Sex Education season 3 release date: Cast, plot and what we know so far

We're all hoping we'll be back in Moordale soon, but how long do we have to wait?

Sex Education Jean Gillian Anderson

As if anticipation for the delayed third season of Sex Education wasn’t already high enough, star Asa Butterfield has only gone and increased the hype further ahead of the long-awaited return to Moordale.

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Writing on Twitter, the Otis Milburn actor cryptically revealed, “Lemme just say, you lot aren’t ready for season 3, trust me.”

That intriguing statement might not give too much away but it isn’t the first time that someone involved in the show has teased that some pretty big things are going to happen in the upcoming run.

Back in May, costume designer Rosa Dias said Sex Education season three would have an explosive ending that has big implications for season four, ensuring the writers would have “a massive challenge on their hands”.

One thing we do know is that the series will continue to focus on a storyline that played a major part last time, with newly-crowned BAFTA winner Aimee Lou Wood revealing “Aimee’s storyline in season two, it’s continued, [and] it’s handled beautifully throughout season three as well.”

And it seems season three won’t be the end of the road just yet, with Wood previously claiming she was already discussing potential plot lines for a fourth run.

“I’m actually talking about a storyline for season four at the moment that I’m giving some feedback on,” she said during a BAFTA Q&A.

Read on for your ultimate guide to Sex Education season three from rumours, spoilers and cast news.

Warning: Sex Education spoilers.

Sex Education season 3 release date: When is it coming to Netflix?

Give us an easy question why don’t you! It’s unclear at the moment when Sex Education season three is due to be released on Netflix, though there is a rumour (started over on Reddit) it could premier in June or July. Fandom has reported that the show will debut on Netflix later this year.

Seasons one and two premiered on the platform in January – 2019 and 2020, but thanks to the difficult last year we’ve all suffered through, the third instalment of the series began filming later than originally planned.

On 9th September 2020 Netflix announced that season three of Sex Education was now officially in production – sharing an image of a script covered in doodles of the aubergine emoji, hearts, and the classic “cool S”:

Getting going ASAP was particularly important because the show is reliant on filming during long summer days, which helps give Sex Education its American-style aesthetic.

Sex Education season 3 cast: Who’s returning and who’s new?

As the ending of season two teased a number of potential new relationships, viewers should expect to see the main Sex Education cast return for season three; – Otis (Asa Butterfield), Maeve (Emma Mackey), Eric (Ncuti Gatwa), Jean (Gillian Anderson), Adam (Connor Swindells), Aimee (Aimee Lou Wood), Jackson (Kedar Williams-Stirling) and villainous Mr Groff (Alistair Petrie) – all of whom appeared in the series’ renewal video.

Sex Education Aimee & Maeve-1
Netflix

It looks like Olivia (Simone Ashley) could also return, despite being cast as a lead in Bridgerton season 2. Ruby (Mini Keene) and Anwar (Chaneil Kular) should also return.

We’d also expect to see; Steve (Chris Jenks), Miss Sands (Rakhee Thakrar), Mr Hendricks (Jim Howick), Ola’s dad Jakob (Mikael Persbrandt), Maureen (Samantha Spiro), Sofia (Hannah Waddingham) and Roz (Sharon Duncan-Brewster), and Remi (James Purefoy).

Since the show started we’ve seen the addition of a few key cast members. Season two also added three new faces; Rahim (Sami Outalbali), Jackson’s friend and tutor Viv (Chinenye Ezeudu) and Isaac (George Robinson), with the latter proving quite controversial by the season finale. Given how essential they were to the plot of season two, viewers should expect to see them again in season three.

Netflix has announced a few new additions for season three too. We now know there will be a new headteacher, played by Girls star Jemima Kirke. We know she’s a former pupil and she’s keen to get to improve Moordale! Harry Potter and Star Trek: Discovery star Jason Isaac has also joined the show’s stellar line-up as the – more successful – brother of disgraced head teacher Mr Groff.

A gender-non-conforming songwriter and singer Dua Saleh will play Cal, a non-binary student.

A few question marks remain over a few characters such as Maeve’s mum Erin (played by Anne-Marie Duff).

Maeve’s brother Sean (Edward Bluemel) hasn’t been seen since season one, and it seems unlikely he’ll appear in season three.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Bluemel said he hoped to return one day but appeared to rule out an appearance in season three.

