- Renewed by Netflix in September 2021
- Likely to maintain the same eight-episode structure as previous seasons
- No release date set as yet, though its expected to arrive in early 2023
- Asa Butterfield, Emma Mackey, Ncuti Gatwa and Gillian Anderson are all confirmed to return
- However, Patricia Allison, Simone Ashley, Rakhee Thakrar and Tanya Reynold won't feature
- Dan Levy has joined the cast
- Story is likely to focus on the imminent closure of Moordale
Sex Education season 4 has been officially confirmed by Netflix, and by the sounds of things, we don't have too long to wait for the series' return.
Laurie Nunn's groundbreaking high school drama has been among our pick of the best Netflix shows since first airing in 2019, and it came as no surprise to see Netflix renew Sex Education for a fourth outing given how quickly season 3 shot to the top of its most-watched charts at the end of last year.
We, for one, are excited to be returning to the series' hormone-laden halls for season 4 – especially after season 3's cliffhanger finale left several major questions unanswered.
In this article, we’ve rounded up all the latest news, rumors and tidbits that might give us a clue as to where the mega-popular Netflix show is headed next. We've also explored our own predictions about what's coming up in Sex Education's story.
Naturally, spoilers for Sex Education seasons 1-3 are disclosed ahead, so proceed with caution.
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Emma Mackey, Ncuti Gatwa, Gillian Anderson and Aimee Lou Wood will all return, though Patricia Allison, Simone Ashley, Rakhee Thakrar and Tanya Reynold have confirmed that they won't be reprising their roles.
Story predictions: With Moordale cash-strapped and set to close at the end of Sex Education season 3, this dilemma will form the main narrative thrust of season 4. Episodes will also touch on Maeve's new life in America. We've detailed further likely plot threads further down this article.
Release date: Shooting for new episodes officially kicked off on July 4, 2022, so we don't expect season 4 to arrive until January 2023 at the earliest.
Sex Education season 4 release date
At present, there’s been no confirmed release date for Sex Education season 4 – though rest assured that the show has been officially renewed by Netflix. For our money, it'll arrive in the first half of 2023.
That estimate was corroborated by a 2021 casting call for season 4, in which producers on the show voiced their desire to hire two trans actors for a pair of new characters. "The project shoots April-November 2022," the call said – and a recent production listing (opens in new tab) confirmed that filming got underway in July – meaning we're certainly not going to see Sex Education season 4 arrive this year.
CASTING CALL for two new trans characters in SEX EDUCATION Season 4 @NetflixUK 🍆 Trans actors get on it!!! 😁💗🌸💪🏾 Pls share with pals too! pic.twitter.com/QUQ9tTms8YNovember 17, 2021
We're pleased that the show will be returning, though, even if there’s only so many years Moordale’s students can remain at the fictional school before it becomes illogical for them to continue roaming the classrooms as twenty-somethings destined for university.
Still, that may indeed be a path the series decides to take, and now Netflix has renewed Sex Education for season 4, it could possibly follow the release schedule of previous entries – a pandemic-hampered third season notwithstanding – which each landed in January of 2019 and 2020, respectively.
The latest official update regarding Sex Education's upcoming season came in April 2022, when the Netflix UK Twitter account teased (opens in new tab) the following message: "More sex. More drama. Moor…dale. What happens next? Well, we can’t tell you that. But we CAN tell you to watch this space for news of Season 4."
We're keeping our ears open for more official mutterings in the coming months.
Sex Education season 4 cast
As for who's returning to the show in season 4, series mainstays Asa Butterfield, Emma Mackey, Ncuti Gatwa, Gillian Anderson, Aimee Lou Wood and Mimi Keene will all reprise their roles as Otis, Maeve, Eric, Jean, Aimee and Ruby, respectively.
The likes of Connor Swindells (Adam), Kedar Williams-Stirling (Jackson) and Mikael Persbrandt (Jakob) all seem likely to return, too, along with most of the show’s new season 3 characters, including headteacher Hope (Jemima Kirke) and new student Cal (Dua Saleh).
Patricia Allison, however, won't be reprising her role as Ola in Sex Education. The actor revealed, on Capital Xtra in July, that she “won’t be joining the team” for the series' fourth season, citing a wish to pursue “some other little things.”
