The White Lotus delivered on many levels: What’s ahead for next batch of picture-perfect travellers?

Just saying ... there's four people who die in Season 2.

Just saying ... there's four people who die in Season 2. Photo: HBO/Binge

As fans of The White Lotus regroup after a sensational ending to the second season of the intriguing HBO murder mystery series, the next season is already in the works, with a hint that it may bring back a few flawed characters.

Created, written and directed by California-based Mike White, who wrote Orange County (2002), School of Rock (2003) and Year of the Dog (2007), the show has become the new office water-cooler, dinner party topic du jour.

The social satire is, on the surface, straightforward … until you start to see how and why the characters’ relationships unravel and the real reasons the cashed-up bunch are at a five-star resort for a holiday.

Season one was set in Hawaii, and starred US-based Sydney actor Murray Bartlett, who played the unhinged Four Seasons Resort front office manager.

The second season – with the finale on Monday night – was set at the exclusive Sicilian resort of Taormina in Italy and tackled intimacy issues, desire and one elaborate, drug-fuelled gay party.

“The first season kind of highlighted money, and then the second season is sex.

“And I think the third season, it would be maybe a kind of satirical and funny look at death and Eastern religion and spirituality.

“It feels like it could be a rich tapestry to do another round at White Lotus,” says White (who also played the easily-led Ned Schneebly in School of Rock).

The White Lotus

Wealthy Tanya McQuoid-Hunt with her assistant Portia speaking to front desk manager Valentina on arrival at Taormina. Photo: HBO/Binge

So what happens at the end of Season 2?

SPOILER ALERT: Includes details about the Season 2 finale 

The only two characters to return for Season 2 were Tanya McQuoid-Hunt (Jennifer Coolidge) and her new husband Greg (Jon Gries).

In this series, she takes her assistant Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) as well as Greg along for the week-long holiday. The plot quickly thickens when Greg reveals he has to leave for a few days and the needy Tanya is left alone.

Tanya and Portia meet an unlikely lot of well-connected gay men, who flatter the women, and invite them to join their parties. They’re treated to champagne, lots of attention and a beautiful overnight trip on board a luxury boat to Palermo where Tanya is invited to the opera, Madame Butterfly.

And then, it all starts to unravel.

“In the end of last season, Tanya is sitting with Greg in the last episode and he’s talking about his health issues and she says, ‘I’ve had every kind of treatment over the years, death is the last immersive experience I haven’t tried’, and I was thinking, it’d be so fun to bring Tanya back because she’s such a great character, but maybe that’s the journey for her, the journey to death,” White said in ‘Unpacking S2 E7’, a featurette at the end of Season 2.

“Not that I really wanted to kill Tanya because I love her as a character and obviously love Jennifer, but we’re going to Italy, she’s such a diva, a larger-than-life female archetype, it felt maybe we could devise our own operatic conclusion to her life and story.”

She does die, but goes out fighting.

“I just think her dying at the hands of someone else felt too tragic,” White said.

“It felt like she needed to give her best fight back and that she, in a way, had some kind of victory over whoever was conspiring to get rid of her.

“It just made me laugh to think she would take out this cabal of killers and after she successfully does that, she just dies this derpy death and that’s so Tanya,” he said.

The White Lotus

An awesome foursome could turn up in The Maldives. Photo: HBO/Binge

What will Season 3  be about and who returns?

What we do know is it will be set in Asia somewhere and there could be some return guests.

Could it be the two holidaying couples – Daphne (Meghann Fahy) and Cameron (Theo James), and Harper (Aubrey Plaza) and Ethan (Will Sharpe) – or the local prostitutes who ingratiate themselves with the hotel, Lucia (Simona Tabasco) and Mia (Beatrice Granno).

Unlike Tanya (and three men on the boat), these six end up winners, having resolved their relationship and fidelity issues, as Lucia walks away with €50,000 and Mia gets a full-time job as the bar lounge piano player.

Any of their storylines could come back.

“Next year the Maldives,” Daphne said, as they proposed a toast at dinner for a hint at a possible foursome return.

Greg is the only one without an on-camera role this series, so he could possibly return to a White Lotus resort, spending his inherited wealth from his late wife.

A favourite from Season 1, Connie Britton, could also return, telling Deadline: “He [White] wanted me to be in the second season, and there was an idea that I loved for the character.

“Our intention is to do it in the third season. A piece of casting didn’t work in the second season and we’re hoping to [do] that in the third.

“I would love to see a spin-off on every character in that show.”

White will hopefully deliver a third masterclass and a stack of award show trophies.

“I think as far as what happens to Greg and the conspiracy of Tanya’s death, it’s possible that I think Portia is scared enough to just leave it alone, but the fact that all of those guys die on the boat, it feels like there’s gotta be somebody who’s gonna track it down to Greg,” he said.

What? Portia could come back?

“Maybe … you’ll have to wait to find out what happens.”

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