Like a loaf of bread from a 17th-century brick oven, Dickinson’s queerness is baked into the series, and the good news is the third season drops on Apple TV+ November 5. The sad news is that it’s also the final season for the acclaimed series from creator Alena Smith. A post-modern take on the life of the poet of Amherst, Emily Dickinson, the series stars Hailee Steinfeld in the lead role and queer actor Ella Hunt as Sue Gilbert, Emily’s sister-in-law and one true love.
While it’s tough to see another LGBTQ-inclusive series end its run, at least Smith’s vision will see it through to the end as she planned for a three-season story arc from the beginning.
Regarding the end of the series, Smith said in press notes:
“When I set out to make Dickinson, I envisioned the show as a three-season journey that would tell the origin story of America’s greatest female poet in a whole new way, highlighting Emily’s relevance and resonance to our society today. In my wildest dreams, I could never have imagined how rich and satisfying the experience of making this show would become, and the incredible joy it has been to tell Emily’s story along with Hailee and our brilliant, passionate cast and crew.
“I can’t wait to share our epic final season with the world, and to bring our audience along with us to the conclusion of Emily’s coming-of-age saga, as she continues to fight for her own poetic truth, while reckoning with so many of the issues that face us now. Thank you to Hailee Steinfeld and our entire Dickinson team for making this such an unforgettable creative journey. I’m grateful for my partnership with Apple and can’t wait to continue telling more original stories with them in the years ahead.”
The first two seasons saw Steinfeld’s Emily bump up against the strictures of the times in which she was born, navigating avenues to pursue her art and later grappling with the meaning of fame. Along the way, there have been lush salon scenes loaded with characters who read as though they are on a queer spectrum, and with Emily’s quirky family with Jane Krakowski as Mrs. Dickinson, Toby Huss as the family patriarch, Anna Baryshnikov as her sister Lavinia, and Adrian Enscoe as her brother Austin.
The 10-episode third season delves into Emily’s “most productive time as an artist falls amid the raging American Civil War and an equally fierce battle that divides her own family,” according to press notes. “As Emily tries to heal the divides around her, she wonders if art can help keep hope alive and whether the future can be better than the past.”
“This is a show with a deeply female gaze. It is about a queer female artist. And it is created by lots and lots of women,” Smith told The Advocate about the show’s queer pedigree ahead of the second season.
“Whenever I talk about gender … I don’t even really like using the words ‘men’ and ‘women’ because I don’t like seeing gender that way. I like what the nonbinary folks are up to. That’s a lot more accurate about describing each of us as just unique individuals,” she said. “And Emily Dickinson and her poetry broke all kinds of boxes and definitions and boundaries.”
“The queer audience for Dickinson is our audience. … It’s so much fun to be getting to have this conversation and getting to sort of break open history and bring everybody into it who was there all the time.”
Watch the teaser trailer below.