My Brilliant Friend: Season 3 release date, cast and plot details revealed

23 June 2021, 16:50 | Updated: 25 June 2021, 11:19

My Brilliant Friend: Season 3 release date, cast and plot details revealed
My Brilliant Friend: Season 3 release date, cast and plot details revealed. Picture: HBO

By Emma Clarke

Based on the critically-acclaimed Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante, HBO's adaptation of My Brilliant Friend has been widely praised for its loyalty to the books - and even has an impressive 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Focusing on the enduring friendship between narrator Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo, My Brilliant Friend is a powerful coming-of-age story tackling themes of love, class divide and social mobility.

Set in post-war Italy, the narrative takes place in a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of Naples. Both the books and the television series depict the tension between the country's past and the rise of anti-fascist sentiments in the 1950s, with the richest in the area having benefited from wartime struggles, and the poorest seeking a way to put an end to the corruption and improve their position in society.

Despite being fiercely intelligent, Lila is forced to drop out of school owing to the fact she is a girl and her parents cannot afford to keep her in education. Lenu, meanwhile, is self-deprecating, but studious and goes on to study at university.

The pair struggle to reconcile their love and admiration for one another, and their competitiveness, with Lila's character often being depicted as cruel and spiteful (through the lens of Lenu).

READ MORE: What is the My Brilliant Friend theme tune?

While the first two novels in the series - My Brilliant Friend and The Story of a New Name - have been covered in the series so far, there are still two more books that have yet to be adapted for the small screen.

So, if you're hooked and are desperate to learn more about the show, here's what to expect from season 3 of HBO's My Brilliant Friend.

When will My Brilliant Friend season 3 be released on HBO?

Although HBO confirmed back in April 2020 that the series had been renewed for a third season, it is not yet clear when it will be released.

Speaking to Variety, Daniele Luchetti, who is directing season 3, said: "I think we will end the shoot in September. The launch date has a lot to do with the editing process, so I really don’t know."

He added: "Due to the way I am shooting, and directing the actors, there are lot of variables and options in terms of how we construct the final edit.

"I am currently working on editing the first half. I’ve been handed the keys to a Ferrari, I have to be careful to make sure we go fast but also take the best possible road."

Gaia Garace and Margherita Mazzucco as Lila and Lenu
Gaia Garace and Margherita Mazzucco as Lila and Lenu. Picture: HBO

Will there be a new cast for season 3?

Just as the first few episodes of season one focused on Lenu and Lila when they were young, before they were replaced by older actors, season 3 will see yet another shift in the timeline.

Based on the third book in the series, Those Who Stay and Those Who Leave, the narrative jumps forward to when the pair are adults.

Confirming the news of her departure from the show in February last year, actress Gaia Girace commented: "I'm sorry to leave Lila's character ... I hope that whoever takes my place will love her at least a penny of what I love her."

However, Luchetti said in April: "We chose to keep the same cast. First of all, it was important to stick with the same [physical] characters. But also [the actors have] grown.

"There is a visible maturity in their expressions, in their attitudes. We have made the most of this wonderful enrichment that Gaia and Margherita bring, and also other characters.

"It’s not a fallback solution; it gives more depth. We see them grow live on screen."

So, from the sounds of it, both Gaia and Margherita will be reprising their roles.

**Warning: There are season 2 & 3 spoilers ahead, so look away now if you don't wish to know what's in store**

What happened in season 2?

Season two picked up where the first ended: after her wedding to Stefano Caracci, Lila goes on honeymoon stewing about the news that her now-husband, father and brother have been in cahoots with the Solara family.

Tensions increase throughout the newlywed's first night on the Amalfi Coast, before Lila erupts and tells her husband exactly what she thinks.

Drastically transforming from the once-charming man she promised herself to, Stefano becomes violent and savagely attacks Lila on their wedding night.

After losing a baby later down the line, Stefano is encouraged by doctors to send his wife to the seaside for convalescence.

Lila asks her friend to join her and Lenu accepts - on the condition they visit Ischia, where she had stayed the summer before (and where she knows Nino Sarratore, her love, would be staying again that year).

Over the course of a few weeks, Lila, her pregnant sister-in-law Pinuccia and Lenu all grow closer to Nino and his friend Bruno, whom he's staying with on the island.

Despite having loved Nino since she was a child, Lenu discovers that he in fact has developed feelings for Lila - and she for him - before the pair embark on an extramarital affair.

The deception forces Lenu to part ways with Lila for some time, and she is relieved to escape at the Normale university in Pisa. There, she focuses on her studies and meets a young man who exposes her to new experiences.

Inevitably, Lenu can't help but get dragged back in by the neighbourhood drama. She learns that Lila ran away with Nino, before she was forced to return to her husband.

Upon her return, Stefano learnt that she was pregnant (with Nino's baby), and, although he is at first glad to see her, gradually turns back to his old ways, before it comes to light that he, too, is having an affair with Ada Cappuccio.

Elsewhere in the neighbourhood, a series of tragedies take place; from Carmela and Pasquale's mother taking her own life, to Antonio being dismissed from the army for having a nervous breakdown.

At the very end of the season, Lila has escaped Stefano and is living with Enzo Scanno and her baby Rino, while Lenu has published a novel and is engaged to be married.

While giving a talk about her new book, Lenu is visited by her old friend Nino, whom she hasn't seen for years.

What will likely happen in the new series?

As depicted in Ferrante's third book, Lila will face ongoing issues with sexual harassment in Bruno's sausage factory where she now works.

She and Enzo also develop their relationship over time, and Lila studies computer science with him.

Elena goes on to marry and falls pregnant soon after, but her enduring love for Nino remains at the forefront of her mind.