How many more times can Joe Goldberg get away with murder?
With the fourth season of You now streaming on Netflix, the future of the hit drama—and the serial killer it follows—may well be on viewers’ minds. In the latest installment of the series, Joe (Penn Badgley) turns over a new leaf in London, where he’s now working as a professor, but his past catches up to him when a not-so-anonymous killer starts targeting members of his rich new friend group and pinning the murders on him. By the end of the season, he discovers who’s been framing him—himself!—and things only get wilder from there.
Here’s what we know of Joe’s next chapter.
Has You been renewed for season 5?
Not yet, but a renewal seems highly likely considering the show’s popularity. Showrunner Sera Gamble has also expressed her plans for the series to span multiple seasons. She told The Hollywood Reporter back in 2019 after season 2, “I am not scared at all of saying that we definitely could follow Joe for several more seasons.”
In an interview with IndieWire the show’s star Penn Badgley made it clear that he thinks You needs “to do another season.”
“It feels to me like Joe needs to get what’s coming to him, and now he has further to fall because he has all this power and wealth,” he said. “But of course, that’s not up to me. I don’t know where it’s going. But to me, with this concept and with this character, we always wanted to be responsible and it’s not just the kind of thing we can let keep going because it’s doing well.”
Badgley continued, “I know the creators of the show always had this next season in mind as its last, should there be another one. And then it will probably be a spectacular resolution because it feels to me like something is in the works by the very end of this season.”
He did say that if the show ends with the season four finale it would be “somewhat satisfying.”
“But I think what’s particularly dystopic or chilling about it is he has effectively won. You have taken this man and shown him going out on top. In that sense, I don’t think it’s the conclusion that anybody wants,” he added.
What would season 5 be about?
“You’ll know what the next season would be when you see the end of this season,” Gamble told The Hollywood Reporter in February. “We tell you what the idea is.”
Sure enough, the setup becomes clear in the season 4 finale (again, be warned of spoilers): Joe reveals his true identity and murderous past to his girlfriend Kate (Charlotte Ritchie), who not only accepts him for who he is, but also protects him and his reputation. With the help of her, her wealth, and connections, he’s able to return to New York with a clean record and new narrative: that he is a survivor of a violent partner (Love Quinn), and now hopes to change the world with his new #girlboss GF.
Under Kate’s protection, Joe would be untouchable. He even says in the finale that the killing will be a lot easier now. And after spending the whole season trying to suppress his dark side and become a good person, he’s learned to accept his identity as a murderer. (Hooray for self-love, I guess?) It’s still unclear, though, if Kate knows that Joe killed her billionaire father, Tom Lockwood (Greg Kinnear). That could possibly lead to some drama in season 5.
“In many ways, when you’re not in denial about your intentions, you can plan better,” Gamble told ELLE.com of Joe’s future. “So it’s less that we think he’s going to cut a bloody swathe in New York City, although we also wouldn’t put it past him. It’s more that he is just more conscious of this side of himself and he’s less likely to be like, ‘Oops, I totally didn’t think I was going to shove that guy down the stairs. Now what am I going to do?’”
Also now that he’s in New York, Joe’s story is coming full circle, in a way. “He looks and sounds like Joe Classic,” Gamble added. “He has regained his name and now he is much more in the circles that he used to watch from afar and just judge. He can have all of that access, all of those resources, and none of the anonymity that he used to have in New York.”
And then there’s Nadia. Joe’s intelligent literature student figures out that he’s the Eat the Rich killer, but before she can turn him in, he kills her boyfriend Edward and frames her for the murder. By the end of the finale, poor Nadia is in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. Here’s to hoping she gets out, and maybe gets some revenge, in season 5. As for Nadia’s and Marienne’s potential return, Gamble tells us, “Honestly, the real answer is that we haven’t gotten in the room yet to really hammer it out. If we get to make another season, that’s what we’ll do.”
Tati Gabrielle hopes, for Marienne’s sake, that justic is served. “Marienne’s story feels still feels unfinished, and [it] still feels like she has something else that she needs to see through,” she told TheWrap. “I don’t think that Marianne is a vengeful person, so I think that she would want justice not necessarily revenge.”
Despite the long wait ahead for a potential fifth season, Gamble is already playing with plot ideas for what comes next. She told THR:
“We have an idea for season five that we’re excited about. It was never anyone’s intention to run this one into the ground. When we’re done, we’ll be done. And we’ll pack it up. Even in the early conversations with Penn, the idea was not to crank out episodes forever; it’s to feel like we have told the complete story. And though I feel like tonally, we’re very different and we are not trying to sell Joe as any kind of a hero with a straight face. This is a show that is in the tradition of these single-lead shows with a guy who does increasingly bad things. The beautiful thing about it is that when his arc is complete, so is the show.”
Who will be in the cast?
Unless the You team throws us a total curveball, we’re banking on Penn Badgley to continue leading the show as Joe. As we’ve seen in the past, he usually finds himself in a new crowd—sometimes even in a new city—each season, so we wouldn’t be surprised to hear of new casting announcements once season 5 is confirmed. As for the current season 4 cast, which ranges from Lukas Gage to Charlotte Ritchie to Tati Gabrielle, we’ll have to wait to see who returns.
Will this be the last season?
Still unclear, but Badgley thinks You could be drawing to a close. “I know what Greg [Berlanti, the co-creator] pitched me a few years back as what he thought was the right way to end. If there’s another one, it’s going to be, I think, a grand finale,” he told British GQ.
Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There is a 75 percent chance she’s listening to Lorde right now.