‘Industry’ Creators Tease ‘Super Intense’ Season 3 at ATX Premiere: ‘A True Darkening of the Soul’

It’s been nearly two years since “Industry” last aired, but the Season 3 premiere wastes no time getting the hot young bankers of London’s high finance world back into trouble. On Friday night in Austin, TX, HBO presented the first episode in its entirety at the ATX Television Festival, and the nearly full theater was whipped into a frenzy by the time the credits rolled. Multiple gasps were heard throughout the hourlong screening — the causes of which will not be spoiled here — and, especially lucky for the fans in the theater, co-creators Konrad Kay and Mickey Down were on-hand for post-show Q&A to help talk through select scenes and prepare viewers for what’s coming up next.

“We do want it to be super intense,” Kay said from the stage.

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“Episode 2 is just intense, intense, intense, intense,” Down said. “Episode 3 they go to Switzerland [and take a little break], and then it’s just incredibly intense again.”

The sophomore season of HBO’s buzzy, London-based drama series left off with Harper (Myha’la) getting fired from Pierpoint, following a year where she steadily became the company’s rising, if turbulent, star.

“Season 2 is just an acceleration of Harper, leapfrogging over Eric,” Down said. “But the criticism we were getting was that Harper can’t do anything wrong — until the finale.”

Once everyone saw that ending, her character’s arc clicked into place. But Harper leaving Pierpoint, the nexus of activity on “Industry,” also left fans wondering how she would continue to fit into the narrative. The premiere answers that question, but not until about halfway through. Harper has an entry-level job elsewhere in London, where she comes into contact with a similarly confidant, against-the-grain portfolio manager named Petra Koenig (played by new series regular Sarah Goldberg).

“We could’ve reset the whole thing,” Down said, meaning they could have found a way to walk back Harper’s termination and bring her back to Pierpoint. “But we really wanted to make good on the ending. […] You know there’s a Harper in there who just wants to get out. But she’s started to think, ‘Is my behavior destruction? Is it self-destructive?'”

Another new cast member is Kit Harington, playing the CEO of a green-tech energy company, Sir Henry Muck. With an outwardly inclusive and kind brand and a privately hostile, aggressive personality, Much is sure to stir things up at Pierpoint in a way similar to last season’s billionaire investor played by Jay Duplass.

When asked if Muck was modeled after any real-life figures, Down said, “That’s a good question, but I don’t think we should answer it. […] He’s an amalgamation of people we’ve come into contact with. […] He does think what he does is good for the world, but of course it’s also really good for him.”

As fans stepped to the microphone to ask their questions, each one expressed enthusiasm for the premiere, and a few wondered if the lead characters were beyond the point of redemption.

“There might be [redemption coming,]” Down said. I think this season comes the closest to showing what being redeemed would be. They’re even more heinous this season.”

“[But] there are definitely moments of grace,” Kay added.

“It’s all, to a certain degree, artifice,” Down said about the attitudes each character sports to survive in their chosen field. “It’s an armor they put on. […] They come to this business and pretend to be something they’re not, and that artifice starts to break apart this season.”

“[We’re finding out] who can’t exist without [the work] and who’s early enough in the cycle to be able to get out,” Kay said.

The duo also said Season 3 will see “a real darkening of Eric [Ken Leung],” Down said. “The nickname for Eric in Season 2 was Sad Eric. In every scene, he was moping around. […] So in between seasons, we wanted to give him a [reversal.] A true darkening of the soul.”

If your heart can stand it, “Industry” Season 3 premieres Sunday, August 11 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and Max.

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