Warning: major spoilers for the ending of To All the Boys: Always and Forever ahead.
To All the Boys: Always and Forever ends with an earnest promise: Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) will try to make their relationship last through college, despite living on opposite sides of the country. In the final shot, Lara Jean muses from her NYU dorm that the 2,500+ mile distance is great for sending love letters.
But given the metamorphosis Lara Jean and Peter undergo in the Netflix trilogy (particularly in the third film, which has some of the heaviest emotional scenes of the entire series), will they really realistically survive four life-changing years long distance? Condor, the person who knows Lara Jean best (besides novelist Jenny Han, of course), has a hot take on the subject: “I don’t!” she exclaims during a Zoom call with Centineo and ELLE.com.
“I think they’re going to really try,” Condor continues. “I think their intentions are to try, but I also know that life gets in the way, and I do believe they need to grow separately. They’re at that pinnacle time in your life where you’re developing.” However, she has hopes for the couple long-term. “I do think they get together maybe after college, like in years to come. For me, I believe that if you love someone, and they love you, and it is pure and true, I believe it can work. I 100 percent believe it. But I think I’m at a different stage in my life. I think college and being a freshman in college is very different.”
Centineo is much more non-committal with his answer. “I have no idea,” he admits. “I think they leave the ending open to ambiguity, and I think [they did it for] a good reason. So I hope they make it, but we’ll have to find out when we do the fourth one, right, Lana?”
“No! Okay, there’s not going to be a fourth,” Condor cuts in, playfully chiding Centineo. “If you’ve been putting this in everyone’s ear, no wonder people are like, ‘So is there going to be a fourth one?’ Noah’s over here like, ‘Yes. One-hundred percent yes.'”
“Totally,” he replies.
“No,” Lana objects.
“And a fifth one. And a sixth…” he trails on.
Of course, Netflix hasn’t confirmed a fourth film or even hinted at the possibility; Han’s book series is a trilogy, after all. But Condor and Centineo have thoughts about a possible plot, which they reveal below. Read on as the stars of To All the Boys: Always and Forever discuss the legacy of Lara Jean and Peter’s healthy high school romance, their thoughts on how the characters handled their first time having sex, and their favorite film of the trilogy.
I watched the third film last night, and it was so full of joy. Obviously, it’s coming out during a very different time than the first two films, with many people quarantining because of the coronavirus pandemic. What message do you hope people take from this film as they watch it?
Noah Centineo: Lara Jean and Peter have a lot of mutual respect for each other in this film. And there’s a lot of surrendering to what’s happening with college from both of them. In the end, it resolves with, it’s you and I, not, you and I versus each other. I think that’s a really strong moral compass to abide by and learn from. I also love how they go about having sex for the first time. I think there’s a lot of mutual respect there. It’s obligatory for partners, especially at such a young age.
Lana Condor: It’s like, this year we have learned to truly go with the flow. Life hits you in the face and it’s completely unexpected, and there are things that happen that you’re just like, I’d never in my wildest dreams think we’d be here. Similar to what Noah was saying, Lara Jean and Peter are willing to take what life throws at them and realize, we love each other, and we want this to work, but we also know that nothing is predictable and everything can change in an instant, and they feel okay with that.
In the first two movies, I feel like Lara Jean was always wanting structure. She wanted things to work out the way she had planned in this beautiful version of her head, and now it feels like she is more grounded. And what Noah said: Doing it together is better than doing it alone.
The sex scenes—the one after prom where they try to have sex and it doesn’t work out, and the one when they ultimately do after Lara Jean’s father’s wedding—offer two very different emotional notes. What was it like shooting them?
Condor: I think Lara Jean really wanted to have sex with Peter after prom, not because it was the right move, but because she wanted [it] herself. It was very selfish. She was like, I want to feel like everything’s okay. Maybe this will fix these problems we’re having. I can just pretend—maybe physically everything will be okay. So she was coming at it with the wrong intention. It wasn’t for the both of them. It was just for her. And I think the fact that Peter saw that…I feel like it’s great to show conversations regarding sex, particularly [for] young people. It’s okay to make sure both partners are feeling like it’s happening the way that they want it to—not because it’s forced. That’s important. And then I think when she does finally lose her virginity, it feels right. It feels like we’ve been leading up to it and it also feels appropriate.
Centineo: I think in the first one, she’s trying to do it out of fear of losing him. [That’s] never really a reason to do anything, especially not have sex with someone—at least not the first time, if it’s something that’s so important to you. And on the second time, it’s just purely out of love, which makes it right. It felt right.
