Some spoilers for Netflix’s To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You can be found throughout this article. If you’ve read the books, you already know what happens anyway, but it’s still worth mentioning! Happy reading.
It’s been just a few short days since Netflix released P.S. I Still Love You, the sequel to the streaming service’s 2018 original To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. If there’s one thing the two movies have in common, it’s no shortage of swoon-worthy young men. Last time around, we saw Lara Jean obsessing over Peter and Josh and in the new movie it’s Peter and John Ambrose, leading me to ask, ‘Wait, what happened to Josh?’
The good news is, the books hold some answers in regards to why Josh isn’t really present in To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You. But first, we need to take a trip down memory lane and dive into the events of the first movie to really understand why the character isn't present this time around. If you can remember the first film, Lara Jean has strong feelings for Josh Sanderson, played by Israel Broussard.
Josh had previously been dating Lara Jean’s older sister Margot, who breaks up with him when she goes off to school. This does not help Lara Jean’s crush any and Josh becomes the catalyst for Lara Jean fake dating Peter in the first movie, which eventually leads to her starting a real relationship with Peter. At the end of the film Lara Jean and Josh make up and declare themselves friends.
High school is fleeting and Josh, from what I remember, is not even mentioned in P.S. I Still Love You the movie and he’s definitely absent as a character in the Netflix film. This is likely intentional. In Jenny Han’s book series, Josh begins dating another young woman after his break-up from Margot and sees Lara Jean and the family much less.
In fact, the day that Peter reveals the treehouse is coming down (which also happens in the P.S. I Still Love You) Lara Jean happens to reflect on where her and Gen’s relationship is and what happened with her and Josh, noting in the book:
People come in and out of your life. For a time they are your world; they are everything. And then one day they’re not. There’s no telling how long you will have them near. A year ago I could not have imagined that Josh would no longer be a constant for me. I couldn’t have conceived of how hard if would be to not see Margot every day, how lost I would feel without her – or how easily Josh could slip away, without me even realizing. It’s the good-byes that are hard.
So, though Josh appears in the second book, he's almost there to teach Lara Jean a lesson about how moments are fleeting rather than to be a romantic catalyst of any sort. Since movies strip away a lot of these side interactions and relationships, it makes sense Israel Broussard wasn't asked back for the second film.
To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You plays out a little differently than the book on the small screen, but the main component of the film is the love triangle playing out between Peter Kavinsky, Lara Jean Covey, and John Ambrose McLaren. Both men think Lara Jean is the bee’s knees. While Peter won her over in the first movie, unfortunately, their relationship faces some difficulties this time around, making John Ambrose an attractive prospect.
I won’t tell you exactly how it ends, but if you want to discuss the ending in full check out our more spoiler-laden piece.
Basically, with all of this in mind, it’s no wonder the movie didn’t find any way to incorporate Josh in. Previously, Israel Broussard admitted to ET he wouldn't be in the next movie, at the time noting he thought he might be in the third movie.
I’m not going to be in the sequel. There’s three books, there’s the first one, the second one and the third one, I believe I make an appearance back in the third one, but Noah and Lana are all up there filming and they are having a good time.
Interestingly, Always and Forever, Lara Jean only really features mentions of the character, including the fact that Josh went away to school but still keeps in contact with Lara Jean's dad via email. The movies have played with the timelines in the books and have changed some things, so we'll have to wait and see what happens with the third movie.
For now, actor Israel Broussard has another project coming up, a movie called Fear of Rain that will also star Katherine Heigl and Harry Connick Jr. We’ll keep you updated regarding his career and the making of Always and Forever, Lara Jean, which has already been greenlighted by Netflix and will be moving forward.