“Atlanta” did about as much in its first two seasons as a TV show can do. It managed to weave together the stories of a group of people all trying to find their way in their careers, friendships, and the future. And yes, the show also fit in some alligators, Bieber, and fake cable networks along the way.
Now after acclaim, some immense storytelling freedom, and a four-year (!) hiatus, “Atlanta” Season 3 has arrived. Ahead of its March 24 release date, here’s a quick refresher on what there is to know about where the show left off, what might be ahead, and how close it is to its own ending.
1. Wasn’t This Season Supposed to Be Here Sooner?
Allow, if you will, your mind to travel back to the earliest days of 2020. Even then, “Atlanta” had been away for a while and seemed like its return was far off. In what we had no idea would be his last in-person TCA appearance for a while, FX Chairman John Landgraf offered an update on Season 3, saying that the hope was for new episodes to air the following year.
Fast-forward a year a half, and the revised timeline presented by Landgraf last August ended up being much closer to what actually happened. By that point, Season 3 had wrapped and the target date was early 2022.
2. How Much of “Atlanta” is happening outside of Atlanta now?
That original plan was to have a 10-episode Season 3 that would film in sequence both in Atlanta itself and outside of the U.S. 2020 was finally the year where its cast, now filled with well-established stars, would finally have the room in their MCU/”Deadpool”/Oscar-nominated schedules to all be available. And then….well, the rest of the year happened.
After a delay, filming on Season 3 finally began last April, with the occasional set dispatches pointing to European locales. Details about the season from the show’s creative team are usually few and far between, but Landgraf did explain that a majority of the Season 3 production happened in Europe.
3. Why are they in Europe again?
There are a handful of threads still dangling when last we saw the trio buckling in for their trip. Earn’s relationship with Van (Zazie Beetz) and their daughter is as up in the air as their transatlantic flight. After some quick thinking in the airport security line, Alfred’s lingering doubts about Earn’s abilities and commitment as a manager seem to be at bay for now. Though, with the pressures of performing on a brand new continent, we’ll see how much that newfound trust endures.
4. Does the trailer offer up any more hints?
The official trailer (which has plenty of overlap with last year’s Christmas teaser), shows that Van managed to join in the European (work) vacation, too. It looks like Earn may have only staved off an uncomfortable run-in at an airport checkpoint, one of many hints that this journey through Europe may not end up going quite as planned. Darius seems to be his same philosophical self, with Alfred looks to be put into more than a few precarious situations as Paper Boi gets some extra overseas attention.
Though these looks are light on actual plot details, this does show how the same “Atlanta” visual inventiveness is still there. Longtime series director Hiro Murai is back in the same role on this season, after working on “Barry” and “Station Eleven” in the interim. Murai also directed Glover in the Childish Gambino video “This is America” (which dropped days before the “Atlanta” Season 2 finale) and “Guava Island.”
5. It’s still on FX, right?
Much as the lines between FX and Hulu have been blurred over the last year or so, “Atlanta” is still premiering new episodes on FX proper. Episodes will be available to stream the next day on Hulu.
6. Is it too early to start thinking about Season 4?
The long gap before Season 3 and the unconventional production process also means that “Atlanta” was able to go straight from these new episodes to the next batch after. The team was in production on Season 4 last summer, which means that the “two seasons in one calendar year” idea will still be happening. Landgraf explained that the show will end after Season 4 premieres in the fall. Those final episodes will be available the same way, airing on FX and arriving on Hulu the day after.
In the meantime, “Atlanta” Season 3 premieres March 24 at 10 p.m. ET on FX. Read IndieWire’s spoiler-free review of the first two episodes here.