Grab your favourite cardigan, pour yourself a large glass of red wine, and get ready to stare wistfully at the horizon – because Big Little Lies may be returning for a third season. A new instalment of HBO’s Emmy-winning drama series starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Zoë Kravitz, and Shailene Woodley is reportedly in the works, with Kidman teasing that she and Witherspoon have been “texting every day” about developing a new chapter of David E. Kelley’s buzzy murder mystery based on Liane Moriarty’s 2014 novel.
“We’re at work on it,” Kidman told Variety. “And there’s a timeline and we’re doing it.” Witherspoon confirmed that she and Kidman were hard at work reuniting the real mothers of Monterey. “We’re working on it,” she told the publication on the Golden Globes red carpet. “Nic and I are working on it a lot.”
How did Big Little Lies go from DOA to a potential third season? Let us explain.
Wait, wasn’t Big Little Lies supposed to be a limited series?
Initially, it was. Like its HBO sister The White Lotus, Big Little Lies was originally developed and billed as a limited series when it premiered on the network on February 19, 2017. But that’s because the network apparently didn’t realise what a hit it would have on its hands. Big Little Lies was huge both critically and commercially, winning five Emmys, including outstanding supporting actor in a limited series (Alexander Skarsgård), outstanding director of a limited series (Jean-Marc Vallée), outstanding supporting actress in a limited series (Dern), outstanding lead actress in limited series (Kidman), and outstanding limited series.
The following December, it was announced that Big Little Lies would be returning for a second season.
How was the second season?
Well… not great. Things got off to a strong start when HBO announced that the incredibly vibe-appropriate Meryl Streep would be joining the cast in season two as the mother-in-law of Kidman’s Celeste. But production was notoriously bumpy. Director Andrea Arnold was initially hired to direct the seven-episode second season but eventually left the production “heartbroken” due to creative differences between herself and Vallée. Vallée took the reins back, directing the rest of the episodes and re-editing episodes Arnold had already shot, so that they would better fit his style and aesthetic.
Despite the drama, Big Little Lies’ second season premiered on June 9, 2019. While still buzzy and popular with viewers, the second season was less critically acclaimed than the first. Season two was only nominated for two Emmys — Streep and Dern scored nods for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series — and lost both. While the fate of the series was in the air, it weathered an unexpected tragedy when Vallée died in 2021 at his chalet in Québec City at the age of 58. The following year, Kravitz said that Big Little Lies was effectively “done” after the loss of their director. “I can’t imagine going on without him,” she said.
So, how did season three of Big little Lies get off the ground?
According to Kidman, her daughter actually had something to do with it. In an interview for Vogue Australia, Kidman said she recently watched the series with her 15-year-old daughter, Sunday, who immediately became obsessed with the show.