The White Lotus, creator Mike White’s Emmy-winning social satire, is officially returning with season 3 and is set to begin filming in Thailand this month. Like the first two seasons, the new installment will take place at another one of the luxury hotel’s exotic locations, where a new group of guests and employees will find their lives clashing in unexpected ways.
With production getting underway, HBO has been announcing the cast and officially revealed the location for The White Lotus‘ upcoming third season, with the latest cast additions including Scott Glenn and Patrick Schwarzenegger.
In anticipation, ET is exploring everything we know so far about the cast, location and plot — including White’s latest hints and what many of the sprawling ensemble have previously said about returning.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that Scott Glenn would be joining the cast. This will be Glenn’s big return to HBO after acting in The Leftovers for all three seasons.
Last month, The White Lotus added five more actors for the upcoming third season, which includes Schwarzenegger, Walter Goggins, Sarah Catherine Hook, Sam Nivola and Aimee Lou Wood. HBO had previously announced that Leslie Bibb, Dom Hetrakul, Jason Isaacs, Michelle Monaghan, Parker Posey and Tayme Thapthimthong were all set to join the series, alongside previously announced returning cast member Natasha Rothwell, who reprises her role as spa manager Belinda Lindsey from the inaugural Hawaii-set season.
“I can’t say anything. I literally can’t,” Rothwell told ET in December. “I will say I’ve read all of the scripts and people are in for a treat. It’s bigger than ever. Buckle up.”
Many fans previously wondered whether Jennifer Coolidge would return as Tanya McQuiod, the grief-stricken guest who found solace in Greg Hunt (Jon Gries) in season 1 before the two’s romance started to fall apart in season 2. The 62-year-old actress won her first Primetime Emmy for season 1 and was nominated again for reprisal.
In an interview with Deadline, White said that he couldn’t imagine doing another installment without her. “Jennifer is my friend and everybody loved her in the first season, and I was like, ‘I can’t go to Italy without Jennifer.’ And maybe that’s still the case. Like, maybe you can’t go to Japan without Jennifer, either.”
And Coolidge seemed to be open for more. “Yes, yes. Of course,” she told ET when asked about returning, before adding, “I mean, I don’t know what Mike has in mind. But yes, I would love [to come back].”
However, based on the season 2 finale, Coolidge’s involvement with the series has come to an end.
While Rothwell is the only returning star tapped for this season, there are still plenty of other White Lotus alums who would jump at the chance to check in again. White previously told Deadline, “There are so many fun actors we’ve worked with so far, so it’s just kind of like who’s available.”
Prior to the announcement of her role reprisal, Rothwell previously gushed, “I will follow Mike White to the ends of the earth.” Her upcoming material could be a way to tie up loose ends involving Tanya’s storyline, which may need some closure following the events of season 2.
Of the season 1 ensemble, several have told ET that they are willing to come back for another stay at the White Lotus.
“I would do anything with Mike White. Like, White Lotus season 3 [or] something totally different. You know, help him move boxes into a new house. Like, whatever he wants. I absolutely adore him and think he’s a genius. So, if he’s got something going and I get a call, I will be there,” Jake Lacy said, confirming that he’s “100 percent” in if White wants him to reprise his role as demanding guest Shane Patton.
Alexandra Daddario, who played Shane’s wife Rachel, is also down to come back. “If he had a great idea, then of course,” she said. “I would do anything… Just being a small part of the series is amazing.”
As for other season 1 stars, Connie Britton, who played mother and businesswoman Nicole Mossbacher, said, “With any luck, maybe I’ll be in another season.”
After the finale, Britton’s onscreen daughter, Sydney Sweeney, said there had been conversations with the show about the possibility of returning, with the Euphoria star revealing that she’s open to whatever direction the creator decides to take things in the future. “I’m just so excited for Mike,” she said. “Mike’s writing is just so much fun and so incredible.”
As for the season 2 cast, there are just as many who want to come back — especially now that audiences know who made it out of Sicily alive.
When asked if she could be back as the uptight Harper Spiller, Aubrey Plaza said, “I hope so. It depends on if I’m, like, a fan favorite. I think, you know, it just depends on who people want [to see again].” F. Murray Abraham, who plays aging patriarch Bert Di Grasso, said he wants to return for season 3 as well as seasons 4 through 6 — if there are that many. “But I’m really happy to have been in this one,” he shared.
One guest fans know is alive and well is Daphne Babcock (Meghann Fahy), who found herself vacationing with Harper and their two husbands at the Sicilian property before discovering a mysterious body in the water. “Oh my God, of course,” Fahy said of returning. “I mean, I would pass out water on the third season. It’s such an amazing set to be on. Like, just to witness everybody working. The cast is so amazing and watching Mike work is so cool. I mean, I would totally be there, of course.”
Sadly, one other person who cannot return is Murray Bartlett as season 1’s hotel manager Armand. That is, unless “we, like, go back in time or something,” he offered. And that seems like an unlikely turn for the series.
The White Lotus season 3 will be set in Thailand, with filming to take place in and around Koh Samui, Phuket and Bangkok. HBO announced in January 2024 that it is working directly with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to support the filming and production of the show.
“We are honored to have Amazing Thailand featured as the filming location for the highly anticipated upcoming season of The White Lotus,” said Thapanee Kiatphaibool, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. “The kingdom’s exotic natural beauty, rich historical sites and diverse landscapes are the perfect settings to share our fascinating culture, fantastic cuisine, top-notch wellness and luxury offerings, and most importantly our people and Thai hospitality. Thailand has long been considered one of the world’s favorite filming locations. The White Lotus project will certainly strengthen the kingdom’s status as a preferred filming destination and a beacon of experience-based tourism, inspiring even more visitors to Amazing Thailand.”
The destination lines up perfectly with White’s plans for the newest installment. “The first season we highlighted money and then the second season is sex and I think the third season, it would be maybe a kind of satirical and funny look at death in Eastern religion and spirituality,” he said in a making-of-season 2 video. “It feels like it could be a rich tapestry to do another round at White Lotus.”
Not only that but the Four Seasons, which has served as the filming location in the first two seasons, has multiple luxury hotels in the country. (In season 1, the Four Seasons Maui served as the White Lotus property while Four Seasons San Domenico Palace was stand-in for the property in season 2.)
While White is keeping mum about the storyline for now, he did tell EW, “It’s going to be a supersized White Lotus. It’s going to be longer, bigger, crazier. I don’t know what people will think, but I am super excited, so at least for my own barometer, that’s a good thing … I’m super excited about the content of the season.”
The White Lotus seasons 1 and 2 are now streaming on Max.