“We were guided by the novels, and from that starting point developed the look and mannerisms for Tessa, Hardin, their family and their friends.”
Following the release of a brand new trailer for After We Fell, fans of the After book series and its movie counterparts have even more reason to celebrate. After is being turned into a graphic novel, and Teen Vogue has your exclusive first look at the adaptation, led by author Anna Todd.
Scheduled for a March 22, 2022 release, After: The Graphic Novel (Volume One) chronicles the beginning of the emotional, whirlwind romance between college students Tessa and Hardin. Volume Two is slated to arrive in fall 2022, and five additional volumes will follow.
Todd worked closely with artist Pablo Andrés to create illustrated depictions of Tessa and Hardin; the new After book series will be published by Todd’s Frayed Pages Media in partnership with Wattpad and Hugo Publishing, and partners around the world. “Getting to create the look for each character and choosing eye colors, hair styles, tattoos, clothing, and settings that are true to the novels has been a blast,” Todd told Teen Vogue. “We were guided by the novels, and from that starting point developed the look and mannerisms for Tessa, Hardin, their family and their friends. Readers might see some familiar visuals, but Hardin and Tessa in the graphic novel are totally new creations.”
For the cover, Tessa and Hardin are seated in one another’s arms. An accompanying inside page (see below for the excerpt) shows one of the first illustrated interactions between Tessa and Hardin. In the scene, Tessa is invited to a party, but her reluctance to attend is pointed out by Hardin. It’s only after Hardin guesses that she won’t attend that Tessa changes her mind.
An accompanying description of the graphic novel explains that the story will focus on Tessa, “a good girl with a sweet, reliable boyfriend back home.” It’s upon running into Hardin that everything changes. “Good looking, confident…and rather rude, even a bit cruel. For all his attitude and insults, Tessa should hate Hardin. And she does—until she finds herself alone with him in his room. Something about his dark mood grabs her, and when they kiss it ignites a passion she’s never known before,” the description reads.
The graphic novel will follow along as Hardin begins “making excuses and disappearing, again and again. He’ll turn away, yet every time when she pushes back, he’ll only pull her in deeper. Despite the reckless way Hardin treats her, Tessa is drawn to his vulnerability, determined to unmask the real Hardin beneath all the lies. A good girl…a bad boy… something undeniable…and everything AFTER.”
Todd confirmed that readers are in for some surprises, telling Teen Vogue, “Like any adaptation, we have reworked some of the storyline to fit into the space for a graphic novel. It’s been really fun and so cool to shape the story into a graphic form. You’ll have to read it to find out [how it differs from the novel].”
News of the graphic novel comes as fans prepare for a brand new film in the Hessa saga. After We Fell will officially hit theaters in the US on September 30. News of a fourth film, After Ever Happy, has already been confirmed, but a release date has not yet been set.
Until then, you can always cozy up with the novel or preorder this forthcoming graphic novel starting Friday, July 30. Below, check out an exclusive excerpt of the new After graphic novel:
Want more from Teen Vogue? Check this out: Josephine Langford Wants You to Focus on “After” — Not Her
Josephine Langford Talks “After We Collided,” Sequels, and Shame
When asked about filming the hit movie series After, 23-year-old star Josephine Langford is quick to praise her coworkers, quick to be grateful for the opportunity to tell stories (and this one specifically), and quick to turn the attention away from herself.
She’ll take a more personal question and turn it broad, clearly conscious of what she’s saying and how it will come across. What’s interesting for you about playing Tessa? What’s fun? She almost startles at the question. “I’m usually not asked that,” she laughs, cautious. “I’m usually asked like, ‘What do you relate to about her?’ or [they say], ‘You’re really similar.’”
Josephine is talking to Teen Vogue from Bulgaria, where she’s currently filming two After sequels, After We Fell and After Ever Happy. She plays one side of the messy, turbulent relationship dynamics of Tessa Young and Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes-Tiffin) on screen; in the movies, Tessa is breaking away from an overprotective parent and learning how to think for herself. Josephine, however, seems further along than her character: more reflective, more likely to analyze her experiences in the context of other people’s. For all that we know about Tessa, we know much less about the actor who plays her — a move that, especially when you’re part of a franchise with such a large fanbase, feels understandable.
Her answer to the question about Tessa is thoughtful. “She’s confident, except she’s insecure in different ways,” she says of Tessa, a character who is sometimes difficult to read. “She’s on her own journey of self development. It’s not talked about as much as Hardin’s journey because it’s perhaps less obvious.”
That’s definitely true in After We Collided, a movie that is mostly narrated by Tessa’s on-again, off-again love interest Hardin. Early in the film, Hardin gives an impassioned monologue about having a flair for the dramatic (which reads as somewhat coded language for his rampant anger management issues). Tessa, like Anastasia Steele and Bella Swan before her, has more complicated motivations. In the second film, she’s clearly trying to take back a modicum of lost power, though she’s not entirely sure how. “You have two options here, you either f*ck me or you leave,” she tells Hardin in one heated, drunken exchange, after he tracks her location to her hotel under the guise of “protecting” her.
On the surface, After is about Tessa’s journey from innocence to experience. But it’s also mainly about their relationship, and the emotional baggage and complex family dynamics that both Hardin and Tessa bring into it. The novels and their movie counterparts have earned an immense fandom online, leading the first After film to gross nearly $70 million globally against a budget of $14 million. Even in the middle of a pandemic that has severely limited the entertainment industry, After We Collided’s staggered European theatrical rollout has paid off to the tune of $21 million as of September 13, Deadline reported.
The first After film was Tessa’s biggest role to date. Josephine remembers acting in a school play when she was around eight years old and realizing how fun it was to make people laugh and bring people joy. “It’s just such a satisfying feeling,” she says. “It’s like a high.” Prior to After, Josephine’s break came with 2017 horror flick Wish Upon, where she played Joey King’s high school bully. It was a turning point not for any ego reason, but because it proved to herself she could be a working actor.
When we speak on the phone, the cast is about five days into filming the sequels, and she’s just left a three-hour hangout with new additions Chance Perdomo (who’s replacing Shane Paul McGhie as Landon) and director Castille Landon, the third director to helm an After movie. There are new cast members in the third and fourth films, with Vampire Diaries actor Arielle Kebbel taking over Kimberly after Candice King’s pregnancy, and True Blood star Stephen Moyer playing Christian Vance. “Everyone’s so nice and everyone has been really great,” Josephine says of her new colleagues, though the filming experience has been different in order to abide by COVID-19 safety guidelines.
“Usually we get to explore a little bit and see the city and meet people,” she says, “but the view from my window has been amazing. I’m trying to learn a bit of Bulgarian, and I’m not doing too well, but I know a few things.” The view from her window is lush and green, with mountains and trees framing the cityscape. Traveling from LAX to the country in southeastern Europe marked the first time Josephine had traveled outside of Los Angeles since the pandemic began.
“I sort of got stuck there, but it was also a choice. I think I’ve been practicing for isolation for a while, so it was OK. I just think I’m good at occupying time by myself,” says Josephine, who grew up in Australia with her sister, fellow actor Katherine Langford. It’s where their family still resides.
It’s been difficult to plan a trip home, given Australia’s heightened border restrictions, but she’s conscious that her situation could definitely be worse. “I feel bad talking about it and almost coming across like, ‘woe is me,’ because I feel very lucky with the position I’m in, and I have friends around me,” she says, once again reluctant to make it about her. “I think there’s a lot of people who are unable to get back with family for Christmas. This is just the global situation, and it’s affecting everyone. We feel really lucky that we were able to come back and do three and four and be able to be working during this, and to be finishing the story.”