The sequel to this summer’s breakout teen rom-com hit, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, is officially in the works. This is a surprise to no one. Teens everywhere, and me, made TATBILB one of Netflix’s “most viewed original films ever with strong repeat viewing". By “strong repeat viewing” they mean watching it every day for two months and then every other day for another month THEN every few weeks when you’re stressed/ relaxed / sad/ happy/ lonely/ hyped, right?
I’ve read all three of the books in Jenny Han’s series just as many times. Since the Netflix adaptation of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before ventures many pages into the second book, PS. I Still Love You, the question about the sequel has been less about if it’s happening but WHEN in the books it will pick up. TATBILB’s post-credits scene ends with Kitty opening the door to find John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan Burtchett) looking for Lara Jean. If that was a spoiler, I’m not even remotely sorry because you clearly haven’t been paying attention in class, so you don’t deserve the extra credit of a spoiler alert. Fix your life. If you’ve read the books, you know that John Ambrose McClaren is a MAJOR player. Like Genevieve, JAM (I just realized this is John Ambrose McClaren’s acronym and I’m dying) exists to put a wrench in the love of our beloved leads Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky.
But wait, you might say, NO ONE could come between Lara Jean and Peter! Sorry, JAM can. In the books, he’s sweet, charming, smart, uncomplicated and super into Lara Jean. For the Gilmore Girls fans, he’s a Dean. He’s low drama and, honestly, probably the best choice for LJ on paper. That is, until you remember Peter Kavinsky exists. Can Noah Centineo deliver round two of the pitch-perfect performance of a boyfriend in a teen rom-com? Can he do it now that the collective crush has cooled and the world more or less thinks he’s a douche-bag? Will it even matter when Lana Condor carries the movie on her shoulders like she did in the first?
There have been some convincing arguments for why the John Ambrose McClaren storyline should be bypassed for the sequel (by Vox and this guy) but I think they are wrong. OF COURSE John Ambrose McClaren has to be in the sequel. Lara Jean deserves her own love triangle since she’s had to endure being a part of Peter and Gen’s. Plus, there’s a trilogy to keep in mind. The sequel is going to be just as big – if not bigger – than the first. What’s left if they skip over the rest of the second book? Plus, Director Susan Johnson has made it clear that JAM will be present in the sequel.
“Relationships are hard to navigate and [Peter and Lara Jean will] find themselves in one… and they’ll discover what the next person might bring in John Ambrose McClaren.”
We’ll see if Jordan Burtchett becomes an Internet Boyfriend like Noah Centineo. I doubt he will, considering he’s coming into the series as the dude who may or may not break up our favourite couple. Unfortunately for his character, John Ambrose McClaren is like the AJ from Dawson’s Creek of the TATBILB franchise. No one remembers AJ.
Thinking about all of this is making me very impatient for the sequel. We know that Noah Centineo has a few projects lined up, including the new Charlie’s Angels, and Lana Condor has her Syfy show Deadly Class. They’ve both expressed enthusiastic interest in doing the sequel that they’re also contractually obligated to. It’s happening. I wonder how they’re going to play this press tour now that we know Lana Condor is in a relationship and Noah Centineo ghosts women on the regular. Are they still going to troll us? I wouldn’t mind. PK + LJ forever.