Sex Education’ Season Four Release Date, Plot, Cast, Trailer

So you’ve long-since-binged the long-awaited third season of Sex Education, and now you’re looking for any sort of Season Four fix. It’s okay—you’re far from alone. The beloved teen dramedy skyrocketed into Netflix’s Top 10 after a pandemic-induced hiatus, but now, fans are slogging through another long drought.

We’re about to share everything we know about the future of Moordale’s finest. But first? Some news. Dan Levy (Dan Levy!) is joining Season Four. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Schitt’s Creek star will play “Thomas, Maeve’s U.S. tutor at her Ivy League college.” Sounds like Maeve’s storyline will be alive and well overseas, sure, but we’re beyond excited for Levy to drop his signature blend of humor and heart into Sex Education.

OK. Back to our scheduled programming. Here are all the details on what’s to come in Season Four.

Has Sex Education Been Renewed for Season Four?

Netflix officially greenlit Sex Education for a fourth season back in September 2021. Who’s ready to go back to Moordale? (You, we figure, since you’re on this post.)

What Will Happen in Sex Education Season Four?

After Season Three’s cliffhanger ending, Season Four has a lot of explaining to do. First up: what’s next for Otis and Maeve? In Season Three, after two and a half seasons of pining, these star-crossed lovers finally confessed their feelings for one another, but when Maeve received a once-in-a-lifetime study abroad opportunity in America, she put their burgeoning romance on hold. Could Season Four see them try out a transcontinental relationship, or will long distance be the end of this romance?

In an interview with Elle, Asa Butterfield spoke about his hopes for the future of Otis and Maeve’s relationship. “I would like to see them look at the bigger picture,” Butterfield said. “To explore themselves and to be more focused either on their relationship with themselves or their platonic relationships with their friends and family.”

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Sex Education | Season 3 | Official Trailer | Netflix

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But a troubling update from Emma Mackey (who plays Maeve) may cast these lovebirds’ future into jeopardy. Speaking to Radio Times about what it feels like to be back on set, Mackey said, “It feels very familiar! And it’s a bit more sporadic because we have more characters. I’m not in it as consistently. But we’re in the middle of filming now, and I’m excited to be back.” If Maeve’s role is reduced, can Sex Education still deliver on the promises it’s made regarding her romance with Otis? Beyond that, could her study abroad prevent her from running the clinic with Otis?

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the romance front, Adam and Eric called it quits after a dramatic season of ups and downs. Though it was Eric’s kiss with another man in Nigeria that nominally ended the relationship, tensions were growing all season as Eric questioned his ability to date someone in the early stages of discovering their own sexuality. Could Adam’s growing friendship with Eric’s ex Rahim mean a new romance?

Other big question marks loomed at the end of Season Three. Following a near-death experience delivering her daughter Joy, Jean received the results of a paternity test. Reading over the paperwork in the hospital, we saw her express shock, muttering, “Oh shit!” If Jakob isn’t Joy’s biological father, as the scene suggests, will he stay with Jean and raise Joy as his daughter? Only Season Four will tell.

But perhaps the biggest question of all concerns the students’ academic fate, now that Moordale is shutting down due to a lack of investors. After all, what’s Sex Education without Sex School? A source tells Variety that Season Four will “see a mixture of old and new exciting faces” as Moordale students seek an alternative place to study, so the fate of the school may not be looking bright. A new synopsis from Netflix offers some clues about the students’ academic futures, as well as their love lives:

“Following the closure of Moordale Secondary, Otis and Eric now face a new frontier — their first day at Cavendish Sixth Form College. Otis is nervous about setting up his new clinic, while Eric is praying they won’t be losers again. But Cavendish is a culture shock for all the Moordale students — they thought they were progressive but this new college is another level. There’s daily yoga in the communal garden, a strong sustainability vibe and a group of kids who are popular for being … kind?! Viv is totally thrown by the college’s student-led, non-competitive approach, while Jackson is still struggling to get over Cal. Aimee tries something new by taking an Art A Level and Adam grapples with whether mainstream education is for him. Over in the U.S., Maeve is living her dream at prestigious Wallace University, being taught by cult author Thomas Molloy. Otis is pining after her, while adjusting to not being an only child at home, or the only therapist on campus.”

Aimee Lou Wood, who plays fan-favorite high schooler Aimee, touched on the closure of Moordale in an interview with Variety. “Our school is gone, so I’m confused about what’s happening there,” Wood said. “I know a few little things about my character, but I really don’t know much. I hope they’re going to continue to flourish because I felt like they were growing up in Season Three. It will be interesting to see them outside of the school more and in their own lives.”

Will the Entire Sex Education Cast Return?

Three core characters are confirmed to return: Otis (played by Asa Butterfield), Maeve (played by Emma Mackey), and Eric (played by Ncuti Gatwa). But Gatwa’s journey with the show is coming to an end after Season Four; now that the actor has been cast as Dr. Who, it’s clearly time for him to move on from Moordale. In an Instagram post, Gatwa announced that Season Four would mark the end of Eric’s journey, writing, “Last day. Last time. Bye bubs, thank you for all the lessons and for all the strength.” How, exactly, will Eric exit the show? Perhaps he’ll go to the Great Beyond known to all high school characters (AKA: college).

