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 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 production was extremely delayed—as in, it started filming in 2021, despite its goal of airing season 2 that same year. In late 2020, HBO president Casey Bloys told Deadline that Euphoria would begin filming season 2 in "early 2021." (So expect a premiere date of very late 2021 or early 2022.)
Now, 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."
In July, Zendaya told Teen Vogue she was smack in the middle of filming, saying: "It's definitely challenging, it's a challenging season. It's gonna be hard and it's gonna be devastating sometimes, but I think Rue really deserves all of that care when it comes to her character, because I think she represents a lot for so many people. And I hope to make those people proud with our depictions of Rue [and] where all the characters go. I think this season's not going to be easy, though. It’s not going to be a fun watch, I don't think. Sometimes."
What happened in the in-between episodes?
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."
The early December episode was titled “Trouble Don’t Last Always,” and followed Rue's Christmas celebrations. The second episode, titled "F*ck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob," was co-written by Levinson and Schafer.
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.)
In an interview with Vulture, Schafer opened up about the bridge episode's unique title, revealing it came about unexpectedly during a conversation Levinson and Schafer were having about which animals they best identified with. "Mine in particular is this little sea blob or sea angel," she said. "It’s this gelatinous, beautiful, transparent, glowing thing with wings. I’m like, If I could inhabit a vessel like that…maybe in another life."
The title and the sea blob is particularly significant to Schafer's identity, she added. "Wishing you could inhabit another vessel is relative to transness in some ways too, to people who aren’t satisfied with the largely binary, static idea of how to be a human, which is handed to us from the beginning. It’s basically saying, 'Fuck anyone who’s not down for that.' But also, low key, everyone is down for that; everyone wants that. So it’s not really fuck anyone. It’s more 'Fuck standards.'"
Schafer also revealed that the premise for the episode, revisiting a lot of season 1's events but through Jules's perspective and backstory, was important to delve into because "Rue is not always the most reliable narrator." So the bridge episode allowed Jules, and, by extension, Schafer and the audience, to unpack a lot of the growth, traumas, and changes the character underwent in season 1.
The actress also touched upon Jules's growing understanding of her femininity (and relationship to men) and how that played out on-screen, particularly through Jules's season 1 wardrobe. Schafer explained that in pilot and early episodes her character often wore "all of these hyper-femme, hyper-sexualized baby-doll looks" but that slowly evolved into "something more androgynous and slightly darker and more reflective of her actual headspace."
"That, in a lot of ways, is more feminine, in that it’s not a mask but a vulnerable look inside where she’s at," she added.
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."
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."