The same goes for Simone Ashley, whose ongoing commitments to another Netflix series, Bridgerton, mean she’s unable to return as Olivia Hanan in Sex Education’s forthcoming season. Rakhee Thakrar (Miss Sands) and Tanya Reynold (Lily) won't be reprising their roles, either, with both set to focus on other projects.
The future of Emma Mackey’s Maeve Wiley was uncertain for a time, but we now know that Mackey is currently filming for new episodes of the show (per Radio Times (opens in new tab)). Given her character's departure to America at the end of season 3, though, the Death on the Nile actor has confirmed that she won't be appearing "as consistently" as she has in previous seasons.
Still, since Mackey is currently filming alongside Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling for Greta Gerwig's highly-anticipated Barbie movie, fans should be grateful that she hasn't completely prioritized new, Hollywood-calibre roles over her return to Sex Education (which she was perfectly entitled to do).
Incidentally, Ncuti Gatwa, who is also on the call sheet for Gerwig's Barbie movie, has been confirmed as the next Doctor Who, so while there was an outside chance that he, too, could bow out of Sex Education's forthcoming episodes, his involvement was officially confirmed in August 2022.
As per the aforementioned casting call, several new actors will be joining Sex Education for season 4 – but hopefully in a more substantial capacity than the greatly under-used Jason Isaacs in season 3.
One of those actors is Schitt's Creek star Dan Levy, who will be appearing in Sex Education season 4 as Maeve's American tutor, Mr. Molloy. You can check out the pair in action via the tweet (shared by Netflix in August) below:
Sex Education Season 4 is now in production — and Dan Levy has joined the cast as Mr. Molloy! pic.twitter.com/Lxitrgb0FaAugust 19, 2022
Sex Education season 4 story
As above, Sex Education’s third season conjured an air of finality for certain narrative threads – but it blew open a lot more, too.
As Mackey herself has admitted (see aforementioned cast information), Maeve’s jetting off to America will have consequences for her screen time in season 4, which may see Otis forced to get over his love for her once and for all, despite the promise of a mutual romance before Maeve’s decision to leave the country.
As a teaser synopsis (opens in new tab) for Sex Education's forthcoming season reads: "Sex Education season 4 follows Eric and Otis at Cavendish Sixth Form College with a student-led non-competitive approach. In the US, Maeve is studying at Wallace University. Otis is pining after her, while adjusting to not being an only child, or the only therapist on campus." It sounds like a lot more heartache is on the cards, then.
Other characters, though, seem in for an even rockier ride. Adam and Eric decided to go their separate ways after a season of romantic highs and lows, with the latter’s kissing another man in Nigeria acting as the nail in the coffin for a relationship which always seemed oddly balanced, given Adam’s ongoing journey to understanding his own sexuality. But we also saw Adam growing closer to Eric’s ex Rahim in season 3’s later episodes, suggesting there’s potential for a romance between the pair that once seemed impossible.
Elsewhere, after receiving the results of a paternity test, it seems as though Jean’s new baby daughter, Joy, may not be Jakob’s after all. This twist isn’t confirmed yet, but her shock – and “oh s**t!” – at the result suggests the pair are in for some awkward conversations ahead.
Then there’s the question of Jackson and Cal’s relationship moving forward, Hope’s as-yet-unexplored struggle to conceive a child and, in perhaps the biggest plot shake-up of all, the immediate future of Moordale.
In season 3’s final episode, it was revealed that the school would be closing due to a lack of investors – a move supposedly brought about by the students’ reluctance to back down from their calls for sexual liberation on campus.
This will have big implications for Sex Education season 4. Will Moordale’s students and staff be forced to move elsewhere? The aforementioned synopsis detailing a "Cavendish Sixth Form College" suggests so.
As such, we'd expect the series' main characters rally alongside the local community to generate some last-ditch funding for Moordale – their real school – though this is a challenge that would probably occupy the entire season.
That would be our best guess for the main narrative hook of Sex Education’s fourth run, anyway. Sure, it’ll be interesting to see how Otis copes in Maeve’s absence, how Adam deals with his break-up with Eric and how Jean plans on telling Jakob that her child probably isn’t his – but without Moordale school, there’s no Sex Education.
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