Sex Education season 3 on Netflix: New cast, release date, first look - everything you need to know

The Netflix high school series starring Asa Butterfield and Gillian Anderson is back. But when is it released on Netflix? Who is in the cast? All you need to know

By Alex Fletcher Updated: 19 July 2021 - 2.47pm
Netflix Ncuti Gatwa as Eric and Asa Butterfield as Otis in Sex Education season 3

If you've finished Sex Education season 2, you’ll know that there has to be a Sex Education season 3.

The show established itself as TV classic, making you cry tears of joy and laughter one scene after the next.

And most significantly, the show’s central characters Otis Milburn, played by Asa Butterfield, and Maeve Wiley, played by Emma Mackey, failed to get a resolution to their romantic storyline.

Here's everything we know about Sex Education season 3...

Sex Education season 3 trailer - First look

Sex Education fans have got their first look at season 3 with an official teaser from Netflix, introducing some new characters and some familiar faces in an advert for Moordale school.

With a new headmistress (Girls star Jemima Kirke), new uniform and a new attitude - it's time for change at Moordale.

The teaser doesn't reveal much about the new season, although it does suggest thar Mr Groff is still lurking around Moordale, Adam is back at school full-time and Maeve has lost none of her withering cynicism.

But we still have lots of burning season 3 questions: Where is Eric? What is the status of Otis and Maeve? And could Jackson have a crush on the new headmistress?

Will there be a season 3 of Sex Education?

Yes, and it's coming very soon.

The first season was a breakout hit for Netflix with over 40 million viewers checking out the teen comedy series.

Season two earned more critical acclaim with an incredible score of 98% on ratings site Rotten Tomatoes.

The show's popularity means that it will probably run and run for as long as the creative team and writer Laurie Nunn have ideas and want to carry it on.

When is Sex Education season 3 released?

Aimee and Maeve in Sex Education - Played by Aimee Lou Wood and Emma Mackey Netflix

Netflix has confirmed that all eight episodes of season 3 will be released on September 17, 2021.

It was back in February 2020, less than a month after the release of season 2, that the third season was confirmed in a special video featuring Alistair Petrie, who plays Mr Groff, walking through an art gallery filled with images of the Sex Education cast. Check out the video announcement below...

 

Following delays in filming due to Covid, production on Sex Education season 3 commenced in Wales in early September 2020.

Gillian Anderson, Asa Butterfield and co released a video to celebrate heading back to set.

Season 3 cast revealed

Netflix has revealed four big new arrivals in Moordale who will shaking up season three:

Jemima Kirke as Hope

Jemima Kirke will play former Moordale student and new headmistress Hope who plans to turn Moordale back into the pillar of excellence it’s always been.

Jemima Kirke has joined the cast of Sex Education Netflix

British-born Jemima Kirke is best known for her role as Jessa, opposite Lena Dunham, on HBO's critically acclaimed series, Girls.

Next up, Kirke will star in Amazon Studios drama Sylvie’s Love alongside Tessa Thompson. Other recent projects include Wild Honey Pie, which premiered at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival. As well as Untogether, opposite Jamie Dornan and All These Small Moments opposite Molly Ringwald, which both premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, she recently appeared in Maniac, a Netflix original miniseries.

Kirke is also an accomplished painter who has shown her artwork in Brooklyn, New York, San Francisco, London, and Miami.

Jason Isaacs as Peter Groff

Mr Groff’s more successful and not very modest older brother, who Mr Groff (Alistair Petrie) has been staying with in the wake of his separation from Mrs Groff.

Jason Isaacs Getty
The legendary Jason Isaacs

Jason Isaacs is an award-winning actor who has had numerous nominations including Golden Globes, Baftas, International Emmys, Critics’ Circle, Satellite, SAG and Critics’ Choice Awards amongst others.

Notable film credits include the Harry Potter film series in which he played Lucius Malfoy, Armando Ianucci’s The Death of Stalin, A Cure for Wellness, Behind the Glass, Look Away, London Fields, The Patriot, Peter Pan, Black Hawk Down, Armageddon, Fury, The Tuxedo, and Hotel Mumbai.

He can be seen in the hit Netflix show The Oa and plays Captain Lorca in Star Trek: Discovery.

Dua Saleh as Cal

Cal is a non-binary student at Moordale, who instantly clashes with Hope’s new vision for the school.

Dua Saleh has joined the cast of Sex Education Netflix

Dua Saleh is a Minneapolis-based Sudanese-American artist whose artful blend of poetry, alternative rap, and moody electronic music prompted heavy industry buzz with their debut Nūr EP at the beginning of 2019.

With a distinctive vocal style wavering between warm melodic singing and nuanced rap grit, Saleh's first EP for the Against Giants label earned critical acclaim, setting the table for their highly anticipated 2020 follow-up, Rosetta Ep.

