2018 has been a wild year for Designated Survivor. The political drama was cancelled by ABC despite a cliffhanger ending that made a third season feel absolutely necessary, but it was eventually picked up for that third season on Netflix. The third season will enter production in the not-too-distant future, and two newcomers will be part of the cast: ER alum Anthony Edwards and Transformers franchise veteran Julie White.
In Designated Survivor Season 3, Anthony Edwards will play a man by the name of Mars Harper, who has become President Kirkman’s Chief of Staff following the end of Season 2. He’s not somebody who attempts to rule his underlings with an iron fist or bark orders. Instead, he uses his own likability to make things happen the way he wants.
Harper could be a valuable asset to Kirkman as he begins the process of campaigning for re-election, as campaigning is not something Kirkman had to do to ascend to the highest office in the land the first time around. Anthony Edwards’ character has served multiple administrations in a multitude of ways over the years, and his experience combined with professionalism and intelligence make him respected even by those who don’t agree with his party or politics.
That said, Harper won’t get along with Kirkman’s existing staff despite his likability. According to Deadline, his desire to bring focus and discipline to an administration that he believes fails to prioritize the President’s needs will lead to clashes with the staff members who have been with Kirkman all along. He’ll also clash with a fellow newcomer, played by Julie White.
Julie White is on board as Kirkman’s campaign manager, Lorraine Zimmer, and her agenda may not align with those of everybody around her. She too brings years of experience to the campaign, and her past successes undoubtedly made her a natural choice for Kirkman as he embarked on his path to re-election. Kirkman won’t be the natural choice for Zimmer, however, as she’s uncertain about working to elect a man who has never actually run for office.
Knowing that she’ll secure a place in history if she helps him win and fond of challenges, Zimmer signs on with the campaign. A bitter divorce and subsequent alimony will certainly complicate things for her, and her reputation for “disrupting established businesses” could make members of Kirkman’s established administration wary of her, although that’s only speculation at this point. She holds her views strong, takes no prisoners, and is willing to fight dirty if that’s what it takes to win.
Both Anthony Edwards and Julie White are on board in a recurring capacity, so we should see a fair amount of them in Season 3. Edwards’ casting on Designated Survivor marks a TV reunion with current (and fifth, due to frequent shakeups behind the scenes that contributed to its cancellation by ABC) showrunner Neal Baer, who was also showrunner on ER back in the day.
Production on Designated Survivor Season 3 is slated to begin at some point before the end of the year, with an intended debut in 2019. If you’re in the mood to relive the first two seasons of the series, you can find both among the many streaming options on Netflix now.