Each Episode Takes a Full Month to Film
HBO’s Euphoria is as lavishly filmed as it is controversial. Euphoria is a smash hit on an international level — an easy renewal despite being a reportedly troubled production. To achieve such high production values, every episode takes a full month to film. Creator Sam Levinson is a noted perfectionist. But he’s not the only reason HBO’s fourth-most-watched series in network history takes so long to produce.
‘Euphoria’ Season 3 is in production
Euphoria is one of HBO’s most important shows. It doesn’t come around yearly, though. By now, fans are trained to expect at least one year in between seasons. The best estimate is early 2024, in line with the early 2022 release of Season 2.
Euphoria star Zendaya even liked a tweet from a fan lamenting the wait until 2024, Complex reports. It’s an increasingly common tactic for expensive shows. HBO’s House of the Dragon is also taking 2023 off, despite pulling massive ratings. The Last of Us is unlikely to return without a long gestation period.
Even outside of HBO, noted for so long as the home of prestige TV, shows like Bridgerton and stranger things take their time no matter how good the ratings are. In this sense, Euphoria is not unique. But among teen dramas, including British shows like Skins that it borrows so heavily from, it stands alone as such a demanding production.
The stacked cast of ‘Euphoria’ makes scheduling scenes difficult
Filming a season of Euphoria starts with coordinating the schedules of the in-demand, A-list actors that make up the main cast. Given that some single scenes take days to film, it makes lining up all the leads particularly challenging.
Zendaya was already a major film star — notably in Spider-Man: Homecoming —before she joined the cast. Sydney Sweeney broke out thanks to Euphoriafollowing her minor role in The Handmaid’s Tale, and starred in HBO’s first season of The white lotus.
Even secondary actors like Maude Apatow were already juggling film and television jobs before joining Levinson’s dark drama. According to ScreenRant, a strong cast was such a priority that a lengthy production schedule was always part of the plan for the series.
The meticulously polished style of ‘Euphoria’ takes time to craft
Once the actors have their schedules in place, Levinson’s meticulousness stretches out the schedule. Zendaya tends to float on and off set, while even a name as big as Sweeney’s spends much more time with the production. Actors might find themselves working on nothing but Euphoria for up to 10 months at a time.
Each shot is meticulously researched and blocked. The makeup and clothing constantly change and must reflect both current styles and the mood of each scene. The dreamlike presentation of the series regularly calls for off-kilter shots more often seen in films than on television.
And Levinson is insistent on multiple takes, Complex reports. Euphoria comes together as a finished story in the editing. Chunks of scripts are edited on the fly as adjustments to the overall story of the season are made. Scenes that took multiple days of shooting might end up on the cutting room floor.
All of these complex factors add up to Euphoria taking longer than most dramas to return to the air. Even with just eight episodes per season, the nature of the show demands so much more time and effort than most. Despite the high cost of the series, lengthy pre-production, and difficult shoots, HBO is happy to bring it back. The third season is in production now.