Pop Culture

How the ‘Red, White and Royal Blue’ Ending Sets Up a Potential Sequel

The film’s ending changing from the book it’s based on, plus a new bonus chapter set five years in the future, create the perfect conditions for a part two.

Taylor Zakhar Perez and Nicholas Galitzine's Red White and Royal Blue leaves things open for a sequel.

Taylor Zakhar Perez and Nicholas Galitzine’s Red, White and Royal Blue leaves things open for a sequel.Courtesy of Jonathan Prime for Amazon Studios via Everett Collection

Over the weekend, Amazon Prime’s highly anticipated film adaptation of Casey McQuiston’s Red, White, and Royal Blue hit the streaming platform to the delight of gays, girls, and theys worldwide. Directed and adapted by Matthew Lopez—the award-winning playwright of the wrenching gay drama The Inheritance—the film follows Alex Claremont-Diaz (Taylor Zakhar Perez) the son of the U.S. president (Uma Thurman, with an inexplicable accent) who falls in love with Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine), a British prince. And the pair have to keep their fiery relationship a secret.

When McQuiston’s book was loaded on shelves in May 2019, it received critical praise for its portrayal of a gay relationship and created a rabid fanbase eager for a film adaptation. And Lopez’ film doesn’t disappoint. It’s like if a Hallmark movie was given a dash of Cinemax soft-core (that’s a compliment). Zakhar Perez and Galitzine have incredible chemistry, making their swoony romance shine, and their sex scenes steamy, with the perfect love-hate rom-com trope relationship that feels realistic. Sarah Shahi (Carmen of The L Word fame) plays Zahra, a stressed-out Deputy Chief of Staff, who discovers their relationship early on. There’s a great joke about Le Labo’s Santal 33 that made me cackle. They exchange their precious accessories as a loving gesture—Alex begins wearing Henry’s signet ring and Henry has Alex’s childhood home key on the necklace Alex wore it on. All in all, it’s a frothy delight that shouldn’t be missed, especially to see Zakhar Perez’s muscle definition.

Of course, with any adaptation, adjustments and changes needed to be made. A subplot revealing the leak of Alex and Henry’s emails cut Alex’s mentor and friend, a senator who orchestrates the leak, from the film. Instead, he’s replaced by a conniving Politico reporter (Juan Castano) whom Alex had previously fooled around with. But after the emails leak, the film goes about the ending in its own way. While Alex still goes to Henry to support him coming out, he instead has to come out to the King, instead of his grandmother the Queen. The pair greet the crowds surrounding the palace in support together as a public couple, which doesn’t happen in the book.

Alex’s mother ends up winning her re-election campaign—where the book ends with the pair going onstage on her re-election night, the film concludes with Alex taking Henry to his childhood home in Austin. This ending has had fans, new and old alike, chomping for a sequel immediately.

And while McQuiston—who didn’t comment to GQ for this story in solidarity with the ongoing strikes (a legend!)—hasn’t written a sequel to the book yet, they had previously given fans material to flame the sequel fires. In October 2022, McQuiston released a special collectors edition of Red, White, and Royal Blue which included a bonus chapter from Henry’s point of view. It jumps five years in the future from the end of the book: Alex and Henry have ended up in Brooklyn, the latter having abdicated the crown in exchange for a brownstone. After taking some time to finally date normally, they move in together while pursuing their passions—Alex with the law and Henry learning how to cook and trying his hand at philanthropic pursuits. The two end up engaged—although McQuiston never divulged who was first to propose—and head back to live in Austin. And if Alex is still wanting to pursue running for elected office, he would of course do so in his home state of Texas. A sequel could show us their lives together post the first film and what it could look like for a queer family to run for office in a notoriously conservative state.

With that material on the back burner and the clear thirst for more queer romantic comedies that just allow queer couples to just *be—*Amazon Prime should have greenlit a sequel yesterday. 

“The film’s message of hope and love is resonating deeply and it’s been particularly gratifying to see so many people falling in love once again with Alex and Henry,” wrote Lopez in an email when we asked about a part two. “If a sequel were to happen, the worst thing would be for it to be rushed. It would need to be as thoughtfully and as carefully made as the first one. Besides before we do anything, we have two strikes in Hollywood to get sorted first.”

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