We’re less than a week removed from the tense and poignant finale of HBO’s The Leftovers Season 2, the cap to a 2015 run already dominating year-end Top 10 lists, though the series’ low ratings suggested an ominous future ahead. Well, there’s good news and bad, as The Leftovers will indeed return for a third year, albeit as a final season.

HBO confirmed the third season renewal, without offering any additional details on a timetable, or potential setting (both creator Damon Lindelof and novel author Tom Perrotta have stressed the fluidity of any ideas to date), while Lindelof offered a heartfelt testimony to the news:

I have never, ever experienced the level of creative support and trust that I have received from HBO during the last two seasons of THE LEFTOVERS Tom, myself and our incredible team of writers and producers put tremendous care into designing those seasons as novels unto themselves…with beginnings, middles and ends. As we finished our most recent season, it became clear to us that the series as a whole was following the same model…and with our beginning and middle complete, the most exciting thing for us as storytellers would be to bring THE LEFTOVERS to a definitive end. And by ‘definitive,’ we mean ‘wildly ambiguous but hopefully mega-emotional,’ as all things related to this show are destined to be.

On behalf of our incredible crew and superb cast, we are all tremendously grateful that HBO is giving us an opportunity to conclude the show on our own terms…an opportunity like this one rarely comes along, and we have every intention of living up to it. One more thing. We are blessed by the unwavering support of our fans and the incredibly powerful voice of the critical community. We feel absolutely privileged to heat up one last helping of leftovers.

For those not yet attuned, the series stars Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Carrie Coon, Ann Dowd, Margaret Qualley, Chris Zylka, Regina King, Kevin Carroll, Jovan Adepo and Janel Moloney.

The second season had notably rebooted the show’s setting, moving from the span of Perrotta’s original novel to a new story set in Jarden, Texas, an area supposedly unaffected by the “Sudden Departure” of 2% of the world’s population. Ratings failed to rise, even as reviews soared, though we can at least express relief that HBO and Lindelof reached a compromise moving forward.

It could be awhile yet before we learn how the third and final season of The Leftovers shapes up, but was HBO right to cap Lindelof’s story at two seasons? How much further might the series have gone?

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