Spoilers ahead for Outer Banks seasons 1 and 2.
Outer Banks loves to seal each season with a (ridiculous, yet undeniably delightful) bang. Dramatic cliffhangers have long earned teen dramas their pedigree, and the Netflix fan favorite following a crew of young misfits chasing riches along the North Carolina coast doesn’t reinvent the wheel. If you’ve ever watched a teen soap, you know the drill: Set aside your misgivings. Buy into the asinine. Only then can the real fun begin.
Season 1 accomplished the fireworks in its finale, in which orphaned fugitive John B Routledge’s wild attempt to evade police capture led him to crash his boat directly into a tropical storm. But he and his rich-girl flame, Sarah Cameron, were soon revealed to have survived the wreck—and not only were they alive and well, they were rescued by a boat that just so happened to be headed to Nassau, where $400 million in gold awaited them.
But wait—season 2 ups the ante by a hair-raising degree. There are car chases! Heists! A stolen ambulance! Boat explosions! Alligator attacks! A dubious doctor and his even more dubious approach to stitching up bullet wounds! Allergic reactions to wasp stings! Sewer floods! A murder in the pouring rain! Don’t think too much about whether any of it makes sense—just soak it in. By the time the second season ricochets to a close, it’s impossible to remember all that’s happened, but you’ll be too drunk on adrenaline to care. And after that major reveal in the final seconds of the finale, all you can do is clap dumbly for an encore.
Rest assured, an encore there almost certainly will be. As you wrest your brain back from your OBX acid trip, here’s a look toward the future—and everything we know about the Pogues’ next chapter.
Is a third season confirmed?
Yes. Netflix renewed Outer Banks for season 3 on Dec. 7 with the help of the (very excited) cast.
Creator and showrunner Jonas Pate has previously revealed that he envisions four or five seasons of the show in total.
“Ever since we started, we always viewed it as something that was probably like a four-season, maybe five-season show, but definitely four seasons,” he told Entertainment Weekly in April 2020. “We’ve sort of long-arced it out pretty far. I’m just hoping that we get a chance to actually tell those stories.”
He also revealed that “before [season 1] even came out, Netflix had greenlit us to write some [season 2] scripts,” which means the same could have happened for season 3.
When will it be released?
OBX3 will arrive sometime in 2023, Netflix announced during Tudum. The streamer also shared a first look at the new season, with John B saying, How far will you go to get your treasure?”
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Outer Banks debuted its first season in April 2020, right as Americans were settling into lockdown. Season 2 dropped in July 2021, even with the COVID-19 pandemic shaking up typical production timelines.
Who is in the Outer Banks season 3 cast?
According to Deadline, series regulars Chase Stokes, Madelyn Cline, Madison Bailey, Jonathan Daviss, Rudy Pankow, Austin North, Drew Starkey, and Charles Esten are slated to return. We’ll also be seeing more of Cleo, as Carlacia Grant, the actress who plays her, has been promoted to series regular as well.
What will season 3 be about?
Netflix hasn’t announced any official plot details yet, but it’s safe to assume the third season will continue the treasure hunt of the first and second. That $400 million in gold is still nestled in the Bahamas, and now there’s a bejeweled cross in the mix as well!
Ward Cameron, Sarah’s villainous father, is injured but alive, having officially passed the baton to his increasingly erratic son, Rafe, who no doubt will be gunning for revenge against John B and his crew. Meanwhile, John B and Sarah are once again sort of married (?), and Cleo from Nassau has joined the Pogues, shipwrecked (presumably without food or water?) on an island in the Caribbean. We can expect season 3 to feature their journey home, as well as their big plan for stealing back the cross and the gold. But most important will be the presumed reunion between John B and his long-thought-deceased father, Big John, who apparently knows something about the sacred garment the frightening Limbrey seeks to heal her mysterious disease.
How does Big John’s return impact the next chapter?
Jonas Pate told TV Line that Big John’s big reveal wasn’t always planned. “We knew we had that card. We didn’t know that we would play it for sure, but around the sixth or seventh episode, when we were writing this year, we started to realize maybe we could do that,” he said. He added that all the action in episode 10 of season 2 was meant to function as a distraction to leave audiences “really on the wrong foot.”
So you can expect much of season 3 to focus on the long-lost father’s return. “It’s going to be instrumental and maybe the spine [of season 3] basically,” showrunner Shannon Burke told Entertainment Weekly. It’s obviously a gigantic revelation that’s going to power a huge part of the third season. I’m super interested to see how people are going to react or if they’re even going to remember who he was!”
What romances can we expect in season 3?
Of course John B and Sarah will continue their pseudo-marriage, but the other characters have plenty of new love connections to explore. In an interview with ELLE, season 2 newcomer Carlacia Grant revealed she has plenty of plans for Cleo in season 3—including a romance.
“I’m really interested in seeing this whole Cleo and Pope thing happen, if it does happen,” she said. “And I would love to see more of Cleo’s backstory. I, personally, really want to see more of her, more of where she came from. And I want her to be more bad-ass, definitely more bad-ass.”
Burke teased that she, too, thinks there will be more room for romance now that the kids are all stranded together in Poguelandia: “We were basically shot out of a cannon in season 2. And we want to have a little more room for, like, our teen drama and teen romances in season 3, just as a general principle,” she told Entertainment Weekly.
If you picked up on some sexual tension between JJ and Kiara this season, you certainly weren’t alone. Bailey revealed to Cosmopolitan that she could see the ship taking off next season: “We’re both feisty, we’re both always down for the crazy ideas. There’s just something these two characters have inherently in common that could work.”
And the creators are well aware of how badly the audience wants the pairing to happen. Showrunner Josh Pate told EW, “We were immediately open to [Kiara and JJ getting together], because it seems like an interesting idea to explore, but we kind of left it for season 3.”
Where will the next season start?
Presumably, season 3 will pick up where season 2 left off—on a deserted island in the middle of the Caribbean. But the show is called Outer Banks, so we doubt the Pogues will be able to keep away from the North Carolina coast for long.
If that’s the case, Cline has plans for Sarah once she’s back in the OBX: “I want to see her and John B have to kind of hash out what just happened. I want to see her personal relationships with her chosen family develop,” she told ELLE. “Maybe we could get some backstory on her and Kie’s friendship. Maybe see her try to go to Pogue high school. Maybe see her try to get a job.”
Asked if she thinks Cleo will enjoy living with the Pogues in the States, Grant told ELLE, “I think she’s going to have a few hiccups. I think not being able to carry a knife on her waist might be [a struggle].” More seriously, Grant added, “I think she will learn to adapt, but I know she’s going to have hiccups because—how is the Outer Banks going to take to her? She does talk with an accent. She is used to doing things her own way. There’s going to be some things that maybe Kiara and Sarah and the Pogues are going to be like, ‘Yo, you can’t do that.’”
This post will be updated.
Lauren Puckett-Pope is an associate editor at ELLE, where she covers news and culture.
Hilary Weaver is a freelance writer based in New York who writes about politics, queer issues, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, and every woman the Queen has ever made a dame. I saw Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again three times in theaters, and that’s pretty much all you need to know.