Why The White Lotus Season 3 Chose Thailand Over Japan

Why The White Lotus Season 3 Chose Thailand Over Japan

This story contains spoilers for the Season Two finale of The White Lotus.

Attention, travelers: The White Lotus won’t be accepting new visitors until 2025. HBO head Casey Bloys teased the network’s upcoming slate during a presentation to the press—and he (inevitably) addressed the future of The White Lotus. He attributed the delay to the SAG-AFTRA strike, saying, “White Lotus Season Three probably would have been in play for 2024. It’s 2025.”

On the bright side, Season Three is said to take place in Thailand. Earlier this year, the series creator, Mike White, mentioned that he toured Asia in search of a new filming location. Due to some complex tax incentives, however, he ended up choosing Thailand.

“We saw some absolutely stunning locations all over Honshu,” Toho producer Georgina Pope told reporters at the Tokyo Film Festival. “The showrunner loved it all, and I was feeling very confident that I had it all in the bag… At the time in Japan, we had no [tax] incentive in place at all. I could not respond with a concrete answer. All I could hear was the sound of a 35 million dollar project flying out the window.”

White joins a group including Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible: Fallout and Martin Scorsese’s Silence, who have also left the country in favor of Thailand. Still, HBO head Casey Bloys is reportedly amped about the next round of vacationers, even though production had to go with their second location choice. Though further details are still under wraps, the network CEO revealed in a Series Mania keynote interview that White’s vision for Season Three was a “really fun idea.” The next installment is shaping up to be a “satirical and funny look at death in Eastern religion and spirituality.” If there’s anything these rich vacationers need, it’s spiritual healing.

Read on for everything we know about The White Lotus Season Three.

Where Will the Next The White Lotus Be Filmed?

According to Variety, every season of The White Lotus has been filmed at a Four Seasons resort. If White continues that tradition he’ll have plenty of options to choose from for Season Three, as the company has hotels stationed in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, and The Golden Triangle. The resorts each have a different setting, so depending on White’s plans for Season Three, we could see the next batch of travelers’ lounge in the city, countryside, jungle, or another beach.

What’s Next For The White Lotus Cast?

The White Lotus is an anthology series (meaning, of course, that the seasons don’t fully connect to one another) so just about anything can happen in Season Three. But we might already have an idea as to a certain storyline the next season will follow up on. Not one to let us recover at home and properly pour one out for Tanya and the handful of men she murdered, White started merrily talking about the next season of the series in his post-episode interview. And guess what? Sounds like Season Three of The White Lotus may very well act as a quasi-sequel to the finale’s fateful showdown.

“I think as far as like, what happens to Greg and the conspiracy of Tanya’s death, it’s possible that I think Portia is scared enough to just leave it alone, but the fact that all of those guys die on the boat, it feels like there’s gotta be somebody who’s gonna track it back down to Greg. But maybe you’ll have to wait to find out what happens.”

What can we expect thematically going forward? Well, the first iteration of The White Lotus used the backdrop of a (tense as hell) vacation to explore larger societal themes. Set on a beautiful Hawaiian island, the show illustrated how travelers often visit a new destination, abuse its resources—and in turn, its people—then leave without a second thought. Season Two, I think we can all agree, waded through the powers of attraction and sex. Here’s what White said could be in store for the third go-round:

“The first season kind of highlighted money, and then, the second season is sex,” White said. “And I think the third season it would be maybe a kind of satirical and funny look at death and eastern religion and spirituality. And it feels like it could be a rich tapestry to do another round at White Lotus.”

Who Could Be in Season Three of The White Lotus?

Each season of The White Lotus brings in a new ensemble—aside from Jennifer Coolidge (Tanya), Jon Gries (Greg), and now, Rothwell (Belinda). It seems White has a pattern of bringing back the most complex characters and fan favorites. Coolidge performance as Tanya McQuoid, a distressed multimillionaire, earned Coolidge her first Emmy in 2022. Given Tanya’s fate, more Tanya time is obviously not on our future vacation itineraries, unless it’s via flashback.

Season Three will also feature a special guest you may recognize. Variety reports that Natasha Rothwell will reprise her role as Belinda, the beloved White Lotus spa manager from Season One. When we last saw Belinda, she’d just been scammed by Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) after a botched business deal. Fans of the series saw Tanya’s untimely demise in the Season Two finale. Now that she’s out of the picture, it will be interesting to see how Belinda is worked back into the story.

As far as other potential cast members go, Evan Peters and Hayden Panettiere have both expressed their interest in joining the show. “I want to do it so bad,” Panettiere recently told E! News. “[Jennifer Coolidge] is my favorite, I love her. I will be her anything—bag holder, shoe shiner, I will be her guardian angel, I will be her long-lost child. I will be whatever she wants me to be.” I feel the same way, but maybe Panettiere hasn’t seen the end of Season Two yet.

If we’re lucky, Season Three might feature both star actors. While speaking with Deadline, White Lotus producer David Bernard revealed that the American Horror Story star was actually in talks to play Ethan in Season Two. “That part was the last part we cast in the season, and originally it was supposed to be Evan Peters,” Bernard explained. “But for whatever reason—scheduling or timing —it didn’t work out.” The role eventually went to Will Sharpe, who played the character perfectly, but that doesn’t mean Peters can’t be revisited for future casting, right??

With Coolidge out of the running, it’s fun to think about which guest from Season Two might be fit for another vacation. Our money’s on Michael Imperioli—and it sounds like he’d be down. “I don’t want to think about it too much,” he said to Esquire. “Because the idea of that makes me so happy. I don’t want to be disappointed…I would want nothing more than that. I just loved working with Mike so much.”


Bria McNeal

Associate Staff Writer

Bria McNeal is a Manhattan based journalist who is patiently awaiting B5’s revival. When she’s not writing about all things entertainment, she can be found watching TV or trying to DIY something (likely, at the same time). Her work has appeared in NYLON, Refinery29, InStyle, and her personal newsletter, StirCrazy.  

Headshot of Josh Rosenberg

Assistant Editor

Josh Rosenberg is an Assistant Editor at Esquire, keeping a steady diet of one movie a day. His past work can be found at Spin, CBR, and on his personal blog at Roseandblog.com.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.