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Do Marianne and Connell stay together after Normal People? Paul Mescal isn’t so sure

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Lauren Geall
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Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones as Connell and Marianne in Normal People

Normal People star Paul Mescal has spoken about what he thinks comes next for Marianne and Connell after the final episode. His verdict? It’s not all plain sailing. Warning: this article contains spoilers for season one of Normal People.

It didn’t take long after Normal People landed on iPlayer before everyone was completely obsessed with it. The BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel was the perfect antidote to months spent in lockdown – with its strong characters, beautiful story and tear-jerking moments, it’s hardly surprising that so many of us fell in love with the series from the first episode.

It’s now been over a month after Normal People first appeared on our screens, but people are still keen for all the Connell and Marianne content they can get their hands on (there’s a reason why we named it one of the defining cultural moments of our first 100 days of lockdown, people). And of course, the biggest question on all of our minds since that fateful final episode is whether or not the on-again-off-again pair stay together in the end. 

At the end of the series, we see the pair at a crossroads in their relationship. After a tumultuous few years for the two of them, the last episode sees Connell and Marianne living happily together at Trinity College, Dublin. But before the end of the series, a spanner gets thrown into the works: Connell has been offered a chance to study creative writing in New York, and, despite his hesitation, Marianne insists he should go.

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It’s safe to say the ending throws up a lot of questions about where the characters might head next. Does Connell go to New York? If he does, do him and Marianne rekindle their relationship when he gets back? Does he meet someone else? Does Marianne meet someone else? It’s a lot to think about.

But it’s not just fans of the show who have pondered what might happen to the Normal People pair – in fact, the stars of the show Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones have their own idea of what the future might look like for Connell and Marianne. And while Edgar-Jones would like to believe they’ll always be in each other’s lives, it seems Mescal has different ideas.

Speaking in a new interview for Deadline, Mescal revealed that he believes Connell and Marianne’s relationship wouldn’t be such plain sailing.

Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones as Connell and Marianne in Normal People
Normal People: Paul Mescal doesn't think Connell and Marianne's future is plain sailing.

“Connell, I believe, would potentially get married to somebody else,” he says. “It’ll destroy lots of people’s lives along the way, because ultimately they’re going to be drawn. But they will consciously resist the idea that they’re supposed to be together. It’ll be a long process of discovery until they finally find each other permanently, I think.

He continues: “I really need them to be together. If Sally ever decides to do the second book or second series, I need them to be together.”

This isn’t the first time Mescal and Edgar-Jones have spoken about where they would like to find their characters if the show is renewed for a second season.

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Speaking on The One Show last month, Edgar-Jones said: “I hope that they remain that level of settled and happy that they get to by the end of the series. It’s wonderful that Marianne enables him to follow his dream as a writer in New York, so I really hope he sticks at it and carries on doing what he loves.”

She added: “I kind of imagine that [Marianne] moves in with Lorraine [Connell’s mum] and they have quite a happy, little life together!”

And in another interview with the Radio Times, Mescal added: “They’re still existing in the world somewhere… but I put my hand up and say I’d play Connell until the cows come home.”

Fans of the show were recently treated to two bonus episodes (with an extra special guest) as part of an RTÉ does Comic Relief special. 

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