Despite some controversy surrounding its handling of sensitive topics like teen suicide and sexual assault, 13 Reasons Why was a critical hit for Netflix, and for better or worse, dominated the social media conversation for weeks. So, it should come as little surprise that the teen drama has been picked up for a second season — even if it already exhausted all the material from Jay Asher's book of the same name.
While there are several loose ends from the first season that will no doubt have to be explored in the series' sophomore outing, one of the biggest question is what will be done with Hannah Baker's character. 13 Reasons Why's first season was all about the aftermath of Hannah's suicide. And much of each episode was framed using the tapes that Hannah left behind.
The first season of 13 Reasons Why concluded with Clay finishing all 13 tapes and deciding to pass them on to Mr. Porter — skipping Bryce Walker. It is unlikely that the series' second season would continue using Hannah's tapes as a narrative device, considering that we have supposedly heard all they have to offer, though it is possible they will play some role in various legal proceedings that may take place.
Of course, this does not mean that Hannah's character will be exiting the series. In fact, it appears that she will remain heavily in the plot. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Brian Yorkey left no room for doubt regarding Hannah's involvment. "Oh absolutely," he responded when asked whether Hannah would be in 13 Reasons Why's second season.
"I think one of the things that is still hanging out there is this question of is someone responsible for Hannah's death," added Yorkey.
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.
This may be one element that the producers of 13 Reasons Why want to be careful with. And it may be important for them to consult with mental health professionals and other resources before embarking on yet another exploration of responsibility and blame.
One major complaint from mental health experts was the idea of placing blame. "We feel it was done irresponsibly and we don't agree with many portrayals including of Hannah's death, memorialization and placing blame on others," Phyllis Alongi, clinical director of the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide, told NBC News.
As for how Hannah will appear in the second season, it sounds like she will show up in stories told through the eyes of the characters still processing her death. In the first season of 13 Reasons Why, viewers saw most of the events in the past through Clay's eyes and Hannah's accounts in her tapes. It seems that the second season is going to reveal how some of the other major characters remember the events unfolding.
"That's going to take us into the past, into Hannah's story," Yorkey explained.
"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."