Mindy Kaling Addresses Reneé Rapp "Sex Lives of College Girls" Exit: "We Love [Her] So Much"
Good news and bad news, "The Sex Lives of College Girls" fans: the hit HBO Max series is returning for a third season! But, sadly, one of the fan favorites is leaving the show. On July 9, Variety reported that Reneé Rapp, who plays Leighton, is downsizing to a recurring role in season three before she'll ultimately depart. Rapp then confirmed the news shortly after, writing in a statement on social media, "College girls moved me out to L.A. and introduced me to some of my favorite people. Two and a half years later — it's given me y'all and this community."
She continued, "Thank u Mindy, Justin and everyone at Max for believing in me. A lot of queer work gets belittled — but playing Leighton has changed my life. I love who I am 10x more than I did before knowing her. I hope she gave y'all a little bit of that too. She's such a tiny part of representation but even the tiny parts count. I wouldn't be half the person I am without her and y'all. I love that b*tch more than you know. I'm so excited for this season and I can't wait for you to see what we have coming for her and the girls."
It's unclear why Rapp is exiting the series after two seasons, but it could be on account of her budding music career and upcoming role in the "Mean Girls" movie musical. Kaling seemingly confirmed this on July 10 when she addressed Rapp leaving the show on her Instagram Story, expressing how much the cast and crew love Rapp and support her future musical endeavors. "We love @reneerapp so much and of course will be so sad to say goodbye Leighton Murray," Kaling wrote. "But we can't wait to see our friend on tour!!" she concluded, referencing Rapp's current Snow Hard Feelings tour.
Still, Rapp and the rest of the main cast members — Pauline Chalamet (Kimberly), Alyah Chanelle Scott (Whitney), and Amrit Kaur (Bela) — will return for new episodes in season three. Max announced the renewal news on Dec. 14, 2022, just ahead of the show's season two finale. "Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble continue to brilliantly capture the college experience in the most entertaining and relatable way," Suzanna Makkos, EVP of original comedy and adult animation at Max, said in a statement. "This series is the perfect balance of comedy, sex, curiosity, and chaos, and we can't wait to see what the next season brings."
"I would love a musical episode next season."
Following its explosive fall 2021 debut, "The Sex Lives of College Girls" delivered more laughs, crazy adventures, and a whole lot of drama in season two — and yes, most of it involved men. Our favorite suitemates got into their fair share of entanglements, from Kimberly's surprising romance with hot guy Jackson (Mitchell Slaggert) to Whitney's messy love life with her ex Canaan (Christopher Meyer) and lab partner Andrew (Charlie Hall). Not to mention, Bela and Leighton found themselves navigating their own crises in season two.
But the good news is, with season three finally confirmed, we'll get to see these lovely ladies once more as they continue their journeys at Essex College. The cast already have a few ideas in mind for what they want to see in the upcoming season. "The little musical theater nerd in me would love a musical episode," Ilia Isorelýs Paulino, who plays Lila, previously told POPSUGAR. "We just have so many singers on the show, and I'm like, 'Please?' So I would love a musical episode next season. I think Justin [Noble] is down. We just have to convince Mindy [Kaling]. It doesn't even have to be a musical. It can be a fantasy, like someone hits their head and they're daydreaming. I don't know. Get me in the writing room."
Scott agrees with her, because the actor told POPSUGAR she's also hoping for a musical scene in season three. "I know it's probably not likely, I just feel like it's necessary," she said. "But I want to see the girls sing. I want to see everyone do a little song and dance. Maybe that's the musical theater major in me, but I'm hopeful."
Meanwhile, Hall and Slaggert have also both expressed interest in reprising their recurring roles next season. "I'd love to come back because Jackson has so many layers to him, and that also goes into the writing with Justin [Noble], Mindy [Kaling], and others," Slaggert told POPSUGAR, noting that he wants to continue to "add to who [Jackson] is and lean more into his quirks and how he's not a normal stereotype."
Prior to the ongoing WGA strike, "The Sex Lives of College Girls" seemed like it would stick to the same timeline as its first two seasons (season one debuted in November 2021 and season two kicked off in November 2022). But with writers still on strike, it could be a while before the show returns.