Ted Lasso team ups Roy Rebecca

The ‘Ted Lasso’ character team-ups we’d like to see getting good minutes during season 3

Ted Lasso season 3 is only a few weeks away, and we can’t contain our excitement about the potential of what’s in store. With a dash of speculation and lashings of hope about what might be in the cards for all our favorite characters, these are the Ted Lasso cast members we’d love to see share more scenes once the new season kicks off.

The wait for new Ted Lasso has shifted from agonisingly long to startlingly short. After a vague promise of a spring release at the January TCAs, Apple saw fit to drop an adorable teaser trailer for Ted Lasso season 3 on Valentine’s Day, which revealed that the show would return just four weeks later, on March 15.

Apple also released a brief plot synopsis for Ted Lasso season 3, which reads: “Newly-promoted AFC Richmond faces ridicule as media predictions widely peg them as last in the Premier League and Nate (Nick Mohammed), now hailed as the ‘wonder kid’, has gone to work for Rupert (Anthony Head) at West Ham United. In the wake of Nate’s contentious departure from Richmond, Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) steps up as assistant coach, alongside Beard (Brendan Hunt). Meanwhile, while Ted (Jason Sudeikis) deals with pressures at work, he continues to wrestle with his own personal issues back home, Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) is focused on defeating Rupert, and Keeley (Juno Temple) navigates being the boss of her own PR agency. Things seem to be falling apart both on and off the pitch, but Team Lasso is set to give it their best shot anyway.”

After such a long time without any updates at all, the short lead time for Lasso’s pre-season promotion was a bit of a shock, but God, we’ll take it. Because how much have we missed those faces? To say that the ensemble cast of Ted Lasso is an embarrassment of riches is not exactly a bold claim. After all, included among the first season’s record-breaking 20 Emmy nominations (the most ever for a freshman comedy) are acting nods for seven of the eight series regulars listed in the show’s opening credits, with Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham, and Brett Goldstein all collecting trophies on the night.

And while it absolutely infuriates me that the eighth name on that list, Phil Dunster, was once again overlooked for his performance amidst the show’s season 2 accolades, many of those season 1 nominees got a repeat recognition, with the addition of Toheeb Jimoh, Sarah Niles and James Lance to the group of those honoured and Goldstein and Sudeikis once again taking home prizes. Ted Lasso casting director Theo Park sure picked a brilliant bunch, and has also, fittingly been awarded an Emmy for her work, and with season 3 only weeks away, we’re looking forward to seeing the AFC Richmond team play together once more, in all its most powerful formations.

There are certain combinations of Ted Lasso characters that fans can absolutely expect to share scenes. Our very first look at season 3 assures us that the drama between Ted and Nate will be an important through-line as the show moves forward. Despite her new career, we must still see Keeley hanging out with Rebecca as their once unlikely, now glorious friendship continues to empower and elevate both women, and we’ll definitely get plenty of Ted and Beard, both one-on-one and with the Diamond Dogs.

Regardless of what’s happened to their relationship over the summer break, Roy and Keeley’s love story, whether it ends in happiness or heartbreak, is sure to feature, as is the complicated relationship each of them seems to have landed in with Jamie Tartt. (Do the final moments of season 2 mean that Roy and Jamie are friends now? Time will tell, but the pair have been spotted filming together quite a lot.) And naturally, where would the show be without the special connection between Ted and Rebecca? It’s a huge part of the Ted Lasso DNA. Plenty of stories are going to revolve around those two, particularly if this really is the show’s final season and goodbyes may potentially be on the horizon.

These are examples of Ted Lasso link-ups that are pretty much guaranteed in the episodes ahead, but this whole cast is so great, and so close with one another offscreen, that I would love to see them mix it up a little as well. In fiction as well as in life, any time you watch a person connect with someone new, a new facet of who they are is revealed, and there are still many so characters who have not yet really had the chance to interact with each other in a significant way. There may have been a small scene in passing or a group conversation, but I’m talking about a more focused plot, be it a side quest or some careful storyline that adds weight and perspective to the ongoing character arcs. Something that defines who those two particular people are to each other, or what they bring out in one another.

