War and Legacy Loom Over Dickinson's Third and Final Season Trailer

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Creator Alena Smith tells us what to expect in the genre-bending comedy's finale.
Was Emily Dickinson a war poet? The famed New England author is traditionally known as a recluse, but she was most prolific during the Civil War, and Apple TV+'s Dickinson loves nothing better than upending your assumptions about her life and work. As the genre-bending comedy heads into its third and final season, it's bringing Hailee Steinfeld's Emily into the Civil War — literally, in the case of a dream sequence, where she's on the battlefield that you can see in the trailer. That trailer also hints at the show's other key preoccupations: Emily's relationship with her sister-in-law Sue Gilbert, which is strained once again, and her legacy as a poet, which comes up in her interactions with an ebullient Walt Whitman (Billy Eichner) and, mysteriously, Sylvia Plath (SNL's Chloe Fineman), who calls her the "original sad girl." Dickinson will release its third season's first three episodes on November 5. In advance of the show's premiere, creator Alena Smith spoke with Vulture about what to expect.

You've said you had a three-season plan for the show. In that plan, what did you want to accomplish in this third season?

I always knew going into it that the third season would take place during the Civil War, which was the culmination of a lot of what we had been tending toward the whole time. The exact four years of the Civil War are when Emily's writing output went through the roof. I knew, also, when I pitched this three-season arc, that one of the most important characters who would enter Emily's life in season three is Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Gabriel Ebert), a radical abolitionist minister who Emily did the equivalent of cold-emailing in the spring of 1862. She sees Higginson's essay in The Atlantic encouraging young writers in their process and inviting them to reach out to him for advice. Emily writes Higginson a letter asking him if her poems are any good. It's interesting she chose this person who was explicitly a radical and an activist. At the time she…
Jackson McHenry
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