A groundbreaking love story! Netflix’s Heartstopper introduced viewers to the characters created by Alice Oseman in her graphic novel series — and it wasn’t long before Charlie Spring (Joe Locke) and Nick Nelson’s (Kit Connor) adorable romance caught everyone’s eye.
Heartstopper focuses on Charlie as he adjusts to being a high school student recently outed to his classmates. He slowly develops a friendship with Nick, who is a popular rugby player, and the pair begin to develop a sweet connection. As Nick questions his chemistry with Charlie, he ends up on a journey of self-discovery with his sexuality.
For Locke, 18, playing Charlie allowed him to tell stories that he really wanted to see more of on-screen. “For me, the motivation came from knowing we were telling a story that mattered so much,” he shared with NME during a joint interview with Connor, 18, in April 2022. “But I think, in the same way, that was also the challenge: trying to live up to that and create something that matters, not just something that could have mattered if we had done it right.”
Connor, for his part, praised Heartstopper for creating an important representation that has been lacking in media.
“One of the biggest motivations is the lack of representation for bisexual characters, especially male bisexual characters. There really aren’t that many [on screen], though I know Sex Education has a major male bisexual character. But you know, this show is very much focused around that,” the Rocketman actor said. “Like, one of the biggest storylines is Nick exploring his sexuality. I suppose one of the challenges of a show like this is it’s never a ‘one size fits all kind of thing.”
Connor continued: “We really have tried our best to be as inclusive and representative as possible. but at the same time, everyone’s experience in life is different. We tried our best to portray that and create a safe space for the queer community in particular.”
Amid the outpouring of love for the series, the onscreen love interests discussed their hopes for future seasons.
“I think it’s quite easy to look ahead at a second season because of volumes three and four of the novels. Charlie develops an eating disorder and his mental health takes a turn for the worse and I think that would be interesting to look into, especially if the show continues to be very much a teen show,” Locke detailed to Entertainment Weekly in May 2022, one month after the series premiered. “Whenever people tackle mental health on TV, it tends to be really dark and I think what our show has really done well so far is tackling issues, but from an optimistic lens. You can always see the light at the end of the tunnel, you always know it will get better. I think it’d be really great to look at that more.”
Meanwhile, Connor noted that he would be excited to see Nick and Charlie continue to grow in their relationship. “Between Nick and Charlie, that’s a big thing that they go through in volume 3 is how to deal with that as a couple and learn healthy practices as a couple,” he teased.
Scroll down for everything to know about Heartstopper‘s breakout star: