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Are Zendaya, Sydney Sweeney, Jacob Elordi Too Expensive for ‘Euphoria’ to Continue? Agent Weighs In (Exclusive)

Are Zendaya Sydney Sweeney Jacob Elordi Too Expensive for Euphoria to Continue Agent Weighs In
Zendaya, Sydney Sweeney, Jacob Elordi Marcell Rev;Eddy Chen(2)/HBO(3)

Has the delay to Euphoria’s third season given the show’s stars Sydney Sweeney, Zendaya and Jacob Elordi a get-out-of-jail-free card? And will it spell the end of the beloved — but beleaguered — hit show?

When HBO pulled the plug on production of Euphoria’s third season earlier this week, citing disagreements over the direction the show should be taking, they may have also killed the show for good.

Doubts have been swirling around the future of Euphoria for quite some time now. The show’s controversial creator/director Sam Levinson chose to work on HBO’s ill-fated series The Idol immediately after wrapping Euphoria’s second season.

Despite killer casting including Lily-Rose Depp and The Weeknd, The Idol crashed and burned, with fans online calling it “comically bad,” “vomit-worthy” and “try-hard.” Levinson caught a lot of flak when reports of clashes and tension arose, and it was revealed that he had scrapped the script and largely rewritten the entire series on set, and ultimately, only five episodes of the six planned were filmed. Initial response was strong, but it faded quickly, with viewership dwindling by the end of the series’ run, whereupon it was canceled by HBO.

Zendaya Euphoria

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Levinson returned to working on the new season of Euphoria. In August 2023, Levinson told Elle that he was approaching season three as a “film noir” that would “explore what it means to be an individual with principles in a corrupt world.”

Are Zendaya Sydney Sweeney Jacob Elordi Too Expensive for Euphoria to Continue Agent Weighs In
Jacob Elordi Stefania D'Alessandro/WireImage/Getty Images

Now, with just weeks before production was scheduled to commence, it is alleged that Levinson’s entire script was rejected by HBO, who believe that the show needs to jump a period of five years, picking up the characters’ lives after high school. As a result of the delay, HBO has released all the acting talent to take other jobs while new scripts are written.

And that’s where the problems start.

“All contracts have a term limit,” a leading Hollywood agent, who does not represent anyone on Euphoria, exclusively tells Us Weekly. “For most of the actors on Euphoria, their contracts were enacted in 2018. During the writer’s strike last year, we saw a lot of contracts, for actors, writers, directors, all lapse. A huge percentage of the shows that were in development fell apart. The contracts that the Euphoria actors signed would have been restrictive, but now, given the enormous fame that the leads have found, their teams will be looking to either renegotiate their contracts or terminate them completely.”

Both of these options are bad news for Euphoria. It was reported in early 2023 that Zendaya renegotiated her contract and would be paid $1 million dollars per episode. Now that her costars Elordi and Sweeney have both become legitimate cinema superstars, any attempts to renegotiate their salaries up to Zendaya’s level might simply make the show too expensive for HBO.

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For example, in Euphoria’s first season, each episode was budgeted at just $11 million. Sweeney was paid $350,000 for eight episodes, or around $44,000 per episode. She is due for a substantial pay raise.

Are Zendaya Sydney Sweeney Jacob Elordi Too Expensive for Euphoria to Continue Agent Weighs In
Sydney Sweeney Lionel Hahn/Getty Images

“There’s no way Sydney Sweeney is going to come back to Euphoria for anything less than a million per episode,” the agent continues. “Anyone But You was so successful, and she was the main reason it was such a hit. She’s smart. She produced it, she promoted it, and it made her very rich. They will need to pay her a salary that is comparable to what she’d make if she was making a movie.”

Even Sweeney herself alluded to the uncertainty around the show’s return in a recent interview on the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast. “Honestly, it’s, like, as scary as talking about Marvel …I said one thing, and it went everywhere.”

Further complicating things are rumors that Elordi’s managers had already requested a “reduced role” in season 3 for the in-demand Australian actor, who made his mark last year in buzzy movies like Saltburn and Priscilla. “Jacob Elordi is on the fast-track to an Oscar,” the agent tells Us. “He has big, serious films coming out this year. He doesn’t need Euphoria anymore, and if Levinson makes things too difficult, his team will probably try to pull him from the show altogether.”

Elordi delivered a backhanded dig at Levinson in a November 2023 GQ cover story promoting Priscilla, in which he played Elvis Presley. He praised working with that film’s director, Sofia Coppola, saying it was “pretty fun to completely trust somebody cause it just alleviates so much stress and worry,” adding that he had never had that experience with a director before.

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And despite the promise of her million-dollar payday, Zendaya is much more excited about the possibility of a third Dune movie, in which her character, Chani, would feature prominently, as well as a strongly-rumored return to the Spider-Man franchise. It would be almost impossible for Euphoria to work around her commitments to either, or both, of those films.

Are Zendaya Sydney Sweeney Jacob Elordi Too Expensive for Euphoria to Continue Agent Weighs In
Zendaya Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

“The longer they leave it,” the agent concludes, “the harder it is going to be to get everyone to return. Everyone made space on their calendar for production starting next month. Now they’re all going to jump into other movie and TV jobs. The sheer logistics of getting everyone back together in six months or a year are pretty close to impossible.”

Predictably, Euphoria stans responded angrily to the news of this latest delay, with many of them predicting that the show will never return.

“Season 3 gonna be happening in a retirement home,” wrote one fan on X, while another said, “just give us like a 2-3 extended episode finale + maybe ‘the making of’ special and let’s all be done with it.”

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