Alice Oseman, creator of YA queer sensation Heartstopper, has revealed that season two of the Netflix comedy-drama will be “a little bit darker” and “a little bit more mature” – because Nick and Charlie are growing up.
Speaking at the Hay Festival, one of the world’s largest and best-loved annual literary festivals held in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, on Saturday (3 June), Oseman teased a number of details about the upcoming second season of Netflix’s adaptation of her graphic novels.
Oseman was undoubtedly one of the most popular and anticipated writers to feature at this year’s Hay Festival, with long queues forming ahead of her event. Fans weren’t limited to young people clutching copies of Heartstopper books, either, with plenty of older
Hay even offered a special Heartstopper ice cream to attendees – strawberry and rhubarb flavour – the BBC reported.
“I still can’t quite wrap my head around the journey and how much Heartstopper has blown up,” Oseman told attendees. “It’s so surreal, especially the [TV] scenes that are word-for-word from the comics. Seeing my imagination come to life is mind-blowing.
“I was very committed to prose writing … I thought this would be a one-year project!”
Oseman fell in love with her characters, and so did readers. She then adapted Heartstopper for Netflix – and also executive-produces the show – so that a whole new audience of fans could become besotted with Charlie (Joe Locke), Nick (Kit Connor), Elle (Yasmin Finney), Tao (William Gao) and the rest of the gang.
“I just care about Heartstopper so much,” Oseman continued. “It was my passion project when I started and it still is.
“It’s so important to me that it never gets taken and twisted into something which I hate, which is always a danger when authors do book adaptations.”
The Heartstopper creator then went on to discuss what’s in store for season two, and told festival-goers that she’s “really excited” for more asexual and aromantic representation with Isaac’s character. Oseman herself identifies as aromantic and asexual.
Isaac (Tobie Donovan) does not appear in the Heartstopper books and his character as one of Charlie’s best friends was created for the Netflix series.
“Season two’s aim was to capture the joy and the magic of season one while also feeling that the characters have grown up and matured a little bit, so we’re exploring some things that are maybe a little bit darker than season one,” the British writer explained.
“The romances are getting a little bit more mature … it’s like an elevation, I like to think, of season one.”
Oseman also told the audience when to expect the ending of the Heartstopper books – “roughly when Nick leaves to go to uni”. And she already knows what the ending will be.
In a heartwarming moment, one woman in the crowd shared her experience of growing up in the days of the Conservative government’s Section 28 – a piece of deeply damaging, anti-LGBTQ+ legislation passed under Margaret Thatcher – explaining that she didn’t come out as gay until in her late 20s.
After thanking Oseman, the woman said she wished Heartstopper had been around when she was growing up.
Oseman said: “”Obviously, the target audience for the books is teenagers but it has really found an amazing audience of older readers and that’s been wonderful to see.
“It just goes to show that everyone wants to read about queer joy for whatever reason.”
Heartstopper returns to Netflix with season two on Thursday 3 August.