TV & Movies

Everything To Know About Cruel Summer Season 3

Freeform has yet to renew the twisty anthology.

Lexi Underwood as Isabella and Sadie Stanley as Megan Landry in 'Cruel Summer' Season 2, via Freefor...
Frank Ockenfels/Freeform

After finding “lightning in a bottle” when Cruel Summer premiered in 2021, executive producers Jessica Biel and Michelle Purple had a big decision to make. The young adult thriller, which was reportedly planned as a limited series, became Freeform’s most-watched series in network history, but the story had a fairly definitive ending, with only small threads left to tie into a second season. After assembling a writers’ room to talk it out, the duo’s team decided the best path forward would be to make Cruel Summer into an anthology, featuring a new story and cast each season. With the second installment ending on July 31, fans already have questions about Cruel Summer Season 3.

As of publication, Freeform had yet to renew or cancel the mystery series, but Biel and Purple told E! in June that they were already “hoping for a Season 3.” After Purple noted that “if people show up for Season 2, Freeform will have no choice but to give us a Season 3,” Biel chimed in, “Come on, people, show up, please!” If the ratings for the June 5 premiere were any indication, her rallying cry worked: The first episode drew 2.6 million viewers, making it the network’s top telecast since the show’s Season 1 finale in June 2021.

As you await the network’s announcement either way, here’s everything to know about a potential Cruel Summer Season 3.

The Cruel Summer Season 3 Plot

The second chapter of Cruel Summer shifted to focus on a friend group in the Y2K-era Pacific Northwest, but Season 3 will likely feature an entirely new location, in addition to a fresh, yet-to-be-announced plot. Biel hinted to E! that the series will likely continue to “pull from the headlines,” while Purple added that the time period will be pivotal to the next storyline. “A lot has to do with... if we’re going back into the early 90s or later into the 2000s,” she teased. “Because we do like the show to speak to what’s happening, what was happening at that time.”

Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic/Getty Images

The format is likely to remain largely intact, too. “We wanted to maintain the structure and the skeleton of the show, which is the reason it’s so unique because of the timeline and the dual perspective,” Biel explained to The Hollywood Reporter ahead of Season 2, referencing Cruel Summer’s three timelines. “But we wanted to change the themes this year. We’re talking even more deeply about friendship, betrayal, obsession, loyalty. How far would you go to protect somebody you love? What will you risk? Those are real world problems that adults deal with all the time, and so do young adults.”

The Cruel Summer Season 3 Cast

Any future Cruel Summer casting announcements remain forthcoming, but FX’s American Horror Story is a great example that actors could also return in new roles. Some possibilities include Season 2 stars Sadie Stanley (Megan Landry), Lexi Underwood (Isabella LaRue), Griffin Gluck (Luke Chambers), Lisa Yamada (Parker Tanaka), Braeden de la Garza (Brent Chambers), Sean Blakemore (Sheriff Jack Myer), Kadee Strickland (Debbie Landry), and Paul Adelstein (Steve Chambers).

Freeform/Frank Ockenfels

The Cruel Summer Season 3 Potential Premiere Date

Cruel Summer fans had a two-year wait between the first two seasons, but there’s no indication if a potential third season would follow a similar timeline. The second season reportedly filmed in British Columbia, Canada, between March and June 2022, ahead of a June 2023 premiere. With the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes to consider — “We support our writers immensely,” Biel told People on May 31 — Cruel Summer might not return until 2025.

This post will be updated as more Cruel Summer Season 3 details become available.