Zendaya has shared her hopes for Rue in Euphoria’s forthcoming third season.

On 18 December, the star took part in an awards season Q&A for the acclaimed HBO show alongside co-stars Sydney Sweeney, Hunter Schafer and Maude Apatow.

The cast also watched a screening of season two’s  episode Stand Still Like The Hummingbird, which focuses on Rue as she tries to elude the police and reveals Cassie’s (Sydney) secret relationship with Nate (Jacob Elordi).

As per The Hollywood Reporter, Zendaya told the crowd that creator Sam Levinson originally wrote a “much sadder ending to this season,” although this particular episode remained the same.

“And so we were thinking, ‘We can’t leave her here, she means too much to us,’” she explained.

“I think, collectively, as a people, we all needed a little bit of hope. We needed something to look forward to, some goodness and some joy, and trying to find that in a very painful time.

“That felt very relevant to, I think, a lot of people, but also important to me when it comes to Rue. I want people to know that there is something beautiful inside of her, whether she can see it at that time or not.

Zendaya added: “So then, he proceeded to completely change the ending, and it ended in the most beautiful way and the most incredible performances that you guys brought to life that blow my mind. And really, the idea [is] that art can save lives in many ways.

“So it went through many iterations, but I’m grateful where it ended, and I’m grateful for all the stories that were then shared with me after that ending.”

Looking ahead to season three, the cast were asked what “euphoria” looks like for each of their characters moving forward. For Cassie, Sweeney said she’s “looking for a family in everyone else”.

“She looks for it and her friends, she looks for it in the guys,” she shared, while Apatow said for Lexi it’s “freedom from yourself and your thoughts and negative thoughts, negative self-talk. Once that’s out of the way. you can realize your full potential, and I think that’ll probably [be] hers: stop attacking herself.”

For Jules, Schafer said: “Each of these characters have their own vice in a way, and I think the product of Jules’ vice that she’s looking for is closeness with other people and feeling affirmed in that closeness without any judgment or real connection and safety in that connection.

“I think she finds it in not the best ways a lot of the time, but I think end of the day, it’s what she’s looking for — what she knows is there with, Rue but there’s stuff in the way; what she knows is with her dad, but there’s stuff in the way; what she knows could be with Elliot, but he’s an addict and everything.”

As for Rue, Zendaya said her one wish “is literally just to be able to be alive and maybe enjoy it.”

“I know that she can do it because Sam wrote it, and Sam is Rue, and he’s done it,” the Dune star continued. “He’s proof that there is hope for Rue and anyone like Rue, and from the beautiful letters and people who have reached out.

“I am so grateful for those experiences when somebody comes up to me, and they speak about Rue and how they’ve connected to her or whatever part of their healing journey she has been able to be a part of.

“To me that is the greatest, greatest gift I can ever ask, it gives me euphoria and purpose in what I do. [..] “I just hope for a little bit of joy and for her just to be able to breathe and love without the fear of losing.

“I mean she’s gonna have to go through some things, yes, but you know, we’ll get there.”

Season two of Euphoria was met with overwhelming praise for its performances and visuals, with Zendaya, Sweeney, Colman Domingo and Martha Kelly all receiving Primetime Emmy Award nominations.

At age 24, Zendaya memorably became the youngest recipient of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and, after winning the award again this year, the youngest two-time acting winner.