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After's Anna Todd Talks Adapting Tessa And Hardin’s Sex Scenes Into New Graphic Novel, And One Moment That Was Missing From The Movie

Tessa and Hardin on the cover of After graphic novel by anna todd and Hero fiennes tiffin and josephine langford in After
(Image credit: Wattpad Books/Voltage Pictures)

Since Anna Todd started posting chapters of After on Wattpad at the age of 24 after being inspired by the One Direction’s Harry Styles and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the author has had an incredible journey. From becoming a bestselling author -- with her books being translated all over the world -- to adapting the series into a successful franchise of films starring Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Josephine Langford, Todd has been blessed to try new things. Now, Hardin and Tessa’s tumultuous romance continues its journey in another new medium: a graphic novel series. 

Anna Todd spoke with CinemaBlend about taking her popular romance series to a new format as the first volume of After: The Graphic Novel with illustrations by Pablo Andres hits shelves. During our conversation, the author recalled how it’s been different to present Tessa and Hardin’s spicy sex scenes in the new format. In her words: 

It was definitely a balance. I wanted to make sure they were still in there because that's part of their story and their journey and the connection they have. But I will say that sometimes the illustrations would come back and the facial expressions would be a little weird. It was definitely a lot of redos, of ‘Cut that back’ or ‘Change the mouth.' Sometimes Tessa's body would look really stiff and I'm like, 'We've gotta add some movement somehow on the page.' Otherwise it would just be kind of creepy. And for a lot of the facial expressions, it just takes that one little corner of the mouth to be open a certain way before they look like they're screaming. So, the sex scenes, I would say were the trickiest for sure. And I know they're going to get more tricky as we get deeper into the series, but it was also just entertaining. We had a lot of laughs.

When Anna Todd was writing the After series, she could play around with language and leave the juicy imagery to the imagination of the reader. For the graphic novel, Todd was hands-on about the sex scenes. They still needed to be present in the story, but it sounds like making sure the sexual relationship was depicted in a pleasing manner was a little bit tricky. 

The author shared with me that while at first she thought people might be “sick” of more After by now, she came around to the idea after checking out numerous other graphic novels, particularly from other countries. Now that After: The Graphic Novel has been published, she shared her favorite moments from the new release, including one she saws was really missing when After was made into a movie: 

The lake scene is always gonna be my favorite, whether it's the film or book and it is just such an emotionally close to me scene and such a fan-favorite. So it's always, that's the one that I was anticipating people's reactions for. And it was the first kind of, you know, intimate scene, which was tricky in graphic novel format because it can get cringey really fast if you don't tow lines correctly. That was really fun to see. And then also when Harden throws Tessa's papers all over the room and they kiss in her room, it's just something that was missing from the film adaptation and just a scene that I feel like really showcases the kind of enemies to lovers that the story is.

Over the years, After has amassed a huge following of fans who have followed along as the series of books have been adapted into a movie series. As the After movies soon close out, following the third installment After We Fell leaving fans with a cliffhanger ending and After Ever Happy to come, fans can relive the beginning of the story in graphic novel form. 

While speaking about the new After release, now available to buy on Amazon, Anna Todd also spoke about why she feels more romance works should be graphic novels. Todd said this: 

I think everything works well in the romance genre. We just haven't really been catered to the way that. The superhero and the fantasy genres have, so I think it's an underrated, definitely underestimated audience. I feel like as a romance lover, we're just like waiting and dying for content. So I think it worked because we also just love the stories that we love, and we love romance in general, but it's because it's like double senses too, it's visual and it's reading. As women, we're more thoughtful creatures. So it gives you that, but it also has the visuals. I think we haven't been served it correctly and now that I'm learning a lot more from other countries that have done it really well. In the U.S. specifically in English stories, I don't feel like we're quite there yet with romance, but we're getting there.

Following After: The Graphic Novel, Anna Todd is already working on the second volume for the second book, After We Collided. On the movie front, the After main franchise will soon conclude with After We Happy. Additionally, there are more ways the story will continue with two movies additionally planned from After We Fell and After We Happy filmmaker Castille Landon. After We Happy is among 2022’s upcoming movies, with a release date set for September 7. 

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.