After Life will be back for Season 3 at Netflix. Star Ricky Gervais has signed a new deal with the streaming service that will see a third run of episodes materialize on the platform in the future. The comedian will also produce a string of other projects as part of that deal, including new stand-up comedy specials.
“I was planning to retire soon and just wander around the house drunk until I die, but I’ve grown a bit tired of doing that during the lockdown, and also Netflix made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Gervais said in a statement to THR.
Gervais had previously indicated that he wasn’t done with After Life even as Season 2 debuted on Netflix on April 24. The series follows the life of journalist Tony, who is grieving the loss of his wife after she dies from breast cancer. The character decides to start taking a brutally honest approach to life in the wake of her death. This will be the first scripted series of Gervais’ creation to push beyond the boundaries of two seasons, with the original run of The Office, Extras and Derek all concluding at that point.
“I could see myself doing a third season for the first time ever, because I love the world,” he told Deadline before news of the renewal broke. “There are so many strong characters. I’d say there are six characters that could have their own sitcom; that could be the lead in a sitcom. Even the place is a character, I think. We’ve only seen five hours of all those people. That’s nothing. How well do you know someone in five hours? You know, it’s still only half a season of an American sitcom, if you count both seasons.”
He added that he hadn’t run out of After Life ideas because “we haven’t gone in depth with a lot of these characters. You can keep twisting the knife. It’s the tip of the iceberg. It’s like, imagine you moved to a town and you’ve met a few people. You’ve spent five hours there. You don’t go, ‘I think I know everything about this town.’”
Gervais was also recently asked about both the themes of the show, and the timing of After Life Season 2’s release in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
“One of the ideas in After Life is about how the mundane saves us,” he noted. “We need those little things. The fact that the dog, literally and metaphorically, saves Tony’s life, over and over again. I say to the dog, “If you could open a can, I’d be dead now.” Death is the last taboo. It’s imminent. It’s going to happen. We just don’t want it to be now, whenever it is. But we can still joke about it. I don’t know if that makes the show any more or less poignant or entertaining than any other time. But people do all the things they’re supposed to now. They stay in. They wash their hands. They phone their family. And then, I think, they want to watch Tiger King. You know? No one’s thinking about coronavirus when they’re watching. And life goes on. Life’s got to go on. Life goes on.”
We’ll bring you more on After Life Season 3 as it arrives.