We’ve been stewing over 13 Reasons Why since the series’s first season launched on Netflix in late March. The revolutionary adaptation of Jay Asher’s young adult novel has attracted millions of fans, and possibly even more critics. When news circulated that the series would be returning for a second season, viewers were shook—season one had already made use of the show’s source material, which revolves around and ends in Hannah Baker’s suicide. So, for obvious reasons, the idea of a second season was pretty confounding.
Nonetheless, showrunner Brian Yorkey insists that there’s more story to be told. Yorkey, executive producer Tom McCarthy, and series regulars Katherine Langford (Hannah), Dylan Minette (Clay), and Kate Walsh (Hannah's mother Olivia) discussed the future of the series on Friday at a Netflix for Your Consideration panel in Los Angeles.
After Yorkey confirmed that additional perspectives would be introduced into season two, we began to wonder if we’re supposed to take Hannah’s narrative as truth. According to the showrunner, it’s more nuanced than meets the eye.
"I don't think Hannah told any untruths on her tape but I think she told her story and she reclaimed her narrative which had really been taken from her," he explained. "She reclaimed the narrative, 'This is the story of my life and this is why it ends.' But there are other people who might want to tell that story differently or who are players in that story who might have a different perspective on some of those events."
We’ll receive more insight on the character of Clay, too. “I think there's more to be explore with his closure,” Minette shared during the panel, “I mean this season ended with him having a smirk on his face in the car riding away. What does that mean? I'm excited to know."
In addition to re-examining Hannah’s suicide, Yorkey revealed that season two will shed light on the character of Jessica and her journey after sexual abuse.
"I've actually had people say to me, 'Well her story's done, she told her dad,’” Yorkey said on the topic of Jessica, “This to me is one of the problems with what we're conditioned to expect about stories about rape especially on television, is that they're an arc that belongs to a character that covers three episodes or five episodes and then a little bit later in the season they're on to the next thing with new love interests. Having spoken to many, many rape survivors and having many of them in my life very close to me, we know that it is a lifelong process. So Jessica's story is very much just beginning."
As for Hannah, Langford promises the show's main player will return in necessary ways. "I knew that Netflix and the creators would only come back for a Season 2 if it was going to add to the story," the actress said. "So when I found out I was coming back and I get to be a part of it, I was just even more excited. I would love to see the quieter moments in Hannah's life that we didn't get to see covered in Season 1."
Wow, that's a lot to process. We're eager to see where season two will lead.