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You season 3: cast and story predictions for the drama's return to Netflix

Penn Badgley walking on a field as Joe, and he'll be back for You season 3.
(Image credit: Beth Dubber/Netflix)

You season 3 finished filming in April 2021, and Netflix has confirmed that a release date is set for the final three months of this year. While we're not sure exactly when that'll be yet, it's exciting news for fans of Netflix's twisted, soapy drama, especially since it's been almost two years since we last checked in on the dark story of Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley). 

You wasn't a hit when Netflix got the streaming rights. Starting out as a modest success on Lifetime in the US, Netflix turned the show into a monster success, meaning that anticipation for this third season is incredibly high. The producers have drawn praise for turning what could've been a deeply problematic show about obsession into a deep, character-led drama.

While we don't know You season 3's precise release date yet, there's a lot to talk about already – below, we'll round up everything we know about the show's return so far. That includes how season 2 ended, which new cast members are coming in season 3, and where we expect the story to go next.

Here's what we know so far.

You season 3 release date: 2021 confirmed

Netflix officially confirmed that You season 3 will release in the second half of 2021 in a letter to investors. That's a relief for fans waiting to see how Joe's descent continues. In a follow-up conversation captured by Deadline, Netflix narrowed the official release date down to the last quarter of 2021 – so some time between October and the end of December.

You season 3 resumed filming in November 2020, and officially wrapped filming on April 24, 2021, according to the show's official Twitter account:

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That means the show should have no problem hitting its late 2021 release date.

While we haven't heard much about You season 3's story yet, we do know that Caroline Kepnes, the author behind the novels from which the show is inspired, has finished the third book in the series. You Love Me was published in April 2021, continuing the story. 

You season 3 cast: 13 new characters have been added

In November 2020, we got a huge number of new You season 3 cast announcements (see all their character backgrounds at Variety). Here's the core cast, including the 13 new names, the fresh cast members they'll join, and the returning faces:

  • Penn Badgely: Joe
  • Victoria Pedretti: Love
  • Scott Speedman: Matthew
  • Travis Van Winkle: Cary
  • Shalita Grant: Sherry
  • Saffron Burrows: Dottie
  • Dylan Arnold: Theo
  • Tati Gabrielle: Marienne
  • Michaela McManus: Natalie
  • Shannon Chan-Kent: Kiki
  • Ben Mehl: Dante
  • Chris O'Shea: Andrew
  • Christopher Sean: Brandon
  • Bryan Safi: Jackson
  • Mackenzie Astin: Gil
  • Ayelet Zurer: Dr Chandra
  • Jack Fisher: Young Joe Goldberg
  • Mauricio Lara: Friend of Young Joe

In 2020, we got confirmation of two (obvious) returning cast members: Badgley will return as Joe, and Victoria Pedretti as Love. The continued presence of Love in Joe's life was a pretty sure thing given how season 2 ended, with the couple in a pretty unholy union (more on what that twist means for season 3 below). Hopefully, we'll see the return of the extended cast of Quinn family and friends from season 2 as well.

We'll also be getting a new face in the shape of Scott Speedman (Animal Kingdom, Underworld. According to Deadline, "Speedman will play Matthew, a successful CEO, husband, and uncommunicative father. He’s reserved, at times mysterious, and has a tendency to be withdrawn, all of which masks a deep well of emotion underneath." 

Speedman joins the other new cast members: Travis Van Winkle and Shalita Grant. Grant is to play Sherry, a mean girl who feels threatened by Love, who puts on a front as a friendly 'Momfluencer'. Van Winkle will be Cary, a wealthy, charming "Master of Self-Optimization". With Cary and Matthew around, Joe has some more competition in the eligible bachelor department.

You season 3 story: what to expect next year

Season 2 of You drastically stepped up the melodrama, diverging from the books with a pretty shocking character reveal. When Love is forced to confront Joe's true nature by his first victim, Candace, she takes the news in a way few people saw coming – by stabbing Candace in the throat. 

It was a jaw-dropper of a moment, revealing that Love is as obsessive and inclined toward murder as Joe is. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Badgley offers some insight into the gender politics the show explores through Joe's rejection of his partner's darkest tendencies. 

"...it's like, 'OK yeah, theoretically they're the same – but then he denies her, which again brings up the archetypes of man and woman and the oppression of women, the inequality of men and women," Badgley says. He goes on to hint at a deeper look into Love in season three, noting that she: "...she doesn't appear to be the same kind of person, she doesn't appear to be the same kind of predator."

It's not just Love that season three plans to interrogate more thoroughly. Showrunner Sera Gamble is planning an even darker future for Joe, too. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Gamble talked about how the ending of season 2 doesn't indicate good things for our protagonist. 

Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg in You on Netflix.

(Image credit: Tyler Golden/Netflix)

In the wake of Love's revelations of murder, she also surprises Joe with the news that she is now carrying his child, securing her future with him (for now). We see the two move to the suburbs (with Love's mother in tow) and it's here that Joe spies his new neighbor through the fence – a possible new subject of his obsessive nature. 

"I think to me, the most important thing about that last scene is just it is confirmation that Joe is still Joe," Gamble says, "in a way that's not going to be great for Joe." What drives Joe, and how that makes us feel about his actions, was clearly Gamble's vision for season two, which saw an extensive dive into the traumatic childhoods of both Joe and Love. Even though their histories are pretty different, we learn that both leads experienced physical and emotional abuse as well as perpetrating acts of violence at a very young age. 

The finale was designed to set up, "a much more suburban, insular world where Joe would be a complete fish out of water". How Joe handles fatherhood will be an interesting element of next season – the past two seasons have shown that he's particularly protective of the children in his life.

Badgley told TVLine that Joe and Love are "not soulmates. He's afraid of her at the end. Basically, it's set up for season 3 in a way where they would be each other's arch nemesis." That's a lot of potential material for You season 3 to explore. 

You could run for even more seasons on Netflix

Joe's story won't necessarily be complete with You season 3, either. "I am not scared at all of saying that we definitely could follow Joe for several more seasons," Gamble told THR. Don't worry about the writers running out of ways to test their protagonists, either. "Because we believe in the world that Caroline gave us and we believe in these characters, we just know they'll keep finding really fucked up shit to get into."

You is a one-of-a-kind show

Penn Badgley walking on a field as Joe, and he'll be back for You season 3.

(Image credit: Beth Dubber/Netflix)

Netflix's guilty pleasure hit deserves its status as one of the biggest shows on the platform. With author Carlone Kepnes already working on book four in her You series, it should mean the producers have enough source material to chew on for a while yet. 

You feels like a fresh, sexy and oddly dangerous series – it's like an odd mix of soap opera and Hannibal, mixing dark thriller vibes with ludicrous twists for something extremely watchable. While on paper it looks a little too problematic to work, Gamble has found the right balance between darkness and deep characterization to pull it off. We can't wait for more. 

Bring on You season 3. 

James Wood
James Wood is the Director Of Business Development EMEA & APAC at Aptean.