“Atlanta” Season 3 may not have a release date just yet, but its release window is narrowing. On Friday morning, during FX’s presentation at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, FX Chariman John Landgraf announced that the latest season of Donald Glover’s hit series would debut during the first half of 2022.
“We haven’t locked down the scheduling for Season 3 yet,” Landgraf said during his virtual Q&A session. “It’s finished shooting. It shot primarily in Europe, actually, and it’s in post-production, but it’s a lengthy post-production process. Part of the reason it’s lengthy is because they’re in production on Season 4 right now in Atlanta.”
Landgraf went on to say that all the scripts for Season 4 have been written, and he “adores” what’s been crafted for both upcoming seasons.
“The reason I can’t lock down a date right now is that it’s being driven by Donald Glover and Hiro Murai’s schedule and availability,” Landgraf said, mentioning that they’re working on post-production on Season 3 and production on Season 4 simultaneously, which complicates the timeline. “I think we’ll be able to lock down an actual date for Season 3 and maybe for both cycles within the next couple of months.”
“Atlanta” returning in the first half of 2022 sets the stage for a welcome return to the Emmys, so long as it meets the May 31, 2022 submission requirements. The first two seasons combined for 22 nominations and five wins at the 2017 and 2018 ceremonies, including trophies for Donald Glover in the Directing and Lead Actor categories.
Beyond “Atlanta,” Landgraf also mapped out the slate for a number of new and returning FX originals. “Better Things” Season 5 and “Breeders” Season 3 will also premiere in the first half of next year, along with the Jeff Bridges-starring “The Old Man” and Danny Boyle’s Sex Pistols limited series, “Pistol.” Meanwhile, previously announced programs including “Shogun,” “Great Expectations,” and “Class of ’09” will start production in the fall.
Landgraf noted that FX is back to where it was before the pandemic, in terms of production, and it’s ramping up its slate to include 30 new releases per year. In comparison, FX released 20 programs in 2020 — a number matched over a four-month span this year.
“[We are] steadily increasing the cadence of original programming coming from FX,” Landgraf said, while “taking great pains” to maintain the quality of that programming.
FX also announced it has ordered a new limited series from the creators of “The OA,” Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij. “Retreat” will be written and directed by both creators, and Marling will likely play a significant role, as well (though not the lead).
Per a statement released by FX:
“Retreat” is a mystery series with a new kind of detective at the helm — a gen Z amateur sleuth named Darby Hart. Darby and 11 other guests are invited by a reclusive billionaire to participate in a Retreat at a remote and dazzling location. When one of the other guests is found dead, Darby must fight to prove it was murder against a tide of competing interests and before the killer takes another life.
“I absolutely loved — and it’s not just me, the whole FX team — what Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij came to us with, which was this radical re-conceptualization of a whodunit,” Landgraf said. “[There are] really strong and original characters, and a really strong and original young woman [in the lead role.] There obviously is a murder-mystery that unfolds in the show, too, but it’s a really distinct show.”
Landgraf also noted that, unlike “The White Lotus,” the production wasn’t green-lit because it would be easier to shoot under pandemic safety restrictions. “A pretty good chunk” of the story is set at “an ultra-luxury hotel adjacent to a glacier in a very forbidding northern place,” but another “substantial chunk” takes place in a desert. Various other locales are also required for the shoot, and Landgraf said, overall, “Retreat” is “not that easy to produce.”
The FX Chairman also set a tentative timetable for Noah Hawley’s “Alien” TV series.
“I have optimism that that show may well roll out in 2023 — probably will roll out in 2023 — but we want to get it right,” he said. “It’s a beast. It’s a really big world-building exercise. […] You’re talking about design, and sets, and world-building [overall] that’s huge.”
Landgraf also noted that the series would be “very grounded,” rather than a more experimental adaptation like Hawley pulled off with the Marvel comic “Legion.”
“I think you’ll see some inventiveness and originality that is uniquely Noah, but I also think this show will feel like a part of the cinematic universe [established] by ‘Alien,'” Landgraf said.
In other news, “Cat’s Cradle,” an adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s novel also planned by Noah Hawley, is no longer moving forward at FX. “As a studio, FX Productions is still very supportive of Noah and that project,” Landgraf said, noting that the project could get picked up elsewhere, but it won’t be made as an FX original series.