“Every single episode scared us,” Justin Simien said during the show’s FYC event held by Netflix this Wednesday, but that didn’t stop the “Dear White People” creator and his team from crafting one of the year’s best seasons of television.
And there’s still plenty more story to be told about the young students of Winchester University. While no official renewal has been released, the cast of “Dear White People” has no shortage of ideas for where things can go in Season 3. The cast and Simien revealed what they thought might come next, and what they’d like to see happen, from expanded backstories to exotic locations.
[Editor’s note: Spoilers follow for “Dear White People” Season 2.]
The fact that at the end of Season 2, Sam (Logan Browning) and Gabe (John Patrick Amedori) have reunited while Reggie (Marque Richardson) and Joelle (Ashley Blaine Featherson) have become a couple led to this immediate concept: “We’re gonna start going on some double dates,” Amedori said.
“Oh my god, we could totally double date,” Featherson responded. “I didn’t think about that.
“That’d be a good episode,” Browning added. “Then we all look into the camera at the end.”
Richardson kept it going: “Sam and Gabe drag them to some boring documentary–
“–Then there’s arguments where two people go to the bathroom and come back, and then two people have an argument at the table,” Browning said.
“Oh my god where’s Justin?” Amedori exclaimed.
“We have to tell him,” Browning said.
“It’s already written,” Richardson replied.
More Family Time
During the FYC panel, moderator Robin Thede praised a key episode of the season, in which Coco (Antoinette Robertson) deals with the choice to have an abortion after getting pregnant. “It’s very rare you see women of color at the center of that narrative,” she said.
And Brandon P. Bell noted that he doesn’t think the story should end there, given how his character wasn’t aware that Coco was ever even pregnant with his child. “I think Troy has to find out that he was possibly gonna have a child,” he said to IndieWire. “I think the not-telling-Troy is interesting, right, because woman’s body, woman’s choice, but there’s also…the mutual reality of at least letting the other person know. And he’s starting to get to somewhat of a good place so that’ll be interesting to see what that does, if he finds out.”
Meanwhile, Reggie’s journey over the course of Season 2 is largely rooted in the residual trauma from the incident in Season 1, when a white campus security officer pulled a gun on him. And part of Season 3, Richardson said, would remain tied up in his personal journey. “I feel for Reggie — he hasn’t healed yet. I’m not the writer, I just have speculation that it might get worse before it gets better,” Richardson said.
One scene the cast found interesting was the moment when Reggie admits during Episode 2 that he hasn’t yet told his father, a former Black Panther, what had happened.
“I’m just remembering that scene too, where from the MDMA you have this smile on your face when you say it,” Amedori remembered. “‘My dad still doesn’t know.’ That’s such a crazy confession, and something that’s in Reggie’s head, and it’s the only time he really acknowledges it.”
“I’d love to see that. As an audience member, I would love to see Reggie and his dad. Whatever that entails,” Browning said.
Meanwhile, Robertson felt that she’d like to see how Coco’s relationship with her mother would work on screen. “I think we saw little glimpses of her childhood, but I just want to see the dynamic between her mother and herself, and a little bit of backstory on her mother,” she said. “When she says, ‘I came here to take everything that the world dared to deny my mother and me,’ I wanna know what specifically that means, because I feel that’s the motivational force behind why she is the way that she is.”
Sam Might Not Really Be Done With “Dear White People”
At the end of the season, following her failed attempt to confront right-wing spokesperson Rikki Carter, Sam declares that she’s no longer interested in doing the radio show from which the series gets its name. “I’m curious to see what Sam means by ‘I’m done with Dear White People,'” Browning said. “Because I sometimes don’t believe her, but at the same time she’s already given Joelle the space–“
“The show can go on without the radio show, you know?” Featherson said.
“Yeah, it could. I’m curious as to where they’d put their energy. A lot of energy is put into the radio station and the radio show,” Browning replied.
“Dear White People” Goes to Hawaii?
“We want to have a season where we’re shooting abroad, where we’re studying abroad,” Browning said. “Hopefully Netflix will send us to Italy or something like that.”
“We’re trying to pitch this,” Amedori said.
“They did ‘Master of None,'” Featherson said, referring to the second season of the Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang comedy, which shot its first two episodes in the Italian countryside. “Summer semester, we’re into it.”
Richardson proposed “an hour-long special called ‘Winchester Spring Break.'”
“No it’s the whole season, no way,” Browning said. “Hawaii’s a good one, too. Bali, the Maldives.”
What might happen if they went to Italy? “I feel like Sam would have to step out on Gab at some gorgeous Italian man though,” Featherson said.
Season 2 ends with Sam and Lionel finally tracking down the mysterious Order of X, complete with the reveal that the unseen narrator of the series, as played by Giancarlo Esposito, was actually involved with the society itself. Despite that cliffhanger, though, Simien wasn’t sure to what degree secret societies might dominate the action of Season 3.
“I think we have to follow up what the Order of X is, what it means, what to continues to mean,” he said. “I think the secret thing is something I want to build upon, because it is part of the fabric of the school. I don’t know that I want that to be the focus of next season, but you can’t just run away from that storyline.”
Added Simien, “Now that we know that there are all of these secret societies, I may not need to talk about them as much, but they’re still going to be a part of the fabric of the story…It depends on what happens, honestly between now and then. It may change, what I’m thinking of doing, or it may not.”
One thing he was able to say that the show would continue exploring is “what activism can look like in the 21st century. Real, actual activism, that moves the needle. It’s literally what we’re all struggling to figure out how to do, and so that’s something I’m very interested in portraying,” he said. “These kids have been knocked down. They’ve been knocked down. They’ve had to confront themselves. So, I’m curious to pick up with them having learned the lessons of these past two seasons, and seeing them continue down this path, maybe with some new insights.”
“Dear White People” Season 2 is streaming now on Netflix.