After Olivia Colman Announced She Will Not Be Returning to Heartstopper Season 3, The Creator And Fans Take To Social Media To Share Their Thoughts

 Oliva Colman as Sarah in Heartstopper Season 1.
Oliva Colman as Sarah in Heartstopper Season 1.

As arguably one of the most important and impactful LGBTQ+ love stories on television right now, fans are eagerly awaiting Netflix’s third season of Heartstopper as it has completed filming and joined the 2024 TV schedule with its October release. All this is to say, we can't wait to dive back into Nick and Charlie’s world and see what they've been up to with their friends and family. Unfortunately, though, this time around, much to fans' dismay, we won’t be able to see Nick’s mom, played by the talented Olivia Colman, as she announced that she will not be returning for Season 3.

In an interview with Forbes, Colman reflected on her illustrative career and broke the unfortunate news. It seems like the busy actress was unable to fit Heartstopper into her schedule due to other commitments. While disappointing, fans can sleep well knowing that the decision was not easy for The Crown actress to make. In fact, she went on to say:

I feel awful about that. I feel like I was part of one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever been part of.

A guest star in the first two seasons, fans of the Heartstopper graphic novels know that Nick’s mom plays a pivotal role in the fourth book which the third season is set to follow. Unlike the previous seasons that focused on Nick and Charlie’s love story, Season 3 will divulge some of the mental health struggles Charlie faces in the comics.

It’s a hard time for both teenagers and now that Nick won’t have his mom to lean on on-screen, fans are worried about what that might mean for his arc. Specifically, fans want to know what is going to happen to the fan-favorite beach scene where Sarah says an impactful line to Nick regarding Charlie’s mental health struggles:

Other fans posted about how sad there were about this news as well, writing:

  • rip to olivia colman as sarah nelson in heartstopper s3 you would’ve devoured the love can’t cure a mental illness scene -@Ioverspring

  • whaaaaaat -@ellaaimagine

  • Olivia Colman not coming back for Heartstopper season three. I just fell to my knees and we lost one of the best scenes of the show. -@geryrrs

Thankfully, creator Alice Oseman took to her Instagram Stories shortly after the news broke, sharing a thoughtful note about Colman’s absence. She began by reassuring fans that both parties tried desperately to make scheduling work (which is more common than fans might think, just look at the Thunderbolts' re-casting and scheduling conflicts history) and that the role was not recast. After thanking the Wonka actress for her incredible work in the first two seasons, the writer/director touched on fan’s worries about the pivotal scene between Nick and his mother:

If there is one thing I could ask of you, it’s not to give up on us quite yet. I have done everything in my power to preserve that scene as written in the comic, and I’ve written in some new elements of the story to ensure that it gives us the emotional punch that it gives in the comic.

It’s reassuring to know that the beach scene and the powerful line of dialogue will be included, but Oseman didn’t stop there. She went on to continue to reassure fans that Nick’s arc will not be missing from the new season because of his mother’s absence, writing:

Nick’s story from the comics is still there, still infinitely important to me, and Sarah’s role as emotional support for Nick will shift to other characters in the story for now.

You can see everything the author wrote about the actress not returning in her full statement below:

Alice Oseman's statement about Olivia Colman not returning to Heartstopper.
Alice Oseman's statement about Olivia Colman not returning to Heartstopper.

While Nick’s mom is going to be missed by many, I’m certainly excited to see who steps into that role of supporting Nick. Perhaps this will mean he starts bonding with Charlie’s friends even more. The more likely answer, though, is that Nick’s aunt, who will be played by Hayley Atwell, will take on that motherly role.

Regardless of the unfortunate news, Hearstopper Season 3 still has many things for fans to celebrate. Not only will Nick’s aunt be a new character, but Michael Holden, an important character from the comics, will also be joining the cast. Though not confirmed, I’m sure the season will also continue to follow Issac as he further explores his asexual identity. And don't fret, both Oseman and Colman have not closed the book on Sarah's return for any future seasons!

Season 3 of Hearstopper will begin streaming sometime in October 2024. For now, fans can revisit Charlie and Nick by streaming the first two seasons with a Netflix subscription.