Netflix’s The Half of It ends on a very intriguing and open note regarding the love triangle between Ellie (Leah Lewis), Paul (Daniel Diemer), and Aster (Alexxis Lemire), with the latter not picking anyone. And while this may seem like a self-contained movie from director Alice Wu, just like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has now branched off into sequel territory, there’s a lot for the streaming service to explore still.
With that in mind, let’s look at what a follow-up can bring as the teens venture out into the open world for university life, and also, what potential there is to continue telling the story of their connections to the podunk town of Squahamish.
Ellie leaves town with Paul escorting her to the train station before running her down like a Bollywood movie they loved. It’s the first time she shows emotion and cries, cementing they’re best friends. A sequel can now focus on her honing her writing at Grinnell and possibly still in love with Aster. Ellie hinted she’d wait on Aster to embrace her queerness, so Wu can dissect her love life unfolding away from home without a support system.
Even if Ellie comes back for a vacation, there’s a lot to mine with her and Paul understanding they’re soul mates, while not being lovers. Ellie can iron out issues with her dad, Edwin, and get closure of her mom’s death as a kid. Not to mention we didn’t even see them discussing her sexuality, so it’d be a nice father-daughter bonding moment as they were so closed off from each other.
Additionally, we can see Ellie still writing to Aster long-distance, so fans want them to at least attempt a romance away from the constraints of Trig and family. Aster clearly has feelings for Ellie but is too afraid, and Ellie did show she was becoming braver, which means she could tempt Aster out her shell again.
While Aster and Ellie kissed at the end of the film, Aster made it clear she couldn’t embark on anything at the time as she didn’t know herself. She’s poised to go to art school so a sequel can touch on her time there, her dating men and women, and also, if she actually proceeds with a proposal from her high-school jock boyfriend, Trig, and makes the crazy decision to stay home.
She didn’t come out to the town either or her parents, and as her dad’s a deacon, that’s also a big arc to watch unfold. Aster feels like she’s been living a lie and is scared of the Christian-centric town, so the theme of religion and sexuality could factor in, especially as her family has controlled her all her life.
Whether it’s letters between her and Ellie, or them visiting each other at university, or even trying to spark something secretly for a brief time in Squahamish, fans do believe there’s a big part of her chapter with Ellie still to be told. Aster wants to be a free spirit but she knows she has to find her identity. Whether or not the town accepts her sexuality, and even Ellie’s, will be a hot topic as the place is so conservative and xenophobic at times.
Paul struggled with wanting to evolve his family’s sausage-making business, but Ellie helped him work up the courage to tell them he wants to take over. She also wrote to various buyers and in the end, Paul’s business is booming. He’s a success story of the kid who stayed behind in the small town so that’s something Wu can explore, not to mention him visiting Ellie or vice versa.
They’ve got such a powerful friendship, plus we can see her still giving him love advice, and honestly, we all want to see Paul end up with someone right for him. Another interesting component is his relationship with Edwin. Ellie’s dad mopes around for most of the film, but he did come to life cooking with Paul. They do like each other: Edwin realizes Paul’s the son he never had, and Paul does feel a warmth there he doesn’t get at home.
This friendship has a lot of potential, especially as Edwin seems to be getting over his wife’s death, so with Ellie gone, Paul fills that gap perfectly. Paul has also embraced how religion should be accepting of ‘the other’ so he’s perfectly placed to teach the town a lesson on becoming anti-discriminatory too.
The Half of It, written and directed by Alice Wu, stars Leah Lewis, Daniel Diemer, Alexxis Lemire, Colin Chou and Becky Ann Baker. It is currently available to stream on Netflix.
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Netflix's The Half of It has a unique and open ending that paves the way for a romantic, funny and worldly sequel featuring Ellie, Aster and Paul.