The dark comedy series about a hitman-turned-actor who still moonlights as a contract killer has earned raves since it debuted in 2018. Created by Bill Hader and Alec Berg, Barry has given Henry Winkler a career resurgence and showcased more of Hader’s dramatic acting chops (not to mention a film obsession any cinephile would applaud).
HBO’s Barry has racked up awards accolades for its first two seasons, earning a whopping 17 Primetime Emmy nominations for its second season and winning three including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy for Hader, who was also recognized by the DGA for directing in season 2.
Spoilers abound so if you’re not up-to-date on Barry, read no further. And if you’re not watching, you have plenty of time to binge-watch the first two seasons; with 30-minute episodes, an 8-hour time investment is well worth it, according to That Shelf’s writers who are very into Barry, naming it one of the best things we’re watching on TV.
So with the praise continuing to roll in, when can we expect to see Barry Berkman, Gene Cousineau and NoHo Hank to return? We dive into everything we know about season 3 of Barry, a show Hader once described as “like ‘Unforgiven’, but with jokes”.
What happened in the season 2 finale?
Once again, Barry wrapped things up with a cliffhanger. While season 1 saw Barry bump-off Gene Cousineau’s (Winkler) lady love, Detective Janice Moss (Paula Newsome), season 2 ends with Cousineau finding out Barry was the one who did it.
“Barry Berkman did this,” Fuches (Stephen Root) whispered to a distraught Cousineau upon the discovery of Janice’s body in the trunk of her car. Hader tells EW, “it was it really was tense in the writers’ room on that day. It was a massive move for the show to be happening at the end of season 2. I think a lot of shows would like that to happen a lot later. But for me, I was adamant that that is what Fuches would do. Why wouldn’t he just say that? And if I was watching that, I would be like, ‘Just tell him!'”
Now, there’s no going back for Barry whose rage manifested in the form of an ultra-violent mass killing spree that would make Quentin Tarantino envious. Hader explained that he came up with the bloodbath ending to season 2 while sitting in L.A. traffic. He explains the moment to EW:
“[W]hile I was in traffic the whole ending of episode 8 just came into my head. ‘Oh, Fuches would go and broker peace between Cristobal and NoHo Hank, and then we should put in earlier that NoHo Hank tells Barry to come here because the Chechens like you and Barry can’t do it so Fuches does it, and then Hank would text Barry and say, ‘Hey, man, don’t worry, Fuches is here and figured it out.’ And Barry wants to kill Fuches so he goes to the monastery, and that’s why the big gunfight happens, but there’s a reason for it, he’s basically trying to kill his dad. That works.'”
What’s the current status of season 3?
With high critical praise and a hefty ratings boost from lead-in “Game Of Thrones” for the last season, HBO gave Berg and Hader the go-ahead for a third season. He previously told Collider the writers’ room would commence in October 2019 while revealing the story of Barry Berkman is one that unfolds in chapters for the writing team:
“For us, it feels like you’re telling a story chapter by chapter and then you have like a year off between chapters, and people are responding to where it is at this moment. In [co-showrunner] Alec [Berg] and I’s mind it’s like we see this kind of bigger story that we’re trying to write, and it’s constantly shifting too.”
Traditionally, Barry has bowed on HBO in late March. However, this year, fans will have to wait a little longer to get their Barry fix.
With the writing stage complete, Berg responded to questions on Twitter, sharing that filming of season 3 is set to commence in March 2020.
We start shooting in March. So I guess if you work on the crew you can see some then. Everyone else will have to wait. Fall, maybe?
— Alec Berg (@realalecberg) January 23, 2020
However, that was pre-coronavirus. Now, HBO has shut down all production for the foreseeable future, including season 3 of Barry.
According to Berg in January, the production will film all eight episodes before they head into editing.
Yes. Usually finish shooting and then edit full time for a couple months before we air.
— Alec Berg (@realalecberg) January 25, 2020
While production was underway in March, Barry was likely return with a spot on the 2020 fall TV schedule. However, coronavirus delays in production may mean we have to wait a little longer to see out favourite recovering hitman again.
Anthony Carrigan in ‘Barry’ – HBO
What can we expect in terms of story for season 3?
Hader previously told Collider that there’s a “big thing” looming that the writers haven’t gotten to yet, but there’s no guarantee that season 3 will reach that significant mark either, leaving the idea of future seasons open.
“There’s a big thing in the show that is part of our initial idea when we first sat down and talked about it that we’ve never gotten to. Every season I’ve written it up on the board and we put enough story in front of it that it just gets knocked off the board and we’re like, ‘Oh I guess we’re gonna have to put that in the next season,’ and then Season 2 I put it up there and it just keeps getting knocked off the board. In two weeks I’m gonna [put it back up on the board] and we’re gonna see if we get to that, and I think that’ll be an important thing to know where you take off from there or if you just kinda wrap it up.”
But, he’s also admitted to The Wrap he has “no idea” how season 3 is going to play out for our favourite hitman:
“I have no idea. We like to write ourselves into a corner and then kind of go, ‘Well, geez, I don’t know what’s going to happen now.’ We don’t know but I think we’re always in good stead when we say, ‘What would the character do?'”
Who is set to return?
The full cast is expected to return including Hader, Winkler, Root, Canadian actress Sarah Goldberg as Sally, D’Arcy Carden, and the fan-favourite breakout Anthony Carrigan as NoHo Hank.
Behind the scenes, Barry has long employed many women behind the scenes including writers Emily Heller and Elizabeth Sarnoff, as well as the show’s main DP, Paula Huidobro.
Cinephiles, take note:
It’s no secret Hader is a huge film fanatic, frequently speaking about his favourite films, those that inspired his love of cinema (while raiding the Criterion closet in a Hausu shirt) and sharing his love of film on Criterion Channel.
One of the bonuses of watching Barry on HBO is short sit-downs with Hader and Berg following each episode where they break-down some of the episode highlights. In the “ronny/lily” episode which Hader won the Emmy for directing for, he cites references including Roma and Andrzej Wajda’s war films A Generation, Kanal, and Ashes and Diamonds. Other inspirations for the series have come from Blake Edwards and Blues Brothers.
Hader has to look no further than his own career for inspiration, especially when it comes to Swim Instructors, the movie Barry auditions for in season 2. In the episode, Cousineau is pumped his acting pupil gets to say the name of the film because that’s no ta line that gets cut. Turns out, that’s something Hader has direct experience with, telling EW:
“That is from my life. I’m like the guy going, ‘You should forget about Sarah Marshall!’ I loved it. There were so many movies that I was in early in my career where I was the character who would tell you the setup of the movie. I remember in Year One, I’m the guy who tells Jack Black to go on his quest, so I was like, ‘Yes, I’m going to be in the trailer!’ [Laughs] ‘It’s Year One, Jack.’ I’m always the guy telling the title, and that line from Henry was something I told Alec, and he laughed so we put it in the script.”