There was never really a doubt about 13 Reasons Why getting a second season. Less than a month after its March 2017 release, Twitter saw more than 11 million tweets about the social phenom. Adapted from the YA novel of the same name, the story of Hannah Baker’s tragic suicide and its impact on her tight-knit high school community continued to fascinate viewers for the rest of the year, clocking in as Twitter’s second most-tweeted-about TV show and finishing as the year’s top-trending show on Google.
Fans fell in love with the characters (especially Jeff!), and in May, Netflix answered by saying, “Their story isn’t over.” For one of the year’s most popular shows, this was inevitable. But, considering the source material starts and ends with the same book, it’s been hard not to wonder what this professional-grade fan fiction will look like. Read on for everything we know about Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why — a compendium we’ll update as more info becomes available.
When is 13 Reasons Why Season 2 coming out?
The second season of 13 Reasons Why hits Netflix on May 18, 2018, with 13 new episodes. “The truth is coming,” said the streaming service at the end of April, announcing the premiere date with a stylish 90-second teaser trailer (above). “The tapes were just the beginning.” The clip goes on to show a handful of key characters frozen amid a cascade of cryptic Polaroids, many of which foreshadow the drama to come.
Who’s coming back for Season 2?
You can expect the core 13 Reasons Why group — the actors behind Clay, Zach, Tony, Olivia, Justin, Jessica, Bryce, Alex, and Courtney — to return. (Even Katherine Langford will be back as “a very different” Hannah, surely in the form of flashbacks.) “This year wraps up with another committed journey with @13reasonswhy -Season 2 is coming,” wrote executive producer Selena Gomez, sharing a pic of familiar faces on Instagram. “To every person on this project, thank you for coming back. Good or bad we are committed to having the tough conversations, to telling the story that can start change.” Gomez herself should be back behind the camera, but some think there’s a chance she’ll cameo (because “you never know”).
As far as newcomers, there will be at least 11. BuzzFeed reported on seven last summer: Bryce Cass (who will play a mischievous kid named Cyrus); Chelsea Alden (Cyrus’ artsy sister, Mackenzie); Allison Miller (the tenacious litigator, Sonya); Samantha Logan (the track star, Nina); Anne Winters (the new head cheerleader, Chloe); Kelli O’Hara (the advocate for bully victims, Jackie); and Ben Lawson (the beloved high school coach, Rick). And Deadline noted that Jake Weber (who will play Bryce’s dad, Barry Walker), Brenda Strong (Bryce’s mom and Barry’s wife, Nora), Meredith Monroe (Alex’s mom, Carolyn) and R.J. Brown (Tony’s boxing trainer, Caleb) would also be in the mix.
Netflix is taking steps to avoid repeat controversy
Ahead of Season 2, the streaming service is rolling out new viewing elements, including a warning video (above), to “support more meaningful conversations” around teen suicide. “13 Reasons Why is a fictional series that tackles tough, real-world issues, taking a look at sexual assault, substance abuse, suicide, and more,” cast members Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Justin Prentice, and Alisha Boe say in the vid. “If you’re struggling with these issues yourself, this series may not be right for you, or you may want to watch it with a trusted adult.” Along with the warning, Netflix plans to beef up its companion site, 13reasonswhy.info; invest in a bigger after show (à la last season’s Beyond the Reasons); and work with viewers to share real-life stories.
Netflix is also distancing itself from the 13 Reasons Why author
In mid-February, news broke that the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators had expelled Asher over sexual harassment allegations. “We have always been really sensitive to sexual harassment issues and have a zero tolerance policy,” the org’s executive director told BuzzFeed News, “but clearly our policies haven’t prevented violations, so we’re taking this opportunity to take another look at our guidelines.”
Asher has denied the allegations and the expulsion, telling BuzzFeed News that the choice to leave SCBWI was his. In light of the controversy, Netflix has begun distancing itself from the author: “Jay Asher was not involved in the second season of 13 Reasons Why,” a spokesperson told Entertainment Weekly. “The upcoming season will not be impacted in any way.”
