When it comes to Hannah Baker’s story, there are a lot of bad guys — or maybe more accurately, not-so-great guys. But from what viewers saw in season 1 of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, there is at least one good guy, and his name is Tony. (Okay, there are two, and the other guy’s name is Jeff.)
In the beginning of 13 Reasons Why, Tony seems to be the leather jacket-wearing keeper of all secrets. He’s the person Hannah trusted to make sure her story was told properly, and he is very dedicated to making sure that happens. (He’s equally as dedicated to hair gel, but that’s not as important.) As the season progresses, though, he becomes more and more involved with Clay’s journey, even showing a few cracks in his own armor. “Dylan [Minnette] and I spent a lot of time talking about our backstory because there’s not a lot of information about what has happened prior to where you see him in the show,” Christian Navarro, who plays Tony, tells EW in the video above. “We did a lot of just the fun actor stuff where we sat around and asked each other questions and figured out what our relationship was. I think it becomes apparent as the season progresses that Tony is not only involved with Clay, but with Hannah and really sees a special connection between them as an outsider. And so he’s the kind of guy who always has a goal and his goal was to bring these two together.”
Considering that Tony was not a big character in the book, Navarro worked with show writer Brian Yorkey to develop the character, but for him, Clay Jensen was a big part of understanding Tony. “I had Clay to root Tony,” Navarro says. “Then as we were going, we were figuring out who this guy was.”
In the end, Tony might come out looking like one of the good guys, but Navarro doesn’t think he’s blameless in the situation. “Everyone says he doesn’t have a fault, but he does have a fault,” he says. “One of the hardest scenes I think I filmed was a little brief scene with Hannah where I give her the tape recorder. I think if Tony would’ve paid a little bit more attention, if he would’ve asked what it was for, if he would’ve dug a little bit deeper, maybe she doesn’t do this, maybe she doesn’t record the tapes. I think Tony has a little bit of fault too, in that regard. He gave her the tape recorder.”
When it comes to Tony’s relationship with Hannah, the fans don’t get much backstory. Over the course of the show’s first season, we see the two characters interact a few times — one of which being the moment Tony gives her the tape recorder — but it’s difficult to understand exactly how close they were and why Hannah would trust Tony with such a big responsibility after her death. “Katherine Langford and I would have coffee and we would just talk and talk and talk about what it could have been,” Navarro says. “So we have secrets, none that I choose to reveal right now, but hopefully we get to explore it in a second season. I think there’s a lot more to the story.”
As for Navarro’s hopes for Tony in a potential season 2 — Netflix has yet to announce a renewal, but multiple cast members have expressed interest in continuing what has become the most-tweeted show of the year — he says he’d like to see more of Tony’s “own personal journey” outside of the other characters on the show. “I think that he’s culpable in a lot of ways for holding onto these tapes, so he’s got to pay some sort of consequence in that regard,” Navarro says.
Navarro’s even willing to return to the hair and makeup chair if the show gets a second season, despite the fact that he says Tony’s hair took longer than all the women on the set. “An hour and change I spent in that chair every day, and they would come and laugh at me,” he says with a laugh. “They had a grand old time.”
13 Reasons Why is available for streaming on Netflix now.
Check out the video at the top for more from Navarro.