‘The Great’ Season 4 Canceled: Hulu Axes Elle Fanning’s Show After 3 Seasons

Catherine the Great's reign has come to an end. Hulu has canceled 'The Great' after 3 seasons.

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  • The Great was not renewed for season 4.
  • Season 3 premiered on May 12.
  • Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult starred in the fan-favorite series.

Huzzah! The Great became one of the most beloved and delightfully funny shows on television during its run. The series took place in 18th-century Russia and followed the rise of Catherine the Great. Elle Fanning perfectly portrayed the important historical figure with grace, strength, and lots of sass.

The Great season 3 was a total game-changer for the series, and fans had hoped there would be a season 4. Unfortunately, Hulu has decided not to move forward with The Great. From the show’s renewal status to what the cast and crew said about season 4, HollywoodLife has rounded up all the latest news about The Great.

Elle Fanning
Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult as Catherine and Peter. (Hulu)

Is The Great Season 4 Happening?

Hulu has canceled The Great, Deadline reported on August 30. The show will not be getting a season 4. This comes just 3 months after the third season dropped on May 12.

In the past, Hulu took a few months before deciding the fate of the series. The second season premiered in November 2021, and the show was officially renewed in January 2022.

Cast & Crew On The Great Season 4

The ending of The Great season 3 left the story wide open for season 4. Elle Fanning noted that the end of season 4 was a “total rebirth” for Catherine after Peter’s tragic death. “She cuts her hair, and she has the dance. And she’s really leaving the past behind,” Elle told EW. “So I think in many ways, Tony was like, if we get to go again, it’s really got to be completely new.”

Elle also revealed that she had “definitely thought” about The Great season 4, but she admitted to Collider that she felt “a pressure because what Nick brings to Peter and how larger than life he is, there is that absence there.”

She added, “She [Catherine] always changes, but this time, she’s really prepared to step into herself, on her own. The whole series, she has always had Peter, and now, she has to actually let him go, to be able to be the leader that she needs to be. So, it would be exciting to get to do that.”

Nicholas Hoult
Nicholas Hoult as Peter III. (Hulu)

In 2020, The Great executive producer Marian Macgowan revealed that the original plan for the show was 6 seasons. “We initially pitched 6 seasons. So we believe there’s sufficient material to take us through until she is an old woman,” the EP told Decider.

Showrunner Tony McNamara always kept an open mind as to The Great’s future. “I know a whole bunch of events that are interesting that you can hang things on,” he told THR in 2021. “At the moment, I try not to look too far ahead. At the end of season two, I didn’t quite know what season three was. I like not knowing what comes next. If you have a show with a great ensemble and a great bunch of characters, you can invent as you go for a while.”

What Happened In The Great Season 3

The Great season 3 featured the shocking and devastating death of Peter III. In episode 6, Peter died after falling into a frozen lake. Peter and Catherine had just had a fight over him stealing her army to invade Sweden without her permission. As he was on horseback going across the frozen lake, he turned around and began to say to Catherine, “Actually, I…” However, before he could get the rest of his words out, Peter and the horse fell into the icy water below after the ice shattered beneath them.

Elle Fanning
Elle Fanning as Catherine in episode 6. (Hulu)

“The last scene before [Peter dies] — I think it’s a very long scene, it’s like 12 pages perhaps — but that last scene that Catherine and Peter have, at the table read, we could barely keep it together,” Elle told EW. “When we finally finished the script, we were all like sniffling and crying. We were just sobbing knowing that he won’t play that character anymore. It was so devastating.”

She continued, “I was devastated. It felt like a real death. I will say, I would go home and cry. The sets felt so much emptier without having Nick fill them. I think also, Catherine and Peter, their dynamic and the scenes that we got to do together, it was just so sad knowing that we would never get to do that banter again, you know? We’re going to work together again, but it’s not as these characters.”

The show didn’t lose Nicholas Hoult for good after that. He also continued to play Peter’s look-alike, military commander Pugachev, in season 3. However, the show ultimately had to say goodbye to Nicholas when Pugachev met his end in the finale. (Unless there’s another doppelgänger out there.)

Elle Fanning
Elle Fanning as Catherine at the end of season 3. (Hulu)

Following Peter’s death, Catherine became immersed in her grief. The end of season 3 hinted at a new chapter for Catherine as she emerged from her sadness with a sense of freedom. The final moments showed Catherine walking into the palace’s stateroom with her hair cut off. “Destiny didn’t do it. I did it,” she said to herself before dancing alone as AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” played.

The Great wasn’t exactly historically accurate. In reality, Peter died shortly after being overthrown by Catherine in 1762. Catherine went on to rule over Russia for 30 years. During her reign, Russia experienced a renaissance. Season 4 could have explored how Catherine evolved to become this incredible ruler on her own following Peter’s death.