Born in Kassala, Sudan and bearing Tunjur heritage, Saleh is gender nonconforming, identifies as non-binary and is addressed with they/them pronouns.

Indra Ové as Anna

Indra plays Elsie's foster mum Anna.

Indra Ové is in Sex Education season 3 Getty

Indra is an established theatre, film and TV actress with credits including Unforgotten, Interview with the Vampire and Resident Evil.

Meanwhile previous cast members Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson, Emma Mackey, Ncuti Gatwa, Connor Swindells, Aimee-Lou Wood, Kedar Williams-Stirling, Chaneil Kular, Simone Ashley, Mimi Keene, Tanya Reynolds, Mikael Persbrandt, Patricia Allison, Sami Outalbali, Anne-Marie Duff, George Robinson, Chinenye Ezeudu, Alistair Petrie, Samantha Spiro, Rakhee Thakrar and Jim Howick have all been confirmed for the new season.

What will happen in season 3?

Emma Mackey as Maeve in Sex Education season 2 Netflix

A short answer to that is a lot, it seems.

The season 3 release date announcement from Netflix read: "It’s a new year, Otis is having casual sex, Eric and Adam are official, and Jean has a baby on the way. Meanwhile, new headteacher Hope (played by Jemima Kirke) tries to return Moordale to a pillar of excellence, Aimee discovers feminism, Jackson gets a crush and a lost voicemail still looms. Prepare for commitment animals, alien phenomena, vulva cupcakes and much more of Madam Groff."

In previous interviews, cast members revealed what they would like to see in the new season.

"I'd be very intrigued to see what would happen in a room with Jean (Gillian Anderson) and Maeve. Sparks might fly," Emma Mackey told BT TV. 

"I also don’t spend enough time with Eric. I like the Eric and Maeve dynamic. I feel like they could be best friends."

Patricia Allison, who plays Ola, said: "I'd like to see more of [Emma] on set. And when we’re not giving each other side-eye."

Asa Butterfield suggested: "I want to see more of Eric’s family. Eric goes to Otis’ house, but never the other way around. I want to see Otis and the family - how they get along."

Ncuti Gatwa, who plays Eric, added: "I just want the show to keep spreading… okayness. Inclusivity. Accept yourself."

Catch-up - what happened at the end of season 2?

Maeve and Otis in Sex Education - Played by Asa Butterfield and Emma Mackey Netflix

The final scene of the second season sees Otis leaving a voicemail, admitting how stupid he has been and declaring his love for Maeve and asking her to call him back. 

However, before Maeve can hear the voicemail, Issac (George Robinson) who has feelings for Maeve deletes the message.

Creator and writer Laurie Nunn said that she always had “that ending” in her mind for season two, but director Ben Taylor did shoot one alternative when he filming the finale.

“I shot a thing just to see. Just to be naughty, because occasionally I can be,” said the director. 

“The shot you see in the finale is Otis and Maeve going off in different directions and it finishes on a single slow-mo tracking shot of each of them. Even with no dialogue Asa and Emma are incredible. 

In the alternative ending Taylor told Butterfield and Mackey: “Otis, act like you’ve just seen Maeve; Maeve, act like you’ve just seen Otis”.

Aimee, Maeve and Otis, played by Aimee Lou Wood, Emma Mackey and Asa Butterfield in Sex Education season 2 Netflix

Taylor said that in the alternate version, the season would have ended with viewers seeing “a smile” on both characters' faces. 

Commenting on the frustration of viewers having the Otis and Maeve ‘Endgame’ pulled away from them again, Taylor said that he believed it was the right decision to leave us hanging.

“I think shoes will be thrown at screens. In a good way. I love being p***ed off at stuff. You think you want it, but you don’t,” he said. 

“I think about it all the time, because you want [the show] to be satisfying and nourishing and all the right things. They don’t get it [in the ending], but five minutes before on screen, Eric gets a moment with Adam which for me is one of the greatest romantic gestures. 

“[Eric and Adam] get it. They get their moment. But if you go around and give everyone their moment it may get a bit sugary.”

Taylor added: “The people that were the most pissed off were Emma and Asa... they just really want the closure for their characters. But you’re not going to get that yet.”

Writer Nunn teased: “They may never get it!”

Will Maeve and Otis be together in season 3 of Sex Education?

It's the question on every fan's lips, but I'm afraid the cast and crew are being tight-lipped on the romantic storylines that lay ahead in season 3.

We think it's fairly safe to say that Otis and Maeve shippers can look forward to more longing looks and painful miscommunication - but whether they ever actually manage to sort themselves out and possibly even *whisper it* kiss, remains to be seen.

Sex Education season 3 is available on Netflix from September 17.

Sex Education season one and two are streaming now.

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