I don’t doubt that Ted Lasso will deliver on this front. Season 2 certainly did, creating crucial moments between characters who weren’t particularly involved with each other in season 1 — Sam and Rebecca, Nate and Keeley, even Beard and Higgins — and it’s safe to say that season 3 will continue down the same path. Ted Lasso knows all its characters very well, and it would be a waste of that complexity, that intentionality, to not keep delving by putting them in new situations with people who may be poised to unwrap new layers. So yeah. It’s going to happen, in large or small ways, but the question is — who exactly will it be? Well, I’ve got a few ideas, or perhaps, requests. Some of these are inspired by flashes of a dynamic glimpsed in season 1 or season  2, and some are pure wishful thinking. Here are the Ted Lasso characters I want to see new team-ups from in season 3.

Ted Lasso and Keeley Jones

Jason Sudeikis and Juno Temple have obviously been in a ton of scenes together, usually moments centred around Rebecca, or gossiping in the coaching office. But they haven’t had a one-on-one adventure since the lion/panda photoshoot in early season 1. They haven’t really had any direct conversations, or been the focus of each other’s story, or helped each other to solve a problem, and well, I’d like them to. These two always bounce off one another in a fun way when part of a group, but I’m keen to dig a little deeper into their friendship. They could team up for something to do with Rebecca, of course, or even during Keeley’s potential rough patch with Roy, but given the official summary’s mention of “media ridicule,” I’d love to see Keeley helping Ted to manage the public perception of himself — and maybe even turn the tables a bit, allowing Ted the chance to support Keeley.

Related: ‘Ted Lasso’ hair and makeup designer Nicky Austin on season 2’s character journeys and what she and Juno Temple want fans to know about Keeley

Keeley is a very good barometer for people, and she and Ted have quite similar strengths and weaknesses. They’re both bright and confident people who choose to be proactively positive, and they both increase that positivity to something a bit manic when they’re swallowing down anxiety about being in over their depth. They’ve both made massive career changes in ways that could be judged quite harshly. Ted Lasso treats Keeley with the utmost respect, but the fact of the matter is that even after a glowing Vanity Fair profile, the crueller side of the British media, not to mention the general public, may pick on her, or at the very least not take her seriously as a businesswomen, due to her history as a professional WAG and topless model. Keeley’s under a spotlight for judgement, and she knows it.

Ted’s fielded similar “who do you think you are” mockery and discreditation from the press in his persistence to keep managing AFC Richmond, and he feels uniquely positioned to offer his special brand of supportiveness in that circumstance — even if he is still a bit of a Midwestern prude for censoring her posters in the pilot. Maybe she can tease him about that.

Rebecca Welton and Roy Kent

First of all, I am absolutely obsessed with these two. I’m obsessed with their small moments together in season 1, and I’m obsessed with their development as friends in season 2. They actually have had a couple of impactful scenes together already — there was the adorable way that Roy helped Rebecca to reconnect with her goddaughter, and the world swooned when, after telling Keeley off for sugarcoating things to her friend, Roy went on to fiercely and passionately insist that Rebecca deserves better than boring John Wingsnight, that she deserves someone who makes her feel like she’s been struck by fucking lightning. (Look, I’m not going to lie — it would be tricky to navigate the story into a position where this made sense, but I would not be mad, at all, if Roy/Rebecca was the long term romantic endgame of the show. It’s not my first preference, but I could see it.)

But this is an important partnership for me, in terms of the future of Richmond, because I view both Roy and Rebecca, rather than Ted, as the true protagonists of Ted Lasso. I’ve said it before: Ted’s the Gandalf, but Roy is our Frodo; if Ted is Mary Poppins, Roy is Mr Banks. The same — even more so, really — goes for Rebecca. Because I don’t think Ted can stay in London. I pretty firmly believe that Ted Lasso season 3 has to end with Ted himself going back home to Kansas to parent his son, leaving Richmond in the capable hands of Rebecca and her new head coach Roy. People keep asking about a Roy Kent spin-off, and, yeah — if Jason Sudeikis has had enough but is willing to let the AFC Richmond Cinematic Universe continue on beyond Ted Lasso season 3, the most organic next step is to stick with Roy and Rebecca as they carry on running the club. And as time passes, Ted Lasso will be remembered as a temporary but crucial game-changer, someone who came in, turned everything upside down, and left the people there deeply changed for the better. Mary Poppins, I am telling you.

