In 2020, Hulu brightened up the holidays with a fun Christmas rom-com, but not everyone was a big fan of how Happiest Season ended. The final moments of the holiday romance inspired swift and significant social media backlash, as viewers expressed their desire for an alternate ending. Finally, a year after the movie was released, Kristen Stewart responded to the Happiest Season criticism, and it’s clear she gets where the fans were coming from.
In Happiest Season, Abby (Stewart) is forced to hide her relationship with girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis) as they stay with Harper’s conservative family over the holidays. Of course, this puts a considerable strain on their relationship, which reaches a breaking point after Abby meets Harper’s ex, Riley (Aubrey Plaza). Riley reveals she and Harper broke up in high school after Harper outed her to her classmates in order to shut down the rumors about her own sexuality. Although Abby and Riley have undeniable chemistry, the movie ends with Harper apologizing to Abby and the couple getting back together.
The ending didn’t sit well with many fans, and soon Twitter was flooded with viewers arguing that Abby should have ended up with Riley, not Harper. Even Plaza herself admitted she would have preferred that ending. "Look, I wanted it too, OK? I'm not gonna lie. I wanted it too," Plaza said on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. "I wanted it very badly. But I didn't write the thing, I didn't direct the thing. I just showed up, did my job, and got out of there. There's some things you just don't have control over. But I'm not giving up hope on Riley, I think that she's got a bright future ahead."
Stewart, however, remained silent on the uproar, until her 2021 press tour for Spencer. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Stewart admitted it was pretty difficult to see past Harper’s dangerous choice to out Riley in high school.
“It’s pretty awful. It’s bad. It’s really bad,” Stewart said. “It’s why we hired Mackenzie to do that, because I don’t know, I love her. Mackenzie seems like somebody who is actually speaking to the last line of conversation being that you’re the sum of your parts, not every part of your life defines you, and you grow with your lifespan. Mackenzie seems like she’s on a longer journey than what maybe one moment will define her as. She just seems like a smart, open, intuitive, curious, nice person. And thank god for that, because any other actress would have been really hate-able.”
Stewart went on to say she understood where the backlash against Harper came from, but wouldn’t go so far to say that she agreed Abby should’ve ended up with Riley instead of Harper when asked about the fan-inspired alternate ending. “If you really unpack and truly consider where that girl is in her life? Ouch! I get it,” she said. “There were things about her that definitely sucked… I… don’t have a great answer there.”
Well, anyone who is still a bit annoyed at the Happiest Season ending can at least look forward to a potential sequel, which may very well give viewers the Abby/Riley romance they’ve been craving.