What would become of humanity following a mysterious, catastrophic event that caused nearly 150 million people to vanish from the Earth without a trace? That question provides the central premise for HBO’s supernatural drama The Leftovers. Created by Damon Lindelof (Lost) and Tom Perotta (author of the novel on which the series is based), The Leftovers premiered back in summer 2014, to a generally positive reaction from both audiences and critics.
Still, The Leftovers season 1 was not without flaws, flaws which the series’ detractors never hesitated to point out. Seemingly taking these criticisms to heart, Lindelof, Perotta, and their team opted to drastically retool season 2 of The Leftovers, which premiered over a year after season 1 ended. In addition to thinning out the season 1 cast to its essential core, The Leftovers season 2 also added compelling new characters, and changed the setting from the small town of Mapleton, New York to the even smaller town of Jarden, Texas, otherwise known as Miracle. Miracle was the only town in America to be spared from any departures, and has since taken on a spiritual significance to many.
By most accounts, these changes worked, as The Leftovers season 2 was met with nearly-unanimous acclaim, with even many who had issues with season 1 acknowledging just how much things had improved overall. Unfortunately, that acclaim didn’t necessarily translate into ratings success, and for a time there was much fan worry about whether The Leftovers would even come back for season 3 at all. In the end, HBO opted for a sort of compromise, ordering season 3 but also making it The Leftovers’ last. Things have been quiet on that subject ever since – until now, as HBO has announced that season 3 will premiere in April 2017.
Unfortunately, The Leftovers’ third and final season won’t be the usual 10-episodes in length, and will instead be cut down slightly to 8-episodes. Actual plot details about season 3 have yet to be revealed, although the show is set to undergo another major change, moving the setting to Australia of all places. Despite the change in location, the entire main cast is making the trip, including the entire Garvey, Jamison, and Murphy families, along with Guilty Remnant leader Meg (Liv Tyler). Moving up from recurring player to regular is Scott Glenn, who plays Kevin Garvey Sr., father to Justin Theroux’s former Mapleton sheriff.
While it’s certainly disappointing that The Leftovers will get fewer episodes than normal in which to wrap up its story, fans should at least be grateful that an ending is coming, and that The Leftovers won’t join the long list of genre series to abruptly end without a resolution. As previously indicated by Lindelof and Perotta though, viewers probably shouldn’t expect to get a definitive answer on what caused the mass departure. Then again, as the theme song says, why not let the mystery be?
The Leftovers season 3 premieres in April 2017 on HBO.