But look, even if Ted doesn’t depart when all is said and done, he’s got his own shit to deal with. The summary mentions Ted struggling with personal issues back home — a possible distraction from the world of football — as well as Roy stepping up in his coaching role at Richmond, and Rebecca being focused on defeating Rupert at West Ham. And given that Ted has just opened up a deep trauma wound and is going to be tackling it head-on for the first time, Roy and Rebecca are the two people most poised to navigate Richmond’s return to the Premier League properly, and beating Rupert in particular.

I’m curious about their position as the “old guard” — the people who saw what went on at Richmond, from up close, when Rupert was in charge. They have a history that predates the show. (Not that kind. Well, maybe that kind! In the period after Rebecca filed for divorce, who knows! It would be very sexy of them.) Most of the footballers who we get to know well are relatively new to the club — Jamie and Sam, for example, have both only been at Richmond for about six months when Ted arrives. But Roy’s been captain there for a good few years, he demonstrably loathes both Rupert Mannion and George Cartrick, the old manager, and he and Rebecca have a number of moments during the first season that make me want to know more about the way they relate to one another.

Related: ‘Ted Lasso’ costume designer Jacky Levy on the challenge of maintaining individuality at a funeral and the origin of Roy Kent’s socks

Right from the start of season 1, there’s a mutual respect thing going on between Roy and Rebecca, a sense of familiarity that came before Rebecca and Ted, Roy and Keeley, or any of the other major relationships on the show, and Rebecca is actually the first person we ever see Roy be nice to — flicking her a little salute and a “Hello, Ms Welton,” as the players file past her from training. The fact that Sam is the only other person who greets her in this moment is… well, that’s another story, but from Roy there’s a flavour of recognition, kindness and acceptance, especially if we look at that moment retroactively. Rebecca’s the new owner, sure, but Roy doesn’t do deference. He doesn’t respect authority just for the sake of it. He knows what Rebecca’s been through to get where she is, he’s suffered in his own way under Rupert’s regime, and putting it simply, he rates her. And her returning salute to him, as she spots him waiting around for Keeley later in the season, contains its own level of camaraderie I could spend ages unpacking. These two see each other quite well I think, and it’s mostly unspoken, but when it comes out, it’s one of my very favourite Lasso dynamics. I would love to get into it more deeply and watch Brett Goldstein and Hannah Waddingham strengthen that relationship even further.

If I had to pick an alt for either of these people to pair up with, there are several stellar options. Roy in therapy with Doctor Sharon for starters, because he needs it. And I’d actually be keen to see Rebecca have some one-on-one time with Jamie. Perhaps Jamie will finally find out the truth of his return to Man City — that Ted didn’t send him away, a detail that, as far as we know, Jamie is not actually aware of, and has the potential to keep influencing the strange friction between Ted and Jamie. Perhaps I just want to see Phil Dunster and Hannah Waddingham being lovely and hilarious together. Perhaps I’d like them to both sing. But no. If I had to choose, it’s Roy and Rebecca all the way. The true Richmond power couple.

Jamie Tartt and Leslie Higgins

Speaking of the strange friction between Ted and Jamie — Jamie, my poor little meow meow, is in dire need of a new dad, and sorry, kids, it ain’t going to be Coach Lasso. Not while Ted is still keeping Jamie at arms’ length, not while he’s demonstrably unable to support Jamie without getting triggered by his own trauma. Ted has issues with Jamie, that topic could fill its own article, and it’s something that season 3 must address. But Jamie merely existing repeatedly gives Ted panic attacks during season 2. There’s something to overcome there, and it’s important, but no matter how much viewers may want Ted to take up that father figure role for Jamie, he just… hasn’t.

