“The After universe just keeps expanding,” writer and director Castille Landon tells Teen Vogue. “The fandom, and how excited they are and their input, it really does inspire us all as creators every single day.”
While the love story between Tessa (Josephine Langford) and Hardin (Hero Fiennes-Tiffin) was initially brought to life by author Anna Todd, the new additions to the After movie franchise will expand the universe. The prequel will be loosely based on Todd’s book from the perspective of Hardin, Before, but Landon promises to dig much deeper into his backstory.
“He’s gone through a lot of trauma in his family life and in his relationships, and [we’ll] see more of that messiness before he meets Tessa, and how that experience changes him,” she said. Teen Vogue reports that the younger version of Hardin will not be played by Fiennes-Tiffin.
But the really interesting addition to the franchise will be a follow-up film about (spoiler alert) Tessa and Hardin’s children, Emery and Auden, and their cousin Addy, who were introduced in the epilogue of the After Ever Happy book. While Tessa and Hardin will appear in cameos, neither Fiennes-Tiffin nor Langford will reprise their roles.
“Emery, Auden, and Addy are quite beloved by the fans. We’ve all gotten a lot of inquiries about what happens with the kids,” Landon told Teen Vogue. “It’s really amazing actually to see how interested the fanbase is in those characters, even though they are really only superficially introduced in the books. People have latched onto them because of their love for Hardin and Tessa.”
While the characters were found in only a couple of pages of the book, Landon does promise to “stay true” to the story’s original ethos. “We kind of carry the sins of our parents forward with us, so while they’re trying to break out of that, I think carrying that forward for the kids is really important,” she added. “[We’re] exploring a lot of the same themes, love and loss and messy relationships. We’ve all been there, and those are universal themes. Making sure these characters are dynamic and not pulling punches is really important, just as it’s important with Hardin and Tessa. And exploring young love without judging it.”
Obviously, you’re going to have to wait a while for these new additions. Only two out of the original four films have been released so far. The third film, After We Fell, is scheduled to be released in 2021, while After Ever Happy has completed filming.