After two eventful seasons, fans are already asking questions about Cruel Summer Season 3. Will there be more episodes? And when might a third season air?
Here’s what we know so far, including whether or not there will be a Cruel Summer Season 3. Spoilers ahead for Season 2.
Cruel Summer: An Anthology Series
Cruel Summer executive producer Michelle Purple told TV Line why they decided to make the show an anthology series. The show has enjoyed immense popularity since it premiered in 2021 and has aired two seasons so far. Originally planned as a limited series, Cruel Summer became Freeform’s most-watched show in its history.
“We really stepped back, and we were able to look at the show – the three timelines, the dual perspectives, the week-to-week who do you believe? – and that was something we could hold on to as the core of what Cruel Summer is and find a new story, two new characters to follow,” said Purple.
Cruel Summer Cast
As fans of the show know, the leading cast of Cruel Summer changes with every season. Cruel Summer Season 1 starred Olivia Holt and Chiara Aurelia. Alongside Holt and Aurelia, Harley Quinn Smith, Blake Lee, and Michael Landes.
The second season starred Sadie Stanley, Lexi Underwood, and Griffin Gluck. Other stars in season two include Sean Blakemore, and KaDee Strickland.
Because Cruel Summer is an anthology series, we can expect a new lineup of characters leading a possible season three. Executive producer Jessica Biel told TV Insider in June they loved working with the cast during season two.
“We love working with these amazing young actors,” said Biel. “We love putting them in these risky situations…real adult kind of situations. And the nostalgia of the ‘90s makes everything fun.”
Purple also told TV Insider that every season of Cruel Summer takes place in three consecutive timelines. Purple added how this gives the cast the chance to “play three different roles” in one show.
“It’s the same character, but really three different parts of that character,” said Purple. “There’s not many opportunities to do that, I would assume, for actresses to sink their teeth into stuff like that.”
Seasons 1 and 2 Synopsis
The official synopsis for Cruel Summer Season 1 reads:
“Taking place over three summers – 1993, 1994, 1995 – in a small Texas town, a beautiful popular teen, Kate, is abducted and, seemingly unrelated, a girl, Jeanette, goes from being a sweet, awkward outlier to the most popular girl in town and, by ‘95, the most despised person in America.”
As for season two:
“Set in an idyllic waterfront town in the Pacific Northwest, season two follows the rise and fall of an intense teenage friendship. Approaching the story from three different timelines surrounding Y2K, the season twists and turns as it tracks the early friendship between Megan, Isabella, and Megan’s best friend Luke, the love triangle that blossomed, and the mystery that would impact all of their lives going forward.”
What Happened in Season 2
The finale of Cruel Summer Season 2 raised a lot of questions which, if the show is renewed, would not be answered. However, Cruel Summer showrunner Elle Triedman told TV Line that Isabella killing Luke was the “culmination of this possessive, deceptive, friendship” and her obsession with Megan drove her into making that decision.
“I don’t think murder was ever a part of that calculation when she was first thinking about it. It was more she didn’t want to have to share her. She didn’t always want to have to come in second to him, and I think she genuinely thought she was better for Megan, so Megan would have a bigger, broader, more interesting, and exciting life when she was with her, in a platonic way,” said Triedman.
Triedman also explains what happens to Megan after she learns that Isabella killed Luke, not his brother Brent. The second season ended with Megan receiving the news when Isabella was already on her way to Ibiza. When it comes to Megan’s future, Triedman said Megan will not let Brent stay in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and would attempt to avenge Luke’s death.
“Well, if I were Megan, I would certainly make sure it got to the sheriff and the authorities ASAP. I don’t think she’s going to let Brent spend his life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. It was, effectively, an accident in terms of his part of it. And there’s always a question of, will she try to avenge his death with Isabella?” said Triedman.
Possible Plot for Season 3
Both stories from Seasons 1 and 2 have themes of obsession amongst teenagers. So it’s not far off to speculate that Cruel Summer Season 3 may share a similar theme but is set in a different time period involving different people.
Biel hinted to E! News that a possible Season 3 will continue to “pull from the headlines.”
Separately, Biel told The Hollywood Reporter ahead of the Season 2 premiere that the format of the show if renewed, would stay the same.
“We wanted to maintain the structure and the skeleton of the show, which is the reason it’s so unique because of the timeline and the dual perspective,” said Biel. “But we wanted to change the themes this year. We’re talking even more deeply about friendship, betrayal, obsession, loyalty. How far would you go to protect somebody you love? What will you risk? Those are real-world problems that adults deal with all the time, and so do young adults.”
Will There Be a Cruel Summer Season 3?
Freeform has yet to announce a renewal of Cruel Summer for Season 3. Season 2’s finale aired on July 31, so only time will tell whether fans can look forward to more episodes. Though, Season 2 was given the go-ahead pretty quickly after Season 1 wrapped. The first season of the series wrapped in June 2021, and it was that same month that Freeform announced Season 2.
“A lot has to do with the time period, if we’re going back into the early 90s or later into the 2000s because we do like the show to speak to what was happening at the time,” Purple told E! News in June. “It’s hard to say, but we’re hoping for a season three so if people show up for season two, Freeform will have no choice.”
Another factor that can affect any possible renewal for Cruel Summer is the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. The ongoing strikes put most productions to a halt, so it’s likely Cruel Summer would be among those affected. Should there be a Cruel Summer Season 3, we might likely see it in early 2025.
For now, fans can rewatch the first two seasons of Cruel Summer on Freeform, Hulu, ABC, or FuboTV.