Showrunner Bryan Yorkey on what happens next -- and whether Hannah will be a part of the new episodes
The first season of 13 Reasons Why told the story of Hannah Baker, a high school junior who dies of suicide and leaves behind 13 tapes explaining why she decided to end her life. But now that the Netflix show — the most-tweeted-about series of 2017 — has been renewed for a 13-episode second season, the question becomes: Is Hannah’s story over?
Spoiler: No, it’s not.
EW has the exclusive first details on what to expect in season 2 from showrunner Brian Yorkey. (And for 13 Reasons Why fans interested in this story, be sure to stay tuned to EW later this week!)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you always want a season 2?
BRIAN YORKEY: I knew by the time we finished season 1 that I wanted to continue. We really have characters who, after 13 episodes, are just beginning the process of recovery and the process of coming to terms with what part they might’ve played in Hannah’s death and how Hannah’s death will change their lives going forward. I think that there is so much that’s fascinating about the way we grieve, the way we recover, the way we learn to take better care of each other. I have heard from a number of people, “Well we heard all her tapes so her story is done.” That’s leaving aside the fact that for every tape there’s another person who has a story, which is the person Hannah mentions on her tape. We saw Hannah’s version of events unfold, but there’s a lot more to be told also about those characters. To me, there’s a tremendous amount that I still want to know. I’ve said a few times that this show is about the way we raise boys up into men and the way we treat girls and women in our culture — and what we could do better in both cases. And I realized we were just beginning the process of seeing these boys and girls grow up into men and women. It was something that we didn’t get to watch with Hannah and I would really love to watch it with these other characters I’ve come to love.
So Hannah will definitely be in season 2?
Oh absolutely. I think one of the things that is still hanging out there is this question of is someone responsible for Hannah’s death? Is the school responsible? Who is responsible, if anyone is? One way we’ll explore that question is through the trial and also through all of these kids reflecting on where they are a few months down the road and what other secrets are being uncovered. That’s going to take us into the past, into Hannah’s story. We’re going to get some new context for events we already know about and we’re going to see a lot of things we hadn’t even heard about yet that fill in some really interesting gaps in our understanding of who Hannah Baker was and what her life was.
I know you’ve talked about your interest in consequences for Bryce.
When people intimate that Jessica’s story is done, I find that a horrific thought because Jessica is just beginning the process of recovering from her rape, and we have a rapist who has not in any way been brought to justice. To leave those two things hanging out there in the world would be upsetting. I want to see how that at least starts to play out and I want to do Jessica’s story the deserved justice of following her as she goes back to school, as she tries to begin to recover from what happened to her, because it’s something that millions of young women go through. And also [I want to] see somebody punch Bryce in the face.
Can we expect answers when it comes to the many cliffhangers of the season 1 finale?
All the cliffhangers that we saw at the end of season 1 go back to the initial set of traumas that we’re talking about — go back to bullying, go back to Jessica’s rape, to Hannah’s rape. They’re all related, so I would very much like to explore where they all go and to see if there is, as I think there will be, some light for these kids. We’re going to continue to tell their stories really honestly. We’re going to answer all of the burning questions that people have about [the show]. Is Tyler going to do something? What’s going to happen to Alex? Will Bryce be brought to justice? We’re going to answer those questions but I think, even more, we’re going to continue to look very truthfully and very honestly at what they go through, even when it’s painful at times. But I think what we’re going to discover is, as they begin to emerge from this very dark time, there’s hope and there is some light to be found. That’s my hope anyway, and I think that that’s also truthful. I think false hope is a danger, but I think that there is always some light, even in really dark times.
Will there still be multiple timelines?
Yeah, we’re definitely still weaving past and present. And there’s voiceover in every episode, but the voiceover is no longer Hannah. The voiceover and the stories that are being told bring us into the past and back to the present much in the way that Hannah’s voiceover did in season 1. So there will still be that weaving of time frames and seeing them unfold and how they impact each other as they go.
It sounds like season 2 will pick up relatively soon after season 1.
I would say it’s safe to say we pick up a number of months after the first season ended.
Are you all done with cassette tapes?
The tapes are still obviously on people’s minds, but there is a different sort of analog technology that plays a hugely important role in season 2. So the cassette tapes aren’t at the center of it — those two boxes of tapes are still hanging around and matter to people — but there will be a new piece of technology for 13-year-olds to Google and try to understand what it was.
13 Reasons Why season 2 is set to hit Netflix in 2018.