Luckily for Jamie, he has his childhood hero Roy to help him with his football, hug him when he needs it, and properly appreciate his special shithousery skills, and as mentioned, that relationship is sure to continue to get a lot of focus in season 3. But there’s another terrific male role model in Ted Lasso who I would love to see play a part in Jamie’s story — Leslie Higgins.

The scene shared by Jeremy Swift and Phil Dunster when they discuss the VIP tickets for Jamie’s dad in “Man City” fascinates me. When Jamie asks about Higgins’ father — and Jamie is always asking people’s fathers — and opens up a little about his own difficulties in return, Higgins, perhaps the most well-adjusted person in the whole show, offers Jamie his heartfelt thoughts on the matter. I particularly liked the part where Higgins frames Jamie’s value — your dad’s important because you’re important — and Jamie tries to onboard that with a certain level of disbelief. It would have been perfect advice, really, perfect handling, if the situation Jamie was dealing was in any way repairable as opposed to actively abusive.

Related: Phil Dunster of ‘Ted Lasso’ delivered one of 2021’s greatest TV performances, and Emmy voters need to remember that

It’s impossible to blame Higgins for what went down in the Wembley dressing room, but Jamie was throwing up a few red flags during that conversation, and after seeing the extent of the damage caused by Jamie’s father, I can imagine Higgins feeling some amount of guilt for not investigating the situation more. His assumption of the level of parental tension Jamie was experiencing was not accurate, and now he knows the truth. It’s pretty clear during the ticket request that Jamie didn’t really want his dad there, and Higgins may feel bad for not digging, not helping Jamie prevent James from accessing the match.

I’d love for some of that stuff to come up again when Richmond next faces Man City. Ted Lasso filmed scenes for season 3 in Manchester, so we’re sure to see something involving Jamie’s past — certainly with his father, and maybe even his mother. But when it does come to a head, Higgins could perhaps take charge on an administrative level, maybe getting Jamie’s dad banned from the premises. But even if a Jamie-Higgins storyline wasn’t specifically about Higgins supporting Jamie through this circumstance, Higgins should still take Jamie under his wing and offer him more of that soft, gentle, fatherly affection. He’s already got five sons, what’s one more? This would be a strange friendship, sure, but a very sweet one.

Sam Obisanya and Sharon Fieldstone

Dr. Sharon Fieldstone has really been mostly a Ted-centric character so far. The impact of her role at Richmond was felt elsewhere, of course. Seeing a psychologist certainly affected people like Dani, Colin and Jamie, and I would have loved to see an entire alternative season 2 that consists just of the team’s ongoing therapy sessions — we don’t sit in on the players’ appointments, but it’s made clear that some of them are seeing her regularly. But her actual scenes were predominantly with Ted, as she served as a foil for his behaviour, an obstacle for his beliefs, and, eventually, a conduit for his healing.

Sarah Niles is set to return in season 3, possibly even in an increased role. It’s unknown if we’ll see her operating in a professional capacity at Richmond again, or if her story might be a more personal one. I do have a couple of theories as to what a more personal story for Sharon might look like, but given her strong boundaries and her reserved demeanour, I can’t imagine a lot of the other series regulars would be given the chance to get up in her business outside of office hours.

So sticking with the therapist angle, while there are a lot of people on this show I’d love to see working through their shit in therapy — Roy, first second and third, always more Jamie, and I don’t think we got to see nearly enough of Sharon and Rebecca interacting, though I doubt it would be in the context of a session — the person I’m most interested to see her sit down with is actually Sam.

Related: ‘Ted Lasso’ season 2 proves that predictable storytelling is more rewarding than shock

Sam is Ted Lasso’s youngest main character — he turned 20 in the second episode of the show, so that’ll make him 21 at the start of season 3 and 22 by the end of it — but he’s by far one of the most stable, emotionally mature and self-possessed people on the show. It’s implied that Sam has seen Sharon already (he’s one of the lads who is keen to invite her out for a drink after their big win against Tottenham Hotspur) but I’d like to see what the support of a good therapist would look like for him as he navigates new challenges and responsibilities, including starting a business with the aim of showcasing his culture, any further fallout from his accusations against the Nigerian government or from Edwin Akufo’s promise to dedicate his life to destroying him, and the aftermath of (or possible rekindling of) a very complicated but very passionate relationship with Rebecca.

