure-hearted people I’ve ever met,” Zendaya told Variety in the wake of Cloud’s death in July. “I hope he knows how loved he is, how much we miss him and how much better the world is for having felt his glow.”

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