Everything We Know About 'Atlanta' Seasons 3 and 4
Not one, but two seasons of Donald Glover's FX series are on the way.
"It's all about that paper, boy," raps fictional artist Paper Boi on his viral hit on Atlanta, the FX series created by Donald Glover. That lyric is always present in the story about Paper Boi, AKA Alfred Miles (Brian Tyree Henry), and his cousin/manager Earn Marks (Donald Glover) as they struggle to navigate the music industry. The show's network apparently also seems to stand by the verse, considering it ordered two additional seasons of the acclaimed comedy shortly after its second one, titled Atlanta Robbin' Season, aired.
The series, which debuted back in the fall of 2016 and returned with 11 new episodes in March 2018, has only grown in popularity during its lengthy hiatus, and the people want to know: When will we get to see more adventures involving Alfred, Earn, his on-again, off-again girlfriend Van (Zazie Beetz), and their pal Darius (played by the Oscar-nominated LaKeith Stanfield)? Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the delay was partially attributed to the rise of Glover with his Grammy-winning music career as Childish Gambino, roles in Disney blockbusters and franchises, and major TV production deals. But, regardless, a lot more Atlanta is in the works, and here's what we know about the next two seasons so far.
When will Atlanta Season 3 and 4 be released?
We finally, finally know when we can expect more of Earn and Paper Boi's misadventures. At a Television Critics Association's press tour in August 2021, FX Networks and FX Productions chairman John Landgraf said that Season 3 should premiere in early 2022. He said that Season 3 is currently in post-production, and while no specific date was given, sometime in the "first half" of 2022 is when the network is aiming for. Considering the show began filming in April 2021 and met its timeline of shooting across Europe in the spring and summer, it seems possible that the third season could begin airing sometime in the first few months of 2022, which would put it at roughly four years after the Season 2 premiere.
As for Season 4, which was always supposed to follow closely behind Season 3, it seems like the wait for that installment won't be too long, either. Landgraf also shared at the TCA event that Season 4 is already written in its entirety and in production in Atlanta, as of August 2021. We'll cross our fingers that it could even hit the air in the latter half of 2022, but of course it's still hard to say, given the continued disruption by the COVID-19 pandemic on other productions. If you aren't getting hyped already, though, you definitely can be: The long-awaited installments are at least finally in the works.
How many episodes will there be in Atlanta Seasons 3 and 4?
Originally, Seasons 3 and 4 were both guaranteed eight episodes, but (thankfully) that number was upped once the writers got back into the writer's room and fleshed things out. Deadline reports Season 3 will feature 10 installments and Season 4 is sticking with eight. It's right around the range the series is used to, with Season 1 featuring 10 episodes and 2 including 11. We'll take what we can get.
Who in the cast is returning?
Just about everybody in the core cast should be back. The show wouldn't be the same without Donald Glover as Earn, Brian Tyree Henry as Paper Boi, LaKeith Stanfield as Darius, and Zazie Beetz as Van. It would also make sense to see some more of RJ Walker, who plays Clark County, the rising rapper who Paper Boi was about to join on tour right at the end of Season 2. Matthew Barnes who plays Lucas, Clark County's manager vying to sign Paper Boi, could be back as well.
What will Seasons 3 and 4 of Atlanta be about?
As a social commentary on race and class masked as a show about a rising rapper that frequently experiments and veers off from its story episode to episode—including one of its bests—it's hard to say what exactly will happen in the upcoming seasons of Atlanta. One thing is for sure, though, which is it's likely to continue following the ceaseless struggle of Earn and Al trying to make it and failing miserably at both the hands of the music industry, systemic racism, and Earn's own poor decision making.
Specifically, we'll see that all play out on Paper Boi's first-ever tour, since Season 2 ended with him and Earn taking off on a flight to Europe with Clark County and it's been confirmed confirmed the show filmed Season 3 across Amsterdam, London, and Paris. Atlanta could also continue to get even darker going forward, now that we know the lengths Earn is willing to go to protect himself and Al. As you may recall, before the two were able to board their flight to travel across the world for tour in the Season 2 finale, Earn realized he still had his uncle's gun in his luggage and shoved it into Clark County's (RJ Walker) bag before they went through airport security. Earn was able to carry on as nothing happened, but Clark County's manager (Matthew Barnes) took the fall for it in order to protect his client. The moment spoke volumes, and that theme could continue to come back up as the two continue to navigate the industry and success.
Plus, more broadly, the showrunners explained that they hope to feature more women's stories going forward. Zazie Beetz's Van is a lead on the show, but only one episode thus far (the wonderful "Champagne Papi") wholly focused on her and her girlfriends. Expect more of that and other similar storylines in Season 3, though, because writer/producer Stephen Glover told THR the series has "some cool ideas … that'll put some more women on screen." He said, "There's a very specific perspective from the Atlanta woman that I think we're gonna explore in Season 3."
It's hard to say what that means right now, but we can at least get excited knowing it's supposed to exceed expectations. Donald Glover took to Twitter to give fans an update in November 2020, sharing the next installments are going to be "some of the best television ever made." He wrote, "Sopranos only ones who can touch us." We don't doubt him!