For 10 years, fans of Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why have lived with one unalterable fact: Hannah Baker dies. The story begins with the teen dying by suicide and leaving the 13 people she considers responsible for driving her to do so a series of tapes outlining the different ways in which she feels they contributed.
It wasn’t always that way, though: In the book’s 10th anniversary edition, author Jay Asher reveals that Hannah survived in the bestseller’s original ending. In that version, she attempted to kill herself by swallowing pills but was ultimately saved when her parents got home and took her to the hospital, where her stomach was pumped.
“I liked the idea of ‘We’ve learned something from this. And yet, here’s a second chance,'” says Asher about the original ending. “Knowing as well that it was going to be difficult when Hannah went back to school to have to deal with those kids. It’s not like everything’s smooth now. In fact, it might be even tenser for her. But now there’s Clay, who’s going to be upfront that he’s there for her.”
But Asher soon realized he wanted to tell a different kind of story.
“Out of seriousness for the issue, we realized we can’t go there,” he explains. “No matter that there were missed opportunities for her. Those opportunities aren’t there if you do this. Once I realized that the message of the story would be stronger and that it would definitely be more of a cautionary tale. I felt that was definitely the way to go. That’s why Skye’s character made a reappearance, which was cool to see her have a bigger role throughout the TV series.”