Asked about a return, he said: “I have to wait and see really. It’s definitely something that has been talked about and I think, judging by people who have watched the show, I think it makes sense if he does return.”

“It’s an interesting one playing a character who’s entire schtick is that he’s never there, because you’re like, ‘Oh yes, I’ve been cast as this brilliant role,’ but his main thing is that he’s never, ever there, so it’s quite funny waiting.”

The star added: “I’d love to see him return. Judging by what other people have said, I think they would too, so hopefully further down the line we might see Sean come back.”

“The longer they keep him off-screen, the more effect it has when he comes back on screen. Or he might die off-screen,” he added. “Which would be exciting in a different way to learn about!”

Sex Education creator Laurie Nunn talked to Attitude about the show’s approach to characters – old and new.

“We take characters that you’ll be familiar with — the school bully, the loser, the popular girl — and we dig into them and find the things that are really surprising about them,” she said. “Then you’re like, actually they’re all the same, they all just desperately want to fit in and be accepted.”

Sex Education season 3 plot: What will happen next?

There’s plenty of plot points to pick up when season three returns, but we have faith in Laurie Nunn. The show creator has shown she’s one of the best when it comes to dealing with multiple characters, storylines and dramas.

By the end of season two, Otis has broken up with Ola after embarrassing her, Maeve and himself at a party, where he loses his virginity to popular girl Ruby.

After making amends with Jean, whom he fell out with prior to throwing a party, and chatting to his partially estranged father, he realises that he is in love with Maeve and leaves a voicemail telling her so. “It’s you,” he said. “It’s always been you. I love you.”

Awww, slight problem though…Maeve’s neighbour Isaac, who has a crush on her himself, deletes it before she has a chance to listen. *shakes fist at the sky*

Eric, who has spent the entirety of season two in a love triangle, picks his former bully Adam over boyfriend Raheem, after Adam storms the stage during Moordale’s school musical and professes his love for him.

After breaking up with Otis, Ola realises that she has feelings for her friend, Lily, and begins a relationship with her.

We imagine we’ll kick off season three with Otis thinking Maeve has heard his voicemail and has decided to ignore it. He’s awkward enough as it is, but this is awkward x 100.

Butterfield has already revealed there’s a time jump when season three returns.

Speaking to The Observer, Butterfield said: “Otis is back at school but he’s got different things on his plate. He’s grown up a bit and become slightly more sassy. It’s been fun to portray his newfound charisma. Don’t worry, though, he’s still tragically awkward too.”

That wasn’t the only thing Butterfield let slip about the new season either – he also revealed that Otis and Maeve’s relationship will “continue to develop in season three,” that the series will “explore why Otis was running his sex therapy clinic in the first place” and even that he has a moustache for part of the series.

Yes, a moustache, but don’t worry Butterfield has said it’s not here to stay.

“We got snapped by paparazzi while filming and people have been freaking out about Otis having a moustache. I can exclusively reveal it’s not real,” he said.

“It’s a stunt ‘tache and thankfully it doesn’t last the whole season. I don’t think anyone could bear looking at that thing for long.”

Ncuti Gatwa and Asa Butterfield, Sex Education

Butterfield had previously spoken out on what he thinks the future has in store for Otis and Maeve,(via The Hollywood Reporter).

“They both have a bit of growing to do if they are potentially to become a couple,” he said. “But, equally, I can see them just being good friends. I love Emma [Mackey], and we all get on amazingly well.

“It’s hard to put your finger on when you do experience that chemistry, but there are moments — fireworks, really — when you work with someone and it just feels right. Emma is so good at playing all of Maeve’s different shades and also showing her vulnerability.

“Otis is one of the few people who can get her to show those cracks. We didn’t actually get many scenes in season two together, which was really sad. I’m hoping they write some more for us next year.”

Meanwhile, Maeve doesn’t really have time for Otis at the moment as she has her own drama to deal with. We ended season two with her ringing social services to report her mum for using drugs again while still looking after her half-sister. While Maeve apologised to her mum, they’re still not really speaking.

As for Otis’ best friend Eric, star Ncuti Gatwa has teased that the third run will find him celebrate his roots – and includes one moment that the actor has described as “profound”.

“I can’t talk about it too much but this season,” he told RadioTimes.com and other press at a BAFTA Q&A. “Eric returns back to his culture a lot more and I think those scenes were very special.

“Just kind of having a set where the majority of people were Black was really great and really powerful and representing Eric’s culture and his family, those are always very quite profound moments.”

