Pennyworth’s combination of post-war gangland London, alternate history, and 1960s glamour is incredibly unique, but it works. Here is what to expect in season three.
In 2019, the premiere (on Epix) of the HBO Max series Pennyworth generated quite a stir. The series stars Jack Bannon as a wisecracking, hard-as-nails Alfred Pennyworth, a former soldier with the SAS who launches his own personal security agency and comes afoul of crime lords and fascists operating in London’s East End.
Extremely uncommon is the combination of post-war gangland London, alternate history, and 1960s elegance — think The Krays mixed with 1984, with a dash of flyblown Dior and Chanel and sex scenes tossed in — with the Batman verse. It is as far apart as possible from the American noir look of Gotham City.
But success is irrefutable, and Pennyworth’s uncompromising, high-stakes writing has garnered praise and a devoted fanbase. Now, season 3 is set to premiere on HBO Max in October, with the subtitle “The Origin of Batman’s Butler” generating a buzz. Here is what to anticipate.
Pennyworth Season 3 Plot
London as depicted by Pennyworth is not a pleasant place. The second season opened with the United Kingdom in the midst of a civil war, the fascist organization the Raven Union having conducted a coup d’état with the support of the military and televised public executions. Project Stormcloud, a chemical weapon capable of obliterating the whole population of London, the primary holdout against the Union, while leaving the city’s infrastructure intact, loomed heavily in the season’s plot.
There is also the little problem of organized crime, an abundance of realpolitik, and the Waynes reinvented as CIA agents in this realm. They are affiliated with the No Name League, the primary force of opposition to the Raven Union.
Given the subtitle, which seems needless if the action is to remain in London, most of the conjecture around the new season has centered on whether or not Pennyworth will finally go to Gotham City. Given that the season is set five years after the conclusion of the previous season, a move to Gotham during the season is unlikely but not impossible.
Pennyworth Season 3 Cast
Jack Bannon (The Imitation Game, Endeavour) is set to reprise his role as Alfred Pennyworth. Ben Aldridge (Fleabag, The Long Call) and Emma Paetz (Fleabag, The Long Call) ably portray the Waynes (Gentleman Jack). Jonjo O’Neill (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The Queen’s Gambit) clearly likes his role as Aleister Crowley, while Jessica Ellerby (Lovesick, Endeavour) portrays the Queen.
It is also evident that veteran character actors Jason Flemyng (Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels; The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; The Fast Show; The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) and Simon Day (The Fast Show; The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) enjoy playing English aristocrats and Cockney blokes, respectively. Simon Manyonda portrays Lucius Fox with zest (Doctor Who, His Dark Materials).
Pennyworth Season Release Date
The second season of Pennyworth was delayed by the widespread pandemic and did not premiere on television until December 2020. The gestation period for season three has been considerably longer, and as of October of last year, no release date beyond “sometime in 2022” was known.
Neither the specific date of the October premiere nor the method of release — a sequential rollout or a binge-friendly dump of all 10 episodes — have been confirmed at this time. HBO Max will have to plan the series such that it does not overshadow their other high-budget production for the fall, the Game of Thrones spinoff House of the Dragon.
With Gotham Knights, a Bat-Verse series focusing on the Wayne family’s inner circle, set to launch on The CW the following year, one thing is certain: Pennyworth is not likely to be canceled anytime soon.