And now, it looks as if Gatwa may not be the only actor saying goodbye to the show. Speaking with Total Film, Mackey hinted that it may be time to “gracefully exit” the series, now that she and the other actors are aging out. The actress said, “It’s just always tricky, it’s different when you’re playing a character that is sort of stuck in time. You know, we’re playing 17-year-olds, and we’re all almost 30. It’s a blessing because it’s a launchpad, and it’s something that has given us opportunities in different ways, but it’s something that I want to gracefully exit from, and be happy that it exists and protect it and enjoy it in the time that it has existed in. But yeah, it needs to be left alone now, I think.” At this rate, with the fate of two core characters looking grim, might Season Four be Sex Education‘s last?

One supporting character’s fate remains unclear—Remi Milburn, Otis’s deadbeat dad, played by James Purefoy. Commenting on the character’s absence from Season Three, Purefoy told Digital Spy, “I was shooting Pennyworth for HBO Max when they were shooting Season Three. Whether that stopped them from having me in, I have no idea. It’s a cracking show; I love Sex Education. I think it’s a really brilliant piece of work. If they wanted me back, I’d be there in a heartbeat.” Sounds like the jury is still out on Remi’s return, but if the character does come back, it could mean big things for the mystery of Baby Joy’s paternity. If Jakob isn’t Joy’s father, the likely suspects are Dan, the younger man with whom Jean was having casual sex in Season Three, and Remi, with whom she briefly reconciled during Season Two. Remi’s return could also spell drama in Otis’ life, given that father and son have always had a rocky relationship.

While Purefoy waits for news about his future with the series, others have already decided their fates. Patricia Allison, who plays Ola, confirms that she will not return for Season Four, despite her active presence in Season Three. “I absolutely have loved being on Sex Education so so much and playing Ola,” Allison said. “But unfortunately, I won’t be joining the team for Season Four. So sorry to have to break that to you guys. But I’m just going to be doing some other little things, some other opportunities have come up. So, I’ve been doing it for three years, and I’ve genuinely loved it. I love the show. I have to, you guess, I have to say goodbye at some time. But other things are coming! Other things are coming, and that’s really exciting.”

How, exactly, will Ola disappear from Jean and Jakob’s blended family—and what does this mean for her relationship with Lily? Only time will tell how Sex Education writes her out. Also departing are Simone Ashley, who played Olivia (Ashley is likely working full-time in the Bridgerton universe); Tanya Reynolds, who played Lily; and Rakhee Thakrar, who played English teacher Ms. Sands. Reynolds told RadioTimes of her departure, “It’s just the natural progression of these shows. When you have such big ensemble casts and so many characters, I think you have to let a few older characters go to make way for newer ones, which is absolutely the right thing, the way it should happen.” Thakrar, for her part, said something more cryptic: “I’m not part of the new series. I can’t really talk about why. But I’m so proud of the show and grateful to have been part of something so important. There is nothing bad about Sex Education.” We also have a hunch that Jemima Kirke will likely exit the picture, now that Hope Haddon has been deposed as Moordale’s Head Teacher.

Thakrar’s frequent scene partner, Jim Howick (who plays science teacher and band instructor Colin Hendricks), shed some light on the casting shake-up. “I love working with Rakhee,” he told Radio Times. “But the truth is that we’re not in it that much anyway. You know, we might make a big impact but compared to Asa [Butterfield] and Gillian [Anderson] and the other guys, we were sort of dipping in and out. Rakhee’s getting extremely busy, and that’s the same for Simone [Ashley] and for Tanya [Reynolds], and the sort of principal fringe characters in the show. It’s difficult to have all these characters in the show. Of course, I love working with Rakhee but, you know, she’s rightfully doing other things.” Howick, for his part, hopes to return, describing Sex Education‘s process of confirming roles as very “last minute” and hinting that he’ll “probably” be back as Mr. Hendricks. “I think I’m probably going to come back; I think I would have heard if I’m being cut out,” he said.

But when one door closes, another opens. Sex Education is already casting two new roles: Abbi and Kent, two trans college students.

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“Abbi is a young trans woman with a ’90s Winona Rider vibe, who is confident and self-assured in her gender identity,” the first casting description reads. “Abbi is the leader of her group and the queen bee of her college—every girl either wants to be like her, or be friends with her. She’s sunny, magnetic, generous and loyal.”

As for Kent, Abbi’s transmasculine boyfriend, the casting call goes on to describe him as “goofy, forgetful, and a great listener.” Kent and Abbi are “the ultimate power couple—they’ve been together for a while and are the epitome of ‘couple goals,’ everyone loves them. Kent is as sure about being one of the popular kids as Abbi, but he knows himself and feels quietly confident about his final year at college.”

What are college students doing on our high school show? Could the school-less former students of Moordale be branching out into college classes? We can’t wait to find out.

As Moordale closes and the students move on to greener pastures, the shelf life of Sex Education is called into question. Just how long can the show continuing dramatizing these characters’ teenage years? Wood feels that there’s a cap on how long Sex Education can run, telling Variety, “We’re going to have to [end the show] because I’m fast approaching 30. We could go to uni, I guess, but I don’t particularly want to be playing a fresher when I’m 45. It’s going to have to come to an end, which is sad, but also I feel like you should always leave them wanting more. Always end on a high instead of having people go, ‘I really wish they would stop.’”

“We’ve been doing it for three years now, and I’d be happy saying goodbye to these characters,” Butterfield told Cosmopolitan UK.

When Will Sex Education Season Four Hit Netflix?

Netflix has been completely mum on release dates for Sex Education, so watch this space for updates as we continue to learn more.

Headshot of Adrienne Westenfeld

Books and Fiction Editor

Adrienne Westenfeld is the Books and Fiction Editor at Esquire, where she oversees books coverage, edits fiction, and curates the Esquire Book Club. 

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