What will 13 Reasons Why Season 2 be about?
The show will pick “up in the aftermath of Hannah Baker’s death,” according to Netflix, and show “the start of the characters’ complicated journeys toward healing and recovery. Liberty High prepares to go on trial, but someone will stop at nothing to keep the truth surrounding Hannah’s death concealed. A series of ominous polaroids lead Clay and his classmates to uncover a sickening secret and a conspiracy to cover it up.”
Yeah, that’s very vague, but the good news is we have some ideas on what all that could look like, and those involved with the show haven’t been shy about speculating. Said Brian d’Arcy James, Hannah’s onscreen dad: “There’s certainly a lot more road to be traveled in terms of where the Bakers go from here… in terms of having to deal with that loss, deal with that grief, and channel it and try to make peace with it — or not.” In other words, considering the Sonya casting development above, bet on a big legal subplot.
Showrunner Brian Yorkey has also hinted we could see different perspectives of past storylines. “There are other people who might want to tell [Hannah’s story] differently or who are players in that story who might have a different perspective on some of those events,” he said at a recent Netflix panel. “Season 2 will see us look at a lot of the events that we think we know how they went down and maybe learn they’re more complicated than we first thought, and that Hannah herself is even more complicated than we saw in Season 1.”
And a number of present-day cliffhangers need to be resolved, including those involving Mr. Porter, the school counselor who met with Hannah; Jessica, Hannah’s ex-best friend who was raped; Bryce, the jock whose confession of assault looks poised to ruin him; Justin and Tyler, both of whom leave Season 1 with guns; Sheri, who dodges the consequences of her drunk driving; Clay, who rekindles his friendship with Skye (“I think people might be a little surprised where Clay is,” Minnette has teased); and, most importantly, Alex, who’s fighting for his life.
“[The cliffhangers are] all related, so I would very much like to explore where they all go,” Yorkey told EW. “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.”
Specifically, Jessica’s recovery will be a big part of Season 2
At the end of Season 1, Jessica, played by Boe, started to tell her father what happened to her. At a recent panel, Yorkey said that her experience “continues to be a central part of Season 2,” with the show also zooming out a bit to see how sexual assault has been handled at Liberty High in the past. “We wanted very much to look at her recovery, to look at what it is to go from being a victim of sexual assault to being a survivor of sexual assault.”
Mr. Porter will look for redemption
In their final meeting, Mr. Porter didn’t take Hannah at her word. After digesting his shortcomings, the school counselor, played by Derek Luke, will come “to terms with the mistakes that he made, with the ways that he let [Hannah] down, and will be, I think, very determined not to let any kids down in the future,” according to Yorkey. “In fact, I think that his story is… one of the most sort of compelling to me in Season 2. And we’ll see a man who is determined to reach every kid who needs to be reached and help every kid who needs to be helped.”
Clay and Skye will hang out more
Talking to Seventeen.com, Minnette said everything you need to know about Clay and Hannah’s relationship was, more or less, wrapped in Season 1. In the Hannah flashbacks, “you’ll see more interactions between Hannah and some other characters we haven’t seen before,” he teased. As for Clay’s scenes, his childhood friend Skye (Sosie Bacon), could resurface in a big way. “I can’t say too much,” Minnette added, “but Skye is still around and in the picture and there’s a chance that [she] and Clay could be friends or more.”
Will there be more tapes in Season 2?
Yes and no. “The cassette tapes aren’t at the center of it” anymore, Yorkey’s said. “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.” Given the plot synopsis and (not-so-subtle) teaser above, it’s safe to say the old-school tech to which Yorkey’s referring is — drumroll, please — the Polaroid camera.
Wait, what about justice for Jeff?!
When we asked actor Brandon Larracuente if he’d be returning, he told us he had his “toes crossed.” And… same. If not for Clay, for the memes.