Break out the glittery eyeshadow and the Zendaya fan art: Euphoria season 2 is on its way. Fresh on the heels of Zendaya's history-making win at the 72nd Annual Emmys—the 24-year-old actress snagged the Lead Actress in a Drama Series trophy for her portrayal of teen addict Rue Bennett—HBO confirmed that the pieces are finally falling into place for the series's second highly anticipated season.
COVID-19 previously threw a major wrench in production's plans to roll out the second season just a year after the first season's buzzy finale in August 2019, but things are getting back on track. Here's everything we know about Euphoria season 2.
What happened at the end of Euphoria season 1?
The eighth and final episode of season 1, titled "And Salt the Earth Behind You," saw Rue relapsing (in a surreal musical sequence); Jules leaving for the big city; Kat and Ethan getting together at the winter formal; Cassie seeking out an abortion; and Maddy swiping an incriminating CD from Nate's room that could expose Nate's father.
When does season 2 of Euphoria premiere?
Good news and bad news: Because of COVID-19, season 2's production was extremely delayed—as in, it started filming in 2021, despite original targets to premiere season 2 this year. Following the 2020 Emmys, HBO president Casey Bloys told Deadline that Euphoria will likely begin filming season 2 in "early 2021." (So expect a premiere date of very late 2021 or early 2022.)
Things seem to be on track with the show's filming goals. On February 17, 2021, a Backstage listing revealed that production for Euphoria season 2 is beginning on April 5 in Los Angeles.
And Zendaya is officially back at work as of May 5, 2021. The actress shared some sweet pics from set to Instagram Stories. The first shows actor Angus Cloud (Euphoria's Fez) perched on a counter; she captioned it, "Missed this kid." She also posted a snap of the sound stage the show uses for filming, writing atop it, "Just being back here in general...missed it."
Other cast members seem equally excited to be returning to set. Deadline asked Eric Dane for a filming schedule update on Euphoria to which he said, "In mid-April. We’re actually started now on Season 2. I think I don’t start shooting for a couple weeks, but we are. I’m sure we’re going to get this out as soon as we can. We’ve set a pretty high bar. I’m very proud of that show, everybody involved is very proud of that show."
To help bridge the extremely long gap between seasons 1 and 2, the show put out “special COVID episodes.” Zendaya first hinted at the in-between episodes during an interview in August on Jimmy Kimmel Live! “I don’t really know how to describe it, but an episode that we can do with a limited amount of people in a safer environment," she said at the time. "Because we also miss Euphoria, as the people who create it, too."
What happened in the in-between episodes?
The early December episode was titled “Trouble Don’t Last Always,” and followed Rue's Christmas celebrations. In the 50-second trailer—complete with Euphoria's trademark swirling filmography—a somber Rue, swaddled in her signature red hoodie, sits at a diner as the season 1 finale flashes through her mind. As Rue recalls leaving Jules at the train station, her voiceover says, "Maybe I deserve it." The trailer ends with Rue's Narcotics Anonymous sponsor Ali (Colman Domingo) appearing at her table to ask, “Why’d you call me?”
On January 19, HBO treated fans to a trailer for the second of the two bridge chapters, this one centered on Jules. The chilling clip—set to Billie Eilish and Rosalía's new song “Lo Vas a Olvidar”—follows Jules "over the Christmas holiday as she reflects on the year," per HBO. The trailer mixes footage from season 1 with dreamy shots of the ocean and intense never-before-seen clips from Jules's life. A poignant moment in the trailer comes from Rue asking Jules, "So why'd you run away?"
The episode, titled "F*ck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob," was co-written by Levinson and Schafer. Watch the trailer below.
Fans were absolutely floored by Schafer's writing and performance in the episode, noting her powerful and realistic portrayal of a teenager dealing with the messy traumas of growing up. (So don't be surprised if the actress is a frontrunner in the 2021 Emmys.) Said Levinson to GQ, "I loved the challenge that COVID restrictions put on the show as a medium. We shot everything in that diner in three-and-a-half days."
What will Euphoria season 2 be about?
In July 2019, HBO announced that the second season had been greenlit, even before the first season had finished its run.
“Euphoria creator Sam Levinson has built an incredible world with an extraordinary cast led by the supremely talented Zendaya,” Francesca Orsi, EVP, HBO Programming, said in a statement obtained by EW. “We are so grateful that he chose HBO as the home for this groundbreaking series. We look forward to following these complex characters as their journeys continue through the challenging world they inhabit.”
And in an interview with InStyle, Zendaya confirmed that a "beautiful" second season had been written. But no other concrete plot details have been shared yet. Levinson's known for rewriting his scripts all the way through the filming process, and didn't rule out rewrites on season 2, either.
Talking to Stylecaster, Sydney Sweeney (who plays Cassie) teased at a season 2 story arc that is apparently so over-the-top that it shocked even her:
"I can tease that, when you ask about season 2, my heart drops. In a you-guys-have-no-idea-what-you’re-going-to-watch way. Cassie really needs to get her shit together. I can’t say anything else. Cassie has a crazy storyline in season 2 that I did not expect. Every time I read a new episode that Sam writes, my jaw is on the ground and I can’t believe this is something coming out of someone’s mind."
So that sounds intriguing!
Will the whole cast of Euphoria return for season 2?
Despite Fezco (Angus Cloud) and Rue's season 1 arcs ending on a cliffhanger, it's safe to assume both, especially newly-minted Emmy-winner Zendaya, will return to the show. Showrunner Sam Levinson previously confirmed that Rue didn't die in the finale.
"I think Rue has a big journey ahead of her, and a tough one," he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019, adding, "It's not something I want to cut short because of who Rue means to me as someone who has battled with addiction and come out the other side, and because I think that there's a lot more to delve into and unpack in terms of the effects of addiction on Rue and on her family and those around her. The possibilities are endless in many ways."
And while season 1 ended with Jules hopping a train out of town, Hunter Schafer spoke to EW about her hopes for her character's season 2 arc, seemingly confirming she'll also be reprising her role.
"I think I want to continue to see Jules work on herself in that she’s still got some major issues and to continue to dissect that and feel it out," Schafer said. "I think she learns from experiencing things. And so to experience what she needs to, without being messy, that’s from the sort of loving parent/sister relationship I feel like I have with her. That’s what I want for her, although who knows how it will play out. I’m sure it will be more messy than I would hope for her."
Fans should expect to see the rest of the breakthrough ensemble cast, including Barbie Ferreira as Kat Hernandez; Jacob Elordi as Nate Jacobs; Sydney Sweeney as Cassie Howard; Alexa Demie as Maddy Perez; Maude Apatow as Lexi Howard; and Storm Reid as Gia Bennett, return for season 2.
Is anyone new joining the cast of Euphoria season 2?
A February Backstage post revealed that HBO is searching for an actor for a new leading role on the hit show. According to the listing, the network is casting a "Black male actor, aged 18–25" to play 17-year-old Jamieson. It adds that he will be "an outsider. Might have a drug problem, might not. Mischievous. Funny. Unafraid. Sensitive." The actor also "must be comfortable with sexual scenes and nudity" so there's a chance he's playing a love interest for Rue or Jules.
We also know actor Kelvin Harrison Jr. (Luce, Waves) will be joining the cast in season 2. He reportedly was supposed to be in season 1 but couldn't due to a scheduling conflict, so Levinson rewrote a part for him. “Sam’s still figuring it out, but from the table-reads, I know this character is unlike anything I’ve ever seen on the screen,” he said. Added Levinson to GQ: "I honestly have no idea how to describe this character, but I can say that Kelvin is one of the most talented actors working today."