Netflix has had some big hits this year with their originals, one of the most successful being the highly praised teen rom-com To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. The film made rising stars out of its leads, Lana Condor and Noah Centineo, so it’s no surprise that a sequel is soon to be on the way. Based on Jenny Han‘s young adult novel of the same name, the film follows high school junior Lara Jean Covey (Condor), whose life gets turned upside down when the letters she wrote to her five crushes as a means of emotional release get sent out unintentionally. The sequel is reported to be one of the first films made as part of the new multi-picture deal between Paramount and Netflix.
Our own Rob Hunter noted that “character and personality remain at the forefront” of To All the Boys in his review of the film, which makes the idea of a sequel something to look forward to, especially if it continues on the same trajectory as its predecessor. There is so much that can still be explored with these lovable characters, so where might the sequel take them?
The first thing to take note of is that the book upon which the original film is based is actually the first novel in a trilogy that chronicles Lara Jean’s love life — in other words, the premise for a sequel already exists in Jenny Han’s second novel of the series, titled P.S. I Still Love You. However, there has been no word of confirmation yet as to whether the film sequel will be directly adapted from the second novel or if the filmmakers will take the second film in a completely different direction.
The ending of To All the Boys indicates the possibility for the second film to take either route (warning: spoilers for both the novel and movie lie ahead!). At the end of the movie, we see Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky (Centineo) profess their undying love for each other on a football field and walk off into the sunset in typical John Hughes rom-com fashion. The book’s ending, on the other hand, is a bit more open-ended: Lara remains broken up with Peter, but there is a glimmer of hope for the couple as Lara prepares to write one more love letter, and the novel concludes with the letter’s salutation of “Dear Peter.”
Despite the different endings, the film ends up connecting back to the book series with its mid-credits scene when John Ambrose McLaren (Jordan Burtchett) winds up on her doorstep. He’s one of the five boys who received letters from Lara Jean, the pair having met in fifth grade Model UN. As readers of the series will know, John ends up becoming a major character in “P.S. I Still Love You.” This mid-credits scene was likely meant to set up a potential sequel and might indicate that the plot will fall in line with that of the second book.
It will be great if the film’s sequel ties back to the plot of the book series, because that means getting to meet more unique and charming characters that Han has created for this universe just like John Ambrose McLaren. But we’re also totally open to the idea of the filmmakers taking the characters of this story to new places in addition to what Han has set up for them.
One character who will hopefully be explored further in the sequel is Josh (Israel Boussard), another of Lara Jean’s love letter recipients and also the ex-boyfriend of her older sister, Margot (Janel Parrish). While Josh was initially introduced in the beginning of To All the Boys as Lara Jean’s childhood friend and even a potential love interest for the protagonist, he didn’t wind up having quite as much screen time as expected. The sequel could easily be a chance to provide more depth to Josh’s character and further explore both his past and present relationship to Lara Jean.
We don’t see quite so much of Margot in the film, either, especially since the character departs for college in Scotland quite early on in the film. It’s hard to say whether she’ll be absent for most of the sequel, as well (in the books, she continues her schooling overseas), or if she will play a more active role in the second film. Margot’s past relationship with Josh could serve as a great device to further flesh out both of their characters, so hopefully, we will be seeing more of them in the next film.
And of course, the sequel will account for the fate of our main players, Lara Jean and Peter. As previously mentioned, the two had a pretty clear-cut happily-ever-after conclusion in To All the Boys, so it can be assumed that the two will at least start out the film as a happy couple — unless, that is, some kind of conflict has emerged offscreen. The couple is sure to have some bumps in the road at some point in their relationship, and as fun as it would be to simply watch the two live out their romantic bliss, things would be far less exciting that way (enter, John Ambrose McLaren).
It’ll be interesting to see what the dynamic between Lara Jean and Peter is once they’re an official couple, but there is a lot more to explore for each of them as individuals, also. The first film doesn’t shed too much light on Peter’s own friends and family, so a greater focus on this would add further context and depth to his character. As for Lara Jean, the audience has already become extremely familiar with virtually every aspect of her life — however, something that was not touched on quite so much is Lara Jean’s mother who passed away. Much more attention is given to this subject in the books, so the sequel might provide more insight to how it might affect Lara Jean’s relationships with those around her.
A sequel for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is undoubtedly something to be celebrated — one thing that it’s practically guaranteed to bring is the same light and breezy tone of its predecessor. If it keeps its focus on its charming characters and keeps the story fresh, the follow-up is bound to become yet another go-to guilty pleasure flick.