There is a lot more that goes into creating the creepy, twisted, murder-filled journey of Joe Goldberg than fans may even know. You began as a 2014 novel by Caroline Kepnes, which was adapted for a Lifetime series in the fall of 2018, but it really blew up when Netflix picked it up at the end of that year and later produced a second season. While the story itself is super gripping, some of the behind-the-scenes facts about making You will certainly give fans a whole new perspective.
What a lot of You fans probably do not know about the Netflix hit is that it actually diverges from the source material quite a bit, even going so far as to invent totally new characters, omit original characters, and create whole new twists book readers would not have expected at all. On top of all those details, the filming process is much different that fans might expect, and the actors have some very surprising opinions about their roles. From real-life set pieces to fun little cameos, You is filled with hidden details you might have totally missed on your first (or second or third) watch-through, so keep these behind-the-scenes deets in mind next time you decide to marathon the first two seasons of You on Netflix.
1. Neither Ellie nor Paco exist in the books.
In both Season 1 and Season 2 of You, Joe takes it upon himself to look after a feisty young kid in need of help. But actually, these kids are completely unique to the TV show, and do not show up at all in Caroline Kepnes' You novels.
2. A lot of Joe's scenes are filmed totally silent.
Joe is pretty much constantly talking when viewers watch an episode of You, but filming his scene is actually the polar opposite. Since so much of Joe's dialogue is in his head, Penn Badgley revealed he's silent during much of the filming of his scenes, especially the ones where Joe is solo. It makes sense, but it's fun to imagine Badgley just silently acting out all of his scenes, and he admitted it's a very weird situation.
3. Badgley's stand-in got a part in Season 2.
To help Badgley out with the voiceover stuff, his stand-in Danny Watters read out Joe's inner monologues while he silently acted. In Season 2, Watters actually got to step out of Badgley's shadow and play his own character on the show, the groom whom Forty pays in order to kiss his wife in Episode 8.
4. Shay Mitchell would tease Penn Badgley for his lack of social media knowledge.
Joe Goldberg may be a master at navigating the socials, but Badgley himself is a different story. He admitted he is not super knowledgable about social apps, whereas his Season 1 co-star Mitchell is a pro. She even helped explain what Tumblr was to him, but Badgley decided to give up on the blogging site when he couldn't get his real name as a username.
5. Love was not a murderer in the books.
Season 2's twist ending revealed Love was also a killer, responsible for murdering her au pair, Delilah, and Candace. But that was a huge departure from the books. In the sequel novel, Love does accept Joe's murderous tendencies when she discovers them, and shows her commitment to him by retrieving that jar of pee he left at Peach's house, but she is not revealed to be a murderer like him.
6. Candace was not going to come back at first.
The big twist at the end of Season 1 was the return of Joe's ex-girlfriend Candace, whom viewers were led to believe was dead. In the books Candace never returned, and that was initially the show's plan as well. But showrunner Sera Gamble revealed they decided about halfway through Season 1 to make Candace the big finale twist and totally flip the script. In Season 2, the returned Candace filled in the role of Amy, who was a new woman Joe became entangled with in the books.
7. Penn Badgley was reluctant to play Joe at first.
Badgley opened up about how he felt conflicted when presented with the role of Joe Goldberg in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, admitting he knew he would feel uneasy about the part for the entirety of the time he played it. After Season 1 aired, Badgley made it very clear he was not a fan of viewers romanticizing his murderous character.
8. "You" is said almost 4,000 times in the show.
Netflix calculated that the word "you" is said 3,857 times over the course of Season 1 and 2 of You, which definitely feels right when you think about all of Joe's inner monologues directed at "you."
9. Caroline Kepnes wrote for a very different show before You.
Kepnes authored the novels You and Hidden Bodies, which are the basis for the first and second seasons of the series. But her first foray with television was writing two episodes of 7th Heaven back in the mid-2000s, followed by a staff writing job on the ABC Family teen drama The Secret Life of the American Teenager. The wholesome family shows are definitely a far cry from the murderous manipulation of You.
10. You's bookstore set has been used in a major movie.
The fictional Mooney's bookstore is actually a real store called Logos Bookstore located in Manhattan's Upper East Side, and it has been used in another major production: Logos is also heavily featured in Melissa McCarthy's 2018 Oscar-nominated film Can You Ever Forgive Me? — BRB, rewatching to see if I can spot Joe behind the counter.
Since You has already been picked up for a third season and Kepnes is working on a third and fourth book to continue the story, fans can definitely look forward to even more fun details in the future.