All that on top of his football! Sam’s a busy boy, but he’s proven to be a strong person and wise beyond his years. Toheeb Jimoh imbues the character with a deep sense of conviction and an easy confidence, and it’s plain to see how Sam, as he teases, is only going to get more wonderful. Seeing Sam turn to Sharon for help sorting through anything that comes up could really hammer home the idea that there doesn’t have to be anything “wrong” with you to be in therapy — it can just be something that helps you maintain balance and perspective in your life, another way of staying fit and healthy. Yet another way that the messaging in Ted Lasso may help to make the world a better place. And if that’s not the direction, well, there’s always Shrinking.

Coach Beard and Trent Crimm

All signs point to Trent Crimm, Independent being closer to AFC Richmond than ever during season 3. If I had to make an educated guess, I would guess that he will be writing a book about Ted’s journey at Richmond and shadowing him closely during the club’s return to the Premier League. (John Feinstein, author of Season on the Brink, allegedly let slip on the Sports Junkies radio show that he’d gotten a research call from the Ted Lasso writers saying they want to have a journalist joining a team to write a deep dive book covering their season. Ideas may have changed since then, but… yeah.) I am also personally pretty convinced that, although it may not be reciprocated, Trent is in love with Ted, and that would obviously complicate things for him rather massively.

James Lance was not ready to reveal those kinds of spoilers directly, back when we spoke with him after the season 2 finale, but he was pleased enough (and flustered enough) by the line of inquiry, that it fed the theory for me even more. Even when talking about the way that Trent looks at Ted, as if he is the most fascinating thing that he’s ever seen in his life, Lance was unable to contain himself, saying “There’s a truth that you’ve hit on there and until it gets revealed — I wouldn’t be laughing like this unless there was something there. I love that. I could talk loads about it but there’s a lot going on. There’s a lot going on, is what really is the truth of the matter.”

Related: James Lance of ‘Ted Lasso’ has seen the backlash from journalists, and says Trent Crimm was ‘happy to pull the pin’ on his career

If Trent is, in fact, writing a book about Ted, he’s going to want to interview Coach Beard, and while I’m sure Beard would be reluctant at first, he’d also understand the necessity. An episode focusing on these two hashing something out together would be an opportunity to reveal a lot of the mysterious backstory that brought Ted and Beard together. We’d learn what Beard’s loyalty stems from (Brendan Hunt has a headcanon version of that story that may or may not make it onto the screen), how much about his friend he’s willing to share, and what he’ll protect at all costs. And then, because Beard sees everything, he might reach over, turn off Trent’s recording device, and say something observational and profound about Trent’s interest in Ted, allowing Trent the opportunity to unload about his feelings, making them, perhaps, easier for him to shoulder. Alright, I might be getting a bit carried away. But I stand by it. Even without the unrequited love thing, Trent interviewing Beard about Ted would be fascinating, and has the potential to fill in a lot of blanks.

Nate Shelley and Isaac McAdoo

I thought for a long while about who from Richmond I’d most like to see cross paths with Nate and talk with him about his departure from the club. I want to see that conversation from the perspective of someone who doesn’t actually know the details of what happened between him and Ted in the office after the Brentford match. I want to see how people are handling the situation from the outside, and what the perception is. And of course, how that gets approached would depend on two things: what Ted’s been telling people at Richmond, and what Nate’s been telling the media.

Honestly, there are a lot of options and each one would make for a fantastic opportunity — harking back to what I said above, putting people together in new situations reveals new facets, and the energy of that conversation with Nate would be drastically different if it was done by Roy, Beard, Rebecca, or even Keeley. But I realised that what I actually wanted was the perspective of one of the players, the lads who Nate had been coaching all year after his promotion from kit man. And for that situation, I’d have to turn to our skipper, Isaac.

