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Young Royals’ Malte Gardinger is ‘pretty sure’ fans will enjoy the show’s ‘solid ending’

Exclusive: The Young Royals star also discusses whether his character, August, will get a happy ending or not

By Alastair James

Young Royals' Malte Gardinger
Young Royals' Malte Gardinger (Image: Bertie Watson)

There’s something to be said for a series having a defined run. Knowing it will last so many seasons and that the story will be wrapped up by the end. Sit-coms, mostly American, could take some lessons from Young Royals, which is about to come to an end with its third season. Malte Gardinger, who plays August, the cousin of Prince Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding) agrees. “I feel like it’s perfect. I don’t want to want to milk it too much. It’s very common to do that and it flips out into something completely different.”

Sitting down with Attitude to go over things ahead of the last season Malte is everything his character outwardly appears not to be. He’s dressed far more casually than August, appearing in a hoody and jeans rather than a rigid school uniform. His hair is more mop-like and wild, not sharply cut and gelled into position. And he’s much more affable than August, who even in season three struggles to break away from his bully-ish ways.

Getting into this mindset was difficult at the beginning says Malte. “I had a tough time because you have to understand why he’s doing things the way he does.” August does do some awful things, namely leaking the video of Wilhelm and Simon (Omar Rudberg) at the end of season one. Malte would apologise to his cast members in the early days for some of the things he would have to say or do. “But gradually, I started to dig into him and I also talked with [writer] Lisa Ambjörn about his upbringing and his motivations. That comes from a lot of fear.”

“She is the turning point embodied” – Malte Gardinger on Sara (Frida Argento)

Digging into that we discuss August’s fear of having the rug pulled out from underneath him and being left alone. Combined with the loss of his father Malte says August’s actions can be seen as his trauma response. The culture August is surrounded by doesn’t help. “Of course, just the environment outside of the school. The families, the cliques, and the way of living life. What is valued and what’s not paired with his father going away and him coming to the school pretty fragile, trying to find a place and sticking to this character to survive. But then he breaks down throughout the series.”

Gradually over seasons two and three, we do see a more pleasant side of August. Malte does not doubt that Sara (Frida Argento) is responsible for bringing this out of him. “She is the turning point embodied,” he tells Attitude. “She’s his first look into life outside of this weird, twisted, hierarchy climbing. And he gets scared at first.” Counter to August’s more destructive tendencies, it must have been nice for Malte to play his nicer side. He admits portraying August’s full arc has been “the most fun,” and that “it’s nice” to see him change, again bringing it back to Sara.

Young Royals' Malte Gardinger
Young Royals’ Malte Gardinger (Image: Bertie Watson)

How about his relationship with his cousin, the Crown Prince? Maybe they’ll never be best friends, but can we expect to see their relationship improve? “I hope so,” offers Malte. “It’s one of those loves I think for both of them [they] are going to have with them through life.” Returning to August’s list of bad things Malte argues there’s a degree of inevitability that the drama August causes would happen anyway even without him. “If it wasn’t him there would probably be someone else. He rattles everyone and fucks people over. But mostly it’s from a place of panicking, I think, and not thinking. I think he feels really shitty about everything that he’s done. But he doesn’t know how to respond.”

Having seen episodes one to five of Young Royals‘ last season there’s still time for August to completely redeem himself. In past interviews, Malte has said he wouldn’t be friends with August. That hasn’t changed much. “I still don’t think so. I would be a bit too afraid to approach that sort of guy. But if we think about the future, even though there’s not a season four, maybe in a year, we could become best friends.”

Malte has also said previously that he wants August to get a happy ending. Audiences will “hopefully” see that he teases remaining understandably tight-lipped. “It’s hard because what would he feel about like becoming a successor? It’s hard to really know what he wants. I think he has a hard time knowing that himself. But hopefully, he gets some more time to figure himself out. And I think he will.”

In season two we saw August informed that he is next in line to the throne after Wilhelm. It seems like something he might have wanted at the start of the series. Now that we know more about him and his vulnerabilities and fears, is it something August would really want? “I think that he would not like it very much. I feel like in these last seasons, Sara’s opened him up to a new way of life. He’s very intrigued by that. He would probably be super happy about getting the title. But at the same time, it would be the death of something that he never will be able to explore.”

“I’m pretty sure that people will feel happy with it”

Young Royals is hailed as being part of a new era of LGBTQ+ storytelling where queer characters are not only front and centre, but get positive stories too. While Young Royals‘ central couple’s story is not all sunshine and daisies, it does mark a progression from shows of the past and is held in the same bracket as Heartstopper.

Malte marvels at being a part of something like Young Royals. “It’s so nice, also, being part of a love story. It’s just a love story in the end, and it’s also nice to see we don’t have to make it more of a ‘gay show.’ It’s just a love story and it happens to be between two men. That is very nice. It’s amazing to hear all these stories about people and what they have gained from the show and it’s baffling. I can’t accept that it’s had a big impact on people’s lives. It’s truly an honour to be a part of people’s lives in that way.”

Finally, we have to ask what fans can expect from Young Royals‘ final season. Careful not to spoil anything, Malte teases: “I’m pretty sure that people will feel happy with it. Some might not but overall, it’s a solid ending.”

Young Royals season three will premiere in two parts. The first five episodes will debut on 11 March. Then the sixth and final episode will premiere on 18 March.