Refreshingly bizarre or totally bonkers, Netflix’s The OA is unlike anything you’ve seen on screen before. Delving into near-death experiences, inter-dimensional travel and consciousness itself, the first two seasons (the second of which is available to stream today) serves up some truly jaw-dropping visuals and twists.
But we’ve got some bad news: although a third part of the story was being developed by co-creators Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling (who also plays the titular character), The OA has been cancelled by Netflix.
In a statement, Netflix head of originals Cindy Holland said, “We are incredibly proud of the 16 mesmerizing chapters of The OA, and are grateful to Brit and Zal for sharing their audacious vision and for realising it through their incredible artistry.”
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But what could have happened in the show’s third season? We previously caught up with Jason Isaacs (Dr ‘Hap’ Hunter) and Kingsley Ben-Adir (private detective Karim Washington) to find out the potential future of The OA…
Will there be a third season of The OA?
As we previously said, no, Netflix has cancelled the show. However, Batmanglij and Marling definitely have plans for how the story will progress, should it be renewed.
“They’ve got all five seasons mapped out in their head. They did before they started,” Isaacs told RadioTimes.com before season two was launched. “And that’s one of the reasons, I think, why the show was originally picked up by Netflix. Because they arrived with this thing that was fully-formed. It’s their singular voices. It doesn’t bear the stamp of any kind of executive development.”
He added: “I’m so invested in seeing it as a fan that I hope to god that people like the show as much as I do because we’d like to get a season three, four and five.”
Of course, like Lucifer, there’s always the chance the show could be renewed on another network or streaming service. However, at this point, the show hasn’t been picked up elsewhere.
When will The OA season 3 be on TV?
With a nearly two-and-a-half-year gap between the first and second season, fans may have to be very patient to see if a third season ever materialises, should it get picked up.
In November 2018, Marling gave a very “granular” explanation to why the show’s second season – originally commissioned in 2017 – was taking so long to reach screens. Citing how The OA wasn’t a product of a “pattern narrative”, Marling suggested the show’s unformulaic nature added to its long production times.
“Our chapters vary in length, scope, and even genre,” she said. “There is no pattern. As a result, at every step along the way nothing can be imitated, it has to be invented.”
And then there’s the issue of completing the writing before The OA can be put to camera. “Because I’m both the lead actor and a lead writer we can’t leap-frog the production. We have to write all eight chapters up front before we can begin shooting the first chapter,” Marling explained.
She added: “Some people thought of Part I of The OA as a long film,” Marling writes. “If you look at it from that perspective, Zal [Batmanglij] and I write and create an 8-hour film every 2 years. That’s pretty fast considering most 2-hour films take at least 2 years to make!”
In other words, even if another service does decide to produce more episodes of The OA, it could be a while before we see them.
What could happen in the third season of The OA?
If picked up, it’s going – somehow – to get even stranger. At least, that’s according to Ben-Adir. “I know where it’s going in the next season, which is NUTS! Like, unimaginable! Genuinely! Like, not even in a way I’m trying to sell it – It’s crazy!” he said.
“You think it goes there, but then it goes [starts pointing frantically] there and there and then there!”
However, Isaacs later implied future seasons won’t be as chaotic as this sounds: “[Batmanglij and Marling], believe me, have thought about everything. Everybody will be rewarded by the time we reach the end of the journey.”
Who could be in the cast of The OA season three?
Judging by Ben-Adir’s comments on a “crazy” third season to come, it’s likely that his character – Karim Washington – would return for a third season. Saying he knew “some part of where we’re going”, Isaacs’ Dr Hunter could also return to the show.
Of course, there’s also the chance that both actors simply know what will happen in The OA’s later seasons despite being killed off. At this point, we can’t be sure.
However, we can be pretty positive a third season would include Marling’s character Prairie Johnson. Not only is the former blind woman so integral to the story, but her adoptive name, The OA, is also the show’s title.
But beyond that, there’s no indication whether other important characters, such as Riz Ahmed’s FBI Psychologist or Patrick Gibson’s angry teen Steve Winchell, will return for another dose of inter-dimensional travel and interpretive dance.