Warning: Major spoilers from Season 1 and 2 of AMC's Preacher follow.
Preacher, AMC's attempt to adapt a comic-book series even more revered than The Walking Dead, survived a rocky first season to become a sincere, true-to-the-spirit (if not to the specifics) translation of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's masterpiece in Season 2. While executive producers Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Sam Catlin cherry-picked bits and pieces of various comics storylines for the first two seasons, cast announcements and trailers have laid out some pretty clear breadcrumbs for what viewers can expect from Season 3, which looks to hew close to some very specific Preacher comics. Read on for everything we know, and what a read of the source material forecasts, for Season 3.
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When does Preacher Season 3 premiere?
New episodes begin airing weekly beginning Sunday, June 24 at 10pm (9pm Central) on AMC. The show's first two seasons span 23 episodes total, and Season 3 will add 10 new installments.
Where did we leave off?
Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), the preacher of the show's title, has been blackmailed into helping Herr Starr -- who has betrayed the powerful organization The Grail -- into seemingly giving up his search for god and taking over the role of messiah. Jesse's hitwoman girlfriend Tulip (Ruth Negga) was shot by a Grail operative, and because Jesse kept his vampire drinking buddy Cassidy (Joe Gilgun) from turning Tulip into a vampire herself, she died. Convinced he can still save her, the finale ended as Jesse takes Tulip's body -- with an angry Cassidy along for the ride -- to his maternal family's ancestral hometown, Louisiana's Angelville.
What's likely to happen in Season 3?
The best guess from the comics is that Season 3 will largely mirror the storyline "Until the End of the World," from Preacher #8-17. Unlike its AMC mate The Walking Dead, which has gone roughly in lockstep with the comic book's story arcs, Preacher has mixed in elements from all over the comic's five-year run into the first two seasons. As a result, some of the story elements from those issues have already been used up, leaving room for more new inventions (like last season's storyline featuring Adolf Hitler), as well as the possibility of incorporating more elements from later in the series' run earlier in the TV version.
Who's coming back for more?
Besides the leads and Pip Torrens as Herr Starr, Graham McTavish will return as the nigh-unstoppable supernatural killing machine called "The Saint of Killers," and Malcolm Barrett and Julie Ann Emery reprise their roles as Starr's operatives (and dark-comic relief) Barrett and Featherstone. Ian Coletti is returning as the deformed would-be suicide nicknamed "Arseface," though it's unclear as yet if Noah Taylor will be back as Arseface's oddly likeable fellow escapee from Hell, the aforementioned Adolf Hitler.
Interview with the vampire
In interviews before Season 2 began, Cassidy portrayer Gilgun expressed a little disappointment that his background was largely being left by the wayside, adding, "The intention is to do that next year." Gilgun seems to have gotten his wish, as actor Adam Croasdell (Supernatural) has been cast as centuries-old vampire Eccarius, a centuries-old vampire likely appearing in the Season 3 episode titled "Enfants du Sang." In the Preacher comics one-shot "Blood and Whiskey," the Enfants are a French cult that Cassidy encounters in what can charitably called a brutal mockery of Anne Rice's vampire stories.
Who else is joining the Flock?
The biggest new cast addition this season is Betty Buckley. The acting veteran (Eight Is Enough) follows recent turns on Supergirl and in M. Night Shyamalan's Split with the role of Gran'ma, the ancient matriarch of Jesse's mother's side of the family. A master manipulator with the seeming ability to raise the dead, a Golden Girls character she's not. Her desire to get Jesse back under her control will drive a lot of the new season's early episodes. Also joining the cast, playing Jesse's mother, Christina, is Liz McGeever; in the comics, the character's storyline is tragic, but, no spoilers, she'll likely only appear in flashback here. Falling Skies scene-stealer Colin Cunningham will play TC, a sex-crazed monster who killed Jesse's dad, and Jeremy Childs (Nashville) joins as Gran'ma's brutal enforcer, Jody. Jonny Coyne (Turn) has taken the unflattering part of Allfather D'Aronique, who runs The Grail and is likely going to be coming after the rogue Herr Starr. Also signing on is Mozart in the Jungle's Prema Cruz as Madame Boyd, a character that seems to have been created specifically for the show.
Beyond the still-absent (and presumably never to appear due to legal reasons) supporting character of the ghost of John Wayne, who serves as Jesse's occasional adviser in the comics, the biggest names to figure into the "Until the End of the World" storyline missing from any cast announcements to date are so-called "sexual investigators" Glover and Allen and, even more-tellingly, Jesus De Sade and his followers, "the Gomorrah People." Those three collide in a bizarre drug/bestiality/child pornography orgy that may be hinted at in shots of Starr attending some sort of pansexual costume event. (More here.) That story would require some serious retrofitting based on all the changes to the character arcs along the way, and the content is a bit extreme, to put it mildly, but anything's possible for a show that successfully delivered on the promise of "meat man" Odin Quincannon in Season 1.
Technically, they were on a break
Back in the first season, Cassidy and Tulip hooked up before she rekindled her relationship with Jesse. (At the time, Cassidy didn't know that Tulip was the love of Jesse's life.) Tulip seems to have gotten over the connection, but Cassidy -- as was the case in the comics -- remains more than a little smitten. Preview scenes from the Season 3 premiere suggest Jesse will finally what happened between them, with the expected outcome: Jesse and Cassidy coming to blows with the risk that Cassidy will get exposed to sunlight and catch on fire.
Honestly, Preacher may be the weirdest rom-com on TV.
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Ivan Cohen is a freelance comics and pop culture writer who is well aware he wouldn't last a day in the world of Preacher. Find him on Twitter @IvanMCohen.