'26 Reasons Why: Return Of The Betamax' may never come to pass, but