Hardin Scott and Tessa Young’s story is far from over, despite that After Ever Happy ending. Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Josephine Langford reprise the fan-favorite Hessa in After Ever Happy, the fourth film in the After franchise. While full of swoonworthy moments, the movie’s ending will catch viewers by surprise: Hardin and Tessa are not together at the end of the film.
Hardin and Tessa went through ups and downs — personally and as a couple — throughout After Ever Happy. Tessa moved to New York as Hardin worked on himself. The movie jumped forward 5 months, with Hardin visiting New York. Just as Hardin and Tessa were going to get back together, Tessa discovered that Hardin had written a book about their relationship. After another time jump, Hardin published his book.
After Ever Happy ended with Tessa showing up to Hardin’s book reading incognito. Tessa left before Hardin could find her face in the crowd. However, it seemed like Hardin knew Tessa was in his presence. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Hero about the movie taking such a risk and not ending exactly like the book written by Anna Todd.
“It’s interesting. It’s kind of nice exercising your ability as an actor to not make those decisions sometimes and to kind of just almost hide behind the tough decisions that the other higher-ups need to make,” Hero said. “But I also think it’s nice leaving stuff to people’s imagination sometimes and not really finalizing anything because you always want to say never say never. We have paced ourselves to get to this point at the end. It was a little bit surprising, but it’s always interesting to leave stuff up for debate and not be too final with anything.”
When asked if Hardin realized Tessa was at his book event, Hero said, “I think it was one of those weird things that happen in movies a tiny bit more than real life, but they definitely do happen in real life as well. Where it’s in your gut, and you feel like you’re dreaming for a minute, and you’ve really questioned your own understanding of stuff. But I felt like it was a more instinctual ‘my soulmate is in the same room, and I can feel it.’ So yeah, I think he did.”
After fans will know that Hardin and Tessa do eventually reunite. A sequel to After Ever Happy, titled After Everything, has already wrapped production.
In After Ever Happy, Hardin finally battles those inner demons he’s had since childhood. His emotional journey in the film allowed him to finally move on from past trauma. “I remember doing the first film thinking like, ‘I can’t wait to get more into this stuff about why he is the way he is, and not just portraying a character who has a lot to work on as just an effect and not showing the cause,’” Hero continued. “I think that’s so important in storytelling and life as well to not judge a book by its cover and wait until you fully understand where someone comes from before you judge them. So it’s always been welcomed for me. I’ve always been excited to get into that aspect of him and explore those aspects of him.”
In addition to a fifth movie in the After franchise, there is also a prequel in the works that will focus on a young Hardin. Hero revealed what he knows about the Hardin-centered movie. “I have no idea. Jen Gibgot, one of the producers, showed me a picture [of a potential young Hardin]. She literally told me recently that they were planning to do that. I had absolutely no idea about it,” the 24-year-old actor admitted. “She sent me a picture of someone whose name I forgot. And I was like, ‘Well, he could definitely play a young Hardin, so they got the looks right if they go with him.’ But again, I’m genuinely not just saying this, I know so little about that. She showed me a picture of someone and I was, ‘Oh, he looks like me.’ That’s the extent of my knowledge of the prequel, but I think it’d be fun if the fans want to do it, then why not?”
The first After movie was released in 2019 and became an instant hit. The film was a breakout moment for both Hero and Josephine. Hero reflected on sharing this After experience with Josephine. “I think the fact that it was both of our first roles, the fact that it was our lead role for both of us for the first time, that’s what makes it really special because you have someone who’s really like a peer and level with you. To go through that with someone with the same understanding just makes it a really level playing field. I think that’s helped us both massively. I’ve really enjoyed working with Jo, and I’d love to do it again on something else if we ever get the opportunity.” After Ever Happy is now available On Demand.