In a lot of high school movies, there’s usually a popular guy who isn’t really nice, but Lara Jean and Peter are always in a very healthy relationship. They communicate. What do you hope young people take from that?
Centineo: I think being ugly to people, not being nice to people, it’s a staple of being popular. For some reason, I think it’s like someone [who] doesn’t care, someone confident, and someone who’s not getting made fun of—they’re always cooler. But I think there’s a renaissance occurring today where we’re getting those archetypes and the stereotypes. They still exist, surely. They’re not going anywhere, but I think there’s a much stronger inclination, for the younger generation at the very least—
Condor: —towards kindness.
Centineo: Yeah, towards kindness. I think we’re all sensitive in some way, and I think accepting that sooner and earlier in life ultimately leads to a better quality of life.
Condor: I agree. Man, I think we just really do. We got to break that habit of judging people from the exterior before we learn their heart. And it’s obviously [easier] said than done, but I think with Lara Jean and Peter, they have always—even in the beginning of their relationship, even in movie one—they’ve always spoken the same language. They’ve always been on the same wavelength and their hearts are very aligned. It’s much harder to be kind, to make that choice every day. I think it’s very easy to be cynical and mean, but ultimately, when you choose kindness, and you choose love and truthfulness and having open conversations with those you love, ultimately, it will make you all the better. It’ll make your relationships all the better, too.
I like to see that in these films. I like to see how far they’ve come. In the third movie, they’ve been together for a year. It’s very clear that they feel comfortable around each other. It’s very clear that they are each other’s person. And I think that is a testament to spending so much time doing these films together. It’s really beautiful to see that type of growth in a relationship, particularly from how we started.
If there was a fourth To All the Boys, let’s say it’s set 10 years down the line. They’re 28. What would that story look like?
Centineo: I think if we do a fourth one, it should be like 20 years down the line, and I think they should both have their own respective lives and then they meet each other again and it’s like, Oh my God, what?
Condor: Noah and I have talked about this. I have this vision [that] Peter just breaks. He has a full mental, physical breakdown. He is like, truly, who am I?
Centineo: He got a serious injury in college and couldn’t—
Condor: Yeah, his lacrosse dreams were crushed. It’s horrible. [Laughs]
Was it hard letting go of Lara Jean and Peter? What was it like during the last day on set?
Centineo: Lana cried like crazy.
Condor: I cried like crazy when he wrapped. I cried like crazy when I wrapped. By the way, Noah, I don’t even think you know this—when I wrapped in Korea, I was by myself, and I was so unprofessional and such a mess that the scene I shot, my final scene, didn’t even make it into the movie because I was such a wreck. But when Noah wrapped, I was very uncomfortable.
Centineo: You couldn’t make eye contact with me when we finished.
Condor: Yeah. I was hiding from him because I was not having it. It was just too much for me and my heart couldn’t take it.
What was your last scene together that you shot?
Condor: I guess in the reshoots.
Centineo: What did we do?
Condor: We didn’t have any lines. It was just Noah and I. I think it’s in the montage at the end of the movie.
Centineo: Yeah, sitting at the table.
Condor: Yeah. It’s just us sitting at the table where it all began.
Centineo: Where we wrote out the stuff for the contract.
What was your favorite scene to shoot in the third movie?
Centineo: I like the bakery scene. You think it’s going to go one way, and it goes a different way, and it shows the growth of the characters and their ability to communicate.
Condor: I love that scene. I also just loved the way that they shot it. I thought that the camera pans were so beautiful. I think graduation, when they all graduate and everyone comes together. They’re jumping for joy that they made it through high school and you really see Lara Jean and Peter’s community. You see all the friends coming together and enjoying each other’s company. I think that was just so special because I love the whole cast. We spent years together and it felt real, that joy. Celebrating the ending of something and the possibility of what’s to come felt very real. And of course, I just loved being around everyones.
What is your favorite of the three films? Which one means the most to you?
Condor: He says no.
Centineo: No, that’s not happening. They are all so good.
Condor: Yeah. I haven’t seen the final drafts [of Always and Forever]. I’ve seen the drafts a couple months back, but I haven’t seen the final lock version, so I feel like I can’t speak to it and give it, like, a solid go.
Centineo: It’s got to be the first one, right?
Condor: I know you love the first one.
Centineo: Thinking of it, I feel like [with] anything, you got to pay respect to the first one.
Condor: Well, yeah. I don’t know. I feel like I love where we end in the third one. I love seeing everyone in the third one. Yeah, who knows? We’ll watch them back to back when they come out.
Stream To All the Boys: Always and Forever on Netflix now.
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