If you’re anything like us, you can still hear the sound — that sickening ping that marked the end of Jennifer Coolidge’s tenure as the best part of The White Lotus.
Sorry for opening with a spoiler, but hey — it’s been over a year!
In case you managed to successfully block the incident from your memory, Coolidge’s lovably ditzy Tanya McQuoid-Hunt dispatched a crew of gangsters who had it out for her — but then she fatally conked her head while escaping from the yacht where she’d been held captive.
It was arguably the saddest exit from a show that’s given us a couple of them so far.
But on the upside, now there’s room for a whole new slate of guests to enjoy a stay at our favorite chain of fictitious luxury resorts!
And based on this week’s casting announcement, it sounds like we’re in for another round of Emmy-worthy performances.
White Lotus Season 3 will take place in Phuket, Thailand, and at least six newcomers will be checking in.
Filming is set to begin in February, and as usual, HBO is being tight-lipped about the plot details.
One of the vacationers is a woman who’s no stranger to playing mean rich ladies, Parker Posey.
Your reaction to that news will depend largely on your age and your fondness for obscure indie comedies from the ’90s.
If you grew up on Dazed and Confused and Party Girl, then you know that if any actress on the planet has the ability to fill the charisma void left by Coolidge, it’s Posey.
Now, we’re not necessarily saying that Posey will play a Coolidge-like role.
But it’s worth noting that Parker possesses a Stifler’s Mom-like ability to steal scenes with her hilariously entitled cluelessness.
In other words, both women are graduates of the Jessica Walter School of Poking Fun at Wealthy Jerks By Acting Like One.
Also joining the cast is Michelle Monaghan, whose name might not be familiar to you but whose work almost certainly is.
A veteran character actor whose resumé is dotted with occasional starring roles, Monaghan has demonstrated incredible range over the course of her career.
The amazing first season of True Detective? The underrated Robert Downey Jr. comedy Due Date? The voice of Wonder Woman in a straight-to-DVD Justice League movie?
Yes, Monaghan has done it all.
And now she’ll be able to add Mike White’s bonkers anthology series to her diverse list of triumphs.
Next on the list is Leslie Bibb, who’s also able to measure her career in decades, not years.
Yes, Bibb was winning Teen Choice Awards for WB shows back when Bill freakin’ Clinton was in office!
These days, she’s best known for her work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (as Christine Everhart in the Iron Man films).
And as the lead in Apple TV’s upcoming Palm Royale, Bibb has quite a busy 2024 ahead of her.
“But TV Fanatic,” you might be saying to yourself, “what is this a single-sex hotel? Aren’t there any dudes in this season? Someone from the Harry Potter franchise, perhaps?”
And to that, we say — that’s an oddly specific request, but you happen to be in luck!
Jason Isaacs — whom you might know as Lucius Malfoy from those wizard movies — will also be making his White Lotus debut.
Recently, Isaacs has received rave reviews for his work as Cary Grant in the BritBox series Archie.
Will he be playing yet another debonair Brit with a sad backstory on The White Lotus?
The answer is almost certainly yes, but we suppose we’ll have to wait and see!
Rounding out the list of newcomers are Dom Hetrakul and Tayme Thapthimthong.
Both might not be well-known to American audiences, but Hetrakul is a certified mega-star in his native Thailand.
Since filming doesn’t get underway until next month, it’ll likely be quite some time before we learn any specifics about the new season’s characters or storylines.
But creator Mike White is a big-picture guy, and he discussed the themes that he intends to explore next in an interview that aired after The White Lotus Season 2 Episode 7.
“The first season highlighted money, and then the second season is sex,” White explained.
“I think the third season will be a satirical and funny look at death and Eastern religion and spirituality,” the actor/showrunner continued.
“It feels like it could be a rich tapestry to do another round at White Lotus.”
A “funny look at death and Eastern religion and spirituality” might not sound like an obvious choice for the third season of a hit show.
But at this point, White has won so many Emmys he could announce plans to adapt the phone book, and HBO execs would be like, “When can you start?”
Anthology series tend to suffer from diminishing returns, but White has proven remarkably adept at upping the philosophical ante from one season to the next.
Just as importantly, he understands the importance of delivering complex characters — and trauma-inducing deaths — to engage viewers who aren’t necessarily interested in his views on Taoism.
It’s a tricky balance, but if White can pull it off one more time, he’ll have scored one hell of an impressive hat trick.
Tyler Johnson is an Associate Editor for TV Fanatic and the other Mediavine O&O sites. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cooking, and, of course, watching TV. You can Follow him on X and email him here at TV Fanatic.