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‘Dear Edward’ Star Colin O’Brien Thinks the End of Grief Group Is ‘A Good Place to Start’ for Future Seasons

O’Brien and Schilling discussed their characters’ relationship with “the cards stacked against them”

“Dear Edward” star Colin O’Brien recognizes that parts of the show give closure while others leave it open-ended, as viewers reckon with the Apple TV+ drama series’ finale.

The television adaptation of Ann Napolitano’s novel by Jason Katims (“Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood”) watches Edward Adler (O’Brien) come of age more quickly than planned when he loses his family in a plane crash and becomes the lone survivor of the tragic accident. Edward moves in with his Aunt Lacey (Taylor Schilling) and Uncle John (Carter Hudson), bonding with neighbor Shay (Eva Ariel Binder) while the adults affected by the crash connect in a grief group that meets in New York City. 

In the final episode of Season 1, Edward’s aunt Lacey brings him to the party that Dee Dee (Connie Britton) plans at the end of the grief counseling sessions, connecting him further to the center of the tragedy when he meets all the adults who have lost people in the plane crash. The experience was a bit meta for O’Brien because, like his character, he didn’t spend a lot of time with the adult actors until shooting the party scene.

“I didn’t have any scenes with any of them before that. It was basically my first time getting to meet them. It’s a really interesting scene because it’s kind of like a combination of all the characters come together and this one final episode,” O’Brien told TheWrap. “It’s like this closure to this thing that’s been happening all season, and I think that’s a good place to start for forming new things and possibly Season 2, new friendships, new connections. The end of grief group, it’s definitely an important scene. It was really fun to film.”

O’Brien credits Carter Hudson with reminding him to keep it real and not take himself too seriously on set. He also worked closely with Taylor Schilling as his onscreen aunt.

“I feel like we really connected. In our first scene together in the parking lot at the grocery store, we started talking about what I was learning in school at the time, which was tectonic plates and earthquakes and stuff like that, which led to talking about rocks and all these different types,” O’Brien said. “Turns out we have a lot in common about knowledge of these types of things. And we started talking about that. Next day, she brought me a rock and I still keep it it’s a green malachite rock. And she also taught me these breathing exercises to kind of help me call myself and ground myself.” 

Lacey and Edward’s relationship did not come together as easily in the show as detailed by both Schilling and O’Brien. 

“It was tough at the beginning. We meet both Lacey and Edward and the decks are kind of stacked against them being able to connect. Lacey has all these ideas about what her life should be and what she wants it to look like, and it’s not lining up with the reality that is in front of her,” Schilling told TheWrap. “We watch her sort of learn to accept life on life’s terms, like a lot of characters in the show, and thrive in a very different scenario than she thought she was going to be.”

Lacey struggles with fertility, and in a way, taking Edward in provides a solution to that problem, though it doesn’t entirely fill the void. Edward has trouble looking at Lacey because she looks a lot like his mom.

“They both kind of break out of their shells. Their shared life experience and grief kind of brings them together and makes them connect more than in the beginning,” O’Brien said. 

As for where the show is headed, O’Brien echoes Katims’ thoughts on introducing new characters and delving deeper into the letters to Edward that he only discovers in the last few episodes. 

“I think it might be interesting if they introduced a new character. I think it might explore more on the letters that we see [Edward] reads in episode eight and nine because those came from people all over the world, you know, all over the country,” “It’d be really, really interesting if he tried to, like explore what was in their lives, where they’re from, who they are and try to go back to every single one of them.”

All episodes of “Dear Edward” are now streaming on Apple TV+.