Whatever their respective fates, Lexi and Fez's story wasn't supposed to end this way.
"Definitely not sure what to expect for Fezco," Euphoria star Angus Cloud told E! News last October when asked might be on the horizon for season three of the Emmy-winning HBO drama, "but knowing Sam, it'll be good."
Instead, series creator Sam Levinson and the rest of the Euphoria cast and crew are facing a future without Cloud, who died July 31 of what the Alameda County Coroner has since officially ruled an accidental overdose of fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine and other substances.
The 25-year-old actor's family said in a statement that he "intensely struggled" following the recent death of his dad. "Angus was open about his battle with mental health," they said, "and we hope that his passing can be a reminder to others that they are not alone and should not fight this on their own in silence. We hope the world remembers him for his humor, laughter and love for everyone."
But while many then jumped to conclusions, his mother, Lisa Cloud took to Facebook to Aug. 4 to explain why she didn't believe her son intended to "check out of this world."
While Cloud "was in deep grief about his father's untimely death from mesothelioma, his last day was a joyful one," Lisa wrote. "He was reorganizing his room and placing items around the house with intent to stay a while in the home he loved. He spoke of his intent to help provide for his sisters at college, and also help his mom emotionally and financially. He did not intend to end his life. When we hugged goodnight we said how much we loved each other and he said he would see me in the morning.
"I don't know if or what he may have put in his body after that. I only know that he put his head on the desk where he was working on art project's, fell asleep and didn't wake up."
His work on Euphoria, Lisa added, "became a lightning rod for his generation and opened up a conversation about compassion, loyalty, acceptance and love," so she hoped that fans would honor Cloud by making "random acts of kindness part of your daily life."
As Fezco "Fez" O'Neil, drug dealer yet also protective friend to Zendaya's Rue, Cloud became a fan favorite thanks to his slow-motion profundity, endearing affection for Little House on the Prairie, and his Type A-meets-Type Zzzz bond with Lexi (Maude Apatow).
Suffice it to say, when the actor would post "Fexi" pics, the response online was swift and enthusiastic.
"Personally, I think it's cool," told Glamour.com of Fez and Lexi's chemistry ahead of Euphoria's Feb. 27, 2022, second season finale. "I mean, they gonna do what they will," he said. "Hopefully, Lexi knows what she's getting into."
But the season ended harshly for Fez, the dealer planning to go to Lexi's play but instead taking the rap for little brother Ashtray (Javon Walton), who fatally stabbed Custer (Tyler Chase) after finding out he was a police informant and then got shot.
Naturally, though, it was nothing but love when Walton and Cloud reunited at Variety's Power of Young Hollywood event in August 2022, Cloud telling ET, "Anything we do, we support each other, bro is family."
As for Fexi, Apatow told Extra she hoped Lexi and Fez would be talking next season, even if through plexiglass. "But let's hope he's not in jail," she noted, quickly adding, "I don't know anything!" All she could say was, "I just hope they're happy."
Cloud never offered much insight as to why Fez was so appealing, nor why he himself had turned into a front-row-at-Fashion-Week kind of guy overnight. (Let his big blue eyes and soothing stoner monotone—he'd "marry weed, kill alcohol, and eat pizza," Cloud told Glamour—explain).
But the Oakland, Calif., native seemed amused, if also a little disturbed, by his overnight-heartthrob status.
The recently named face of Polo by Ralph Lauren also didn't have anything to offer as far as previously unknown tidbits about his life, deadpanning in the video interview, "They seem to be figuring out more and more by the day."
"I don't know what they don't know about me," he continued. "They're f--kin' researchin' my whole history and s--t. Just bothering me, pisses me off—leave me alone, man. S--t, don't worry about me." But then he giggled, adding with a shrug, "What you see is what you get."
Cloud was clear about one thing, though (and it purposely may have been just the one thing): He was not playing himself.
Cloud was just starting to expand his acting horizons, playing a clean-shaven fraternity brother in the college-set drama The Line, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in June. Your Lucky Day, a thriller about a convenience store hostage situation on Christmas Eve, is listed as "completed" on IMDb.
"I have a couple of projects coming up, too, I can't really talk about," Cloud told E! last year, "but I can't wait for everyone to see. They're a little different than what I usually do, so it will be cool."
Season two kicked off last year with a pivotal, violent episode for Fez—"I was super juiced up" by the script, he told GQ—that included the revelation that he got the scar on the left side of his head when his grandmother accidentally hit him with a crowbar while administering a beatdown to a conman.
The character's scar, however, was the real deal, from when Cloud fell into an open construction pit in downtown Oakland in 2013.
"It was hella hard to climb out, because my skull was broken, but my skin wasn't," the actor told Variety, "so all the bleeding was internal, pressing up against my brain. But they wasn't gonna find me down there. I found myself. Or God found me, whatever you want to call it."
Attempting to shrug it off, Cloud said, "It was damn near like nothing really happened. I'm so blessed to just have minor brain damage. You know, it's so minor it ain't even really worth speaking about." He did a little physical therapy and speech therapy, he shared, but "only for a couple weeks, 'cause I was like, 'Ehh.'"
Cloud acknowledged that his speech was "probably a little bit slower" due to the accident.
But it's not a coincidence that head trauma was written into Fez's backstory. Which wasn't going to be explored at all because, according to Cloud, the character was originally going to be killed off in season one.
He didn't know what the plan was—"I never saw that script," he told GQ. "No one ever told me"—or why, exactly, it didn't happen, but Cloud wasn't questioning his good fortune.
"I think that they liked what I did and so they decided to keep me alive and let me rock," he said before season two premiered. "I don't know how I was going out, but hopefully I would've gone out like a G."
Tragically, Euphoria now has no choice but to figure out an end for Fez, long before anyone was prepared to say goodbye.
(Originally published Aug. 1, 2023, at 3 a.m. PT)