Penn Badgley Wants ‘You’ Season 5 to Be the Last: ‘Joe Needs to Get What’s Coming to Him’

11 March 2023

Penn Badgley is ready to bury Joe Goldberg once and for all.

The “You” star told IndieWire that the viral Netflix series most likely will end with Season 5, following a shocking twist with how Season 4 wrapped up. Joe Goldberg (Badgley) is back in New York City for a full-circle return to form, now with newly minted billionaire corporate raider Kate (Charlotte Ritchie) by his side.

“It feels to me like we need 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,” Badgley 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.”

The “Gossip Girl” alum 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 said, “The show has always been about taking some of our low-key toxic tropes about love and relationships and turning them on their head, or following them to their disturbing conclusions in a way, and bringing that back to us in a way that is fun and disturbing at the same time. So if it can do that to a degree about any of these other things, thematically, it does do that. But I don’t think it does do that anywhere near as well as it does just with love as an idea, as a notion.”

Badgley added, “I think maybe where it’s changing is this season, you realize it’s not about anyone else. You realize it’s about him. I think it draws you into a definition of ‘who I am and what do I want, and can I change? Is that possible? What have I done?’ And so I think that’s maybe where we’re at by the end. To me, it feels like this is Part 1 of Joe’s climax. Should there be a next season, that will be Part 2. That’s what it feels like to me.”

The “Easy A” star noted that if Netflix does not greenlight a fifth season, “You” fans could still read the Season 4 finale as a chilling conclusion with Joe getting everything he wanted and more.

“You could leave it off where it is now, and it’s somewhat satisfying,” Badgley said. “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, “We’re needing to see Joe come to a conclusion. Should there be another season? That to me feels like what is happening. Now Joe has power. There’s a set of circumstances that doesn’t exist before. It’s actually a deeper change. In a way, you certainly don’t think he’s happy. That’s really terrible feeling. In a way, that reflects reality, like as long as you somehow don’t think Joe is winning. You see a man getting everything he wants but you know that it’s awful. That to me is spiritually resonant storytelling. But I think we’ve got one more in us. But of course, I don’t know.”

Penn Badgley in “You”

Courtesy of Netflix

Badgley previously said during the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast that he signed a six-year contract for the series, so if Netflix desired, “You” could end with Season 6 instead.

“They could do two more if they wanted,” Badgley stated. “I think if there’s another season, I think it’s only going to be one. This is my understanding, but I don’t know, I really don’t know. But I do know that everybody concerned, from the top on down…Nobody wants this show to become tired.”

Badgley told Entertainment Tonight that executive producer Greg Berlanti already “pitched” a possible finale to him that he thought was “brilliant.”

“He pitched it to me like a year and a half ago before I knew it was happening, Season 4. He also told me how he thought it would end in Season 5 and I thought, ‘Yeah, that’s great,’” Badgley teased. “Joe, at this point, he’s like a post-modern icon. He’s such a popular dude but, there’s got to be, to me, a more thorough, satisfying conclusion.”

Looking beyond “You,” Badgley is hoping to direct feature films and pursue true crime journalistic podcasting, expanding outside of his current “Podcrushed” podcast.

“You” showrunner Sera Gamble confirmed that while there aren’t “any firm plans,” a possible fifth season will be a reckoning for Joe and perhaps feature influential women from Joe’s past. Yet the haunting Season 4 finale is not supposed to show the “despair” of watching Joe win.

“I think the gift that [novelist] Caroline Kepnes gave us with the book is she is tackling incredibly dark, serious subjects that if we just talked about them bluntly in a conversation, we might be despairingly about them,” Gamble exclusively told IndieWire. “And she’s given us this cheeky, subversive, fun, insane way of exploring all of that stuff. This author was a young woman writing about how fucking terrifying it is to be a woman just walking down the street because any guy you see, you have no idea what’s going on inside their head. That kind of vibe has just continued and paid dividends in the series. Joe is fun. He is fun when he’s doing bad things, he is fun when he’s trying to do good things.”

Gamble teased, “If we get the opportunity to do a little more, I think we want to make sure that we preserve the essential sweet romantic Joe that’s at the heart of it. I would say you can walk out of this season maybe noting that he remains like an optimist and someone that believes in love. We know that works out great for him, usually.”

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