Ted Lasso's Brendan Hunt Teases Zava's Role in Season 3 (Exclusive)

AFC Richmond's return to the Premier League is underway. Ted Lasso returned to Apple TV+ on March 15th, debuting its Season 3 premiere. This MJ Delaney-directed episode got fans up to speed on Ted and company, showcasing how Jason Sudeikis's leading character is dealing with the fallout from both his professional and personal life last season. Arguably the biggest repercussion from Ted Lasso's sophomore installment came with Nick Mohammed's Nate Shelley, as the former kit man betrayed Richmond by leaking details about Ted's panic attack to the press and eventually departed the club completely for West Ham United FC.

Warning – The rest of this article contains spoilers from Ted Lasso Season 3 Episode 2.

Within the show, West Ham is now owned by Anthony Head's Rupert Mannion, the former owner of Richmond. Rupert is bent on embarrassing both his former club and his ex-wife Hannah Waddingham, as she took ownership of Richmond after their divorce. Rupert attempts to add insult to injury by acquiring one of soccer's hottest free agents in the form of Maximilian Osinski's Zava, a highly-skilled yet significantly arrogant footballer. Despite Rupert's best efforts, a last-minute scolding from Hannah leads Zava to test himself by signing with Richmond.

Speaking to ComicBook.com, Ted Lasso co-creator and star Brendan Hunt revealed that Zava is Coach Lasso's "biggest challenge" since he had to deal with Jamie Tartt in Season 1.

"It's Ted's biggest challenge that is inside the squad since Jamie, but Zava is different than Jamie in that he has much more gravitas," Hunt said. "He has much more experience. He's not trying to prove anything. He's almost really just kind of a force of nature or a god. He's not going to show Ted up, he's not going to shout Ted down, but he's not necessarily going to listen to anything Ted says, because why would he? He's been to the mountaintop. It is a different kind of challenge for Ted to tackle."

Many have already drawn parallels between Zava and real-life footballer Zlatan Ibrahimović. Beyond their similar names, the two men share almost interchangeable antics.

"He is a bit of a pastiche of various nimble-toed divas, but heavy dose of Zlatan in there," Hunt said regarding Zava's inspiration. "I was living in Amsterdam when Zlatan made his debut with Ajax, which was sort of his coming out party to Europe as a whole. He was a striking presence then. He of course only become more of an individual since then. So that seemed like a very fun spice to put in the mix."

Ted Lasso streams new episodes every Wednesday on Apple TV+.