Isaac was one of Nate’s regular dressing room bullies when the show began. Egged on by Jamie, Colin and Isaac were always picking on him until Roy pulled them into line, a scolding they fairly readily accepted. Of course, Jamie’s behaviour during his first stint at Richmond was framed as capital-B Bad. It came from a bad place inside him, he made people feel like shit, he had to apologise, and rightly so. But Colin and Isaac are never condemned for their treatment of Nate in the way Jamie was condemned for his treatment of, well, everyone.

I’ve always found it interesting that the narrative never truly villianises Colin and Isaac for the Nate stuff. It could come down to the question of intent. We don’t see that many examples, but their messing around with Nate seems to have been done without actual malice, more like “boys being boys” idiocy, playing rough and clowning around, and look, rightly or wrongly, and leaving Jamie’s nastier issues to one side, that kind of stuff is very normal for kitmen. It’s pretty much in the job description. I’m not trying to waive the culpability of a group of grown men who apparently don’t know how to parse – at least no more than the show itself does – but I do think it was just banter, to them. Just a game. At Richmond, it was being played in a way that Nate didn’t enjoy and didn’t want to participate in, which is fair enough of him (I would also fucking hate it) and more than enough of a reason for them to stop, but it could explain why Colin and Isaac are never treated as inherently cruel for it, just kind of thoughtless. Isaac’s not exactly portrayed as bright, but he grows a lot and his shifting behaviour towards Nate is one of the things we see make Roy decide to captain him, and Colin goes on to be seen as the sweet, hapless, rather sensitive one. No redemption arcs required.

Related: ‘Ted Lasso’ composer Tom Howe on creating the white noise of Ted’s anxiety, the rawness of Jamie’s heart, and the warning of Nate’s descent

It’s worth remembering that during season 2, everyone at the club supports Nate’s promotion entirely. The players absolutely adore him. They’re happy for him, they respect his authority in training, and when they tease him about his success, it’s clearly meant in an affectionate way, just as they took his season 1 roast in good spirits. But some people just can’t handle being teased at all, even in fun, and Nate goes on to torment Colin, who he views as the weakest and most vulnerable target of his former bullies. I don’t think it’s out of pocket to say that the way Nate treats Colin in season 2 came from a much darker and more toxic place than the way Colin treated him in season 1. More scenes between Nick Mohammed and Billy Harris would definitely be interesting, but if there’s anyone that I want to see Nate talk to about Richmond, about how the players saw things from their perspective, and about what they think about Nate’s departure, it is Isaac. He can speak both as captain on behalf of the whole team, and also for himself, as someone who formerly made Nate feel small and regrets it.

A scene like this could go a number of ways, depending on what information Isaac is even aware of. Beloved assistant coaches becoming managers elsewhere is a fairly common career progression – Mikel Arteta, currently managing Arsenal, was Pep Guardiola’s former assistant at Manchester City, and the general consensus is that Guardiola and the players are all really happy for him, even as they compete against Arsenal for the league title. Rupert Mannion being a known villain does throw a spanner in the works, but talking to Isaac could serve to highlight something as simple as Nate – whose downfall stemmed largely from perception issues, his difficulty believing that people appreciated and respected him – struggling to process that his former players are genuinely pleased for him and proud of his success.

But the Ted Lasso season 3 teaser trailer features each main character, including Kola Bokinni as Isaac, gifting Ted a new Believe sign, one unique to their own personality. And while this isn’t actually footage from an episode, and doesn’t actually prove that they know that Nate destroyed the old one, the implication is there. I get the feeling that the team will find out a fair bit about what happened, and probably feel quite betrayed. So a moment between Nate and Isaac could be something deeper and more confrontational, with Isaac wanting to address the issues that Nate faced at Richmond and set things straight, and Nate explaining how he himself had felt about the situation.

Isaac stepping up in his leadership role is one thing I feel sure we’ll see happen during season 3, and Nate being forced to examine his warped perception of how people see him is another. While I don’t think combining those elements in this team-up will be the thing that solves the Nate problem — that’ll come down to Ted, or rather, really to Nate himself — it could make for a really interesting moment along the way.

‘Ted Lasso’ returns to Apple TV+ on March 15. The first two seasons are streaming now.