Heartstopper boss speaks out on axed character’s absence in Netflix series ‘Complicated’

Heartstopper: Netflix releases teaser for new series

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The high school romance has taken Netflix by storm after its release this month, and there are already rumblings of the rest of Alice Oseman’s books being brought to screen. However, when it came to the first season of Heartstopper, the writer had to make the difficult choice to remove a key player from her original story.

Web-comic and graphic novel author Alice has revealed why she felt the need to remove Aled from Netflix’s TV adaptation of Heartstopper.

Alice had to expand the story somewhat for the new eight-part series, which follows English school student Charlie Spring (played by Joe Locke) who develops a crush on popular Year 11 rugby player, Nick Nelson (Kit Connor).

However, bringing the novel’s original author on as screenwriter meant she had to cut out some important elements to ensure Charlie and Nick’s story made sense.

Although Imogen (Rhea Norwood) was actually introduced early for the TV series, Alice made the difficult decision to hold Aled back for a potential future season.

“Imogen was a big part of that, adding a little bit of drama and tension kind of part way through the story,” she explained.

“And Isaac is a little bit of that, but, for various complicated reasons, I had to take a character called Aled out of the books. And Isaac is kind of there to fulfil the role of him.”

Aled is, in fact, one of the two protagonists of Alice’s second book Radio Silence, which is set in the same world as Heartstopper.

In the Netflix adaptation, part of Aled’s role in the story is instead fulfilled by Isaac (Tobie Donovan), an introverted member of Charlie’s group of friends.

Thankfully, Alice indicated he could eventually be introduced if Heartstopper returns for a second season in the near future.

She told Digital Spy: “Basically, long story short: Aled is a character in one of my other books, and so he has his own story.

“But with Isaac, a completely new story, I’m kind of free to do whatever I want with this character. So, yeah, it’s just about expanding the world, and expanding the story.”

Alice, understandably, didn’t want to short-change Charlie and Nick’s relationship by throwing another important character into the mix too early.

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While the eight-episode first season takes some departures from the original novel, it’s still a largely faithful version of the events in Heartstopper.

Aled may have made for a welcome addition to the first season but, as Alice was already adding new characters and storylines, it was ultimately decided he could be better served in a future season.

“When writing the show, one thing I had to do was kind of expand the story,” Alice admitted.

“Because Heartstopper, being a graphic novel, is quite short, really. There’s not a lot of story in there.”

“So in the show, while we’ve stayed really true to the story in the books, we’ve expanded the world, and added lots of new elements and new, little storylines.”

Season one has already received acclaim from fans and critics, so they shouldn’t be surprised if a second season is announced sometime soon.

If Netflix gives season two the greenlight, casting for Aled could be getting underway in the coming weeks.

Heartstopper season 1 is available to stream on Netflix.

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