He added: “In season one, there’s a scene where he goes to prom in a full African outfit and in a Nigerian headdress and I was just like, ‘Wow, I’m on a Netflix set, a big set, representing a culture that doesn’t normally get represented, representing a character that doesn’t normally get represented. This feels good.

“So I think any time he returns back to his culture or is with Asa [Butterfield], is with Otis – those are favourite scenes of mine.”

We can also expect more drama as Moordale gets its new headmistress, and Groff has to deal with the fallout of being booted out.

Aimee had been sexually assaulted on the bus and had finally spoken to the girls about it so expect that storyline to play out in season three too.

Nunn told The Hollywood Reporter: “She has a line where she says, ‘I felt safe before and now I don’t.’ And I do think that is something that is a specifically female experience of walking through the world and always carrying a bit of fear with you. I think that men don’t understand that in the same way, so hopefully, through telling these stories, we can get them to stop to empathise and come to understand that.”

Meanwhile, Aimee Lou Wood has herself said that the series will continue with her season two storyline, explaining, “Aimee’s storyline in season two, it’s continued, [and] it’s handled beautifully throughout season three as well.”

We can’t forget Jackson and Viv’s friendship either. Jackson has only just started to talk about his mental health, taking on the role in Romeo and Juliet so we can’t wait to see what happens next with these two.

Jean is also pregnant with Jackob’s child, but he ended their relationship over concerns she wasn’t committed. Will he return?

Anderson told Collider: “Jean is pregnant and she’s still pregnant when we find her again. And so we see that Jean is trying to negotiate how to deal with that in relation to Jakob and also Otis.”

There’s also talk of a “different tone”, according to Tanya Reynolds (who plays Lily) and Kedar Williams-Stirling (Jackson) speaking on the Call of the Wild podcast.

“There’s a whole storyline that happens where just the aesthetic of the whole thing changes”, said Williams-Stirling. “So without giving too much away, it’s definitely a different tone this year and it’s going to be exciting to see on screen.” We’re officially intrigued.

Reynolds added: “We’re not allowed to say anything but there are new scandals and I can’t wait to see how people react to some things. I think as Lily gets older she’s definitely going to become a Greta Thunberg type.”

While we’re yet to see a trailer or even get a release date, the ending of season three has already been teased by costume designer Rosa Dias – and it’s going to cause a big shake-up for a possible fourth season.

“When you see series three, the end of it is really quite interesting,” she told Metro. “Whatever happens in four, if it happens, wow – the writers have got a challenge. They’ve got a massive challenge on their hands.

“It will be really interesting to see if they do do four, what they’re going to do. It’s massive.”

How many seasons of Sex Education will there be?

Nunn has said she’s keen to keep Sex Education going after season three, but the decision is in Netflix’s hands.

“I think these characters… they’ve got legs,” Nunn told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think I could do some more with them if we’re given the chance.”

Anderson also shared her thoughts telling Collider: “It has been discussed and I think, given how much people are enjoying it, I don’t see why it wouldn’t [continue], but things change. Things are changing at Netflix daily, as we speak. And so at the end of the day, it’s nobody’s call but those guys at the top.”

The show’s casting director Lauren Evans also added that there were hopes the show could continue, saying: “We hope that it goes beyond three… and four and five. As long as people want it, as long as the stories are there to tell.”

Of course, nothing lasts forever and Nunn does have an opinion on when to bow out. “I always feel that teen shows should maybe stop before university,” she said. “Otherwise, you get to the point where people are 30 years old and they’re playing teenagers.”

Meanwhile Aimee Lou Wood has revealed she’s already had discussions about a possible fourth run, explaining “I’m actually talking about a storyline for season four at the moment that I’m giving some feedback on.

“But yeah no we do [talk to the writers], and also Ben [Taylor], our director. Every scene we do [he] lets us improvise at the end and just keeps the cameras going, which is so fun and lots of it does make it into the show. But I’d love to be in the writer’s room for [season four] – saying that here. But then again… I’d also like to just go home and learn my lines!”

Sex Education season 3 trailer: When will we get a trailer?

We don’t have a trailer yet. We tend to get a trailer when a release date is announced or about a month before release, so watch this space. We’ll update you when we know an official release date.

While you’re waiting check out Groff’s little announcement.

Sex Education seasons one and two are available on Netflix now. 

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