NEW YORK — “Ted Lasso” returned Wednesday for its third season and while there are certainly questions about whether AFC Richmond will finally go all the way — or if Nate will receive his comeuppance — there's one big question: Is this actually the last season?
The Emmy-winning Apple TV+ series, about an American coaching a soccer team in London, has long been described as a three-season series — but executive producer, writer and star Jason Sudeikis is noncommittal about what comes next.
“I’m still in it," he said in a recent interview.
“We’re still editing the last few episodes, so it’s really something that I haven’t had the time to sit with, despite the fact that there’s a lot of wonder and curiosity ... from the press or fans — and certainly it seems like people in show business are equally as interested,” he laughed. "That answer will arrive probably when there’s enough space for the question to really land."
Brendan Hunt, who plays assistant coach Beard, (whose first name “has not been revealed," said the actor. "We don’t know that he doesn’t have one, but he certainly appears to have no use for it.”) is also an executive producer and writer on the show.
“We always saw it as this three-movement suite or a three-piece story," Hunt says, but admits the show's success has added more questions than answers to that original plan. “So the door is still open for — after this suite is finished — that maybe we’ll pick up with something else in this world.”
When asked, if there's a character from the series whom Hunt would like to see explored further, Hunt deadpans, “Phoebe (Roy Kent's young niece) as she battles London’s drug-riddled crime underworld.”
Brett Goldstein, who plays Roy Kent, the Richmond player-turned-coach with a gruff exterior and a heart of gold, is a definite breakout. He played Hercules in the end credits of “Thor: Love and Thunder,” and is a creator and executive producer on “ Shrinking,” also on Apple TV+. He credits “Ted Lasso” for giving him creative opportunities of which he had only dreamed.
“I’d worked for years and years and years and 12 people had seen all of it, you know, and then doing a show that loads of people watch is different. It really is different," Goldstein says. "Without being cheesy, I learned an awful lot from working on ‘Ted Lasso,’ and I will take those lessons with me into anything else I do,” he said.
Toheeb Jimoh had only been acting professionally for two years when he got cast as player Sam Obisanya.
“I’m at a stage where, because of this show I’m able to stand on my own two feet as an artist now. I’ve kind of absorbed the Lasso way in the same way that all of the players have,” Jimoh says. "Ted says, ‘It’s not about the wins or losses, it’s about making these players the best versions of themselves on and off the pitch.’ I really feel that’s the same lesson that ‘Ted Lasso’ has given us young actors on the show. It’s about making us to the best versions of ourselves on and off the screen, you know?”
Hannah Waddingham, who plays AFC Richmond owner Rebecca Welton, was already an accomplished stage performer prior to “Ted Lasso,” and already has other exciting jobs lined up including a role in “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part Two.” But she still wonders if she'll ever be able to duplicate the “Ted Lasso” experience.
“I don’t know about you guys here, but Brits are natural worriers. It makes me worried that I may not ever have that again because it is such a beautiful kind of symbiosis with all of us," she says.
For now, Sudeikis seems more willing to address what the show has meant to him than what lies in store.
“I see it through the eyes of my kids when we go somewhere and the way people come up to to myself and .. any of us, just how loving people are," he says, joking that he doubts the the cast of “Succession” gets quite the same reception. "I’m sure they’re excited to see them because they’re all wickedly talented, but it’s a different vibe on that show and a different family, if you will. So, being surrounded by that type of kindness and have it reflected back to you — especially in front of kids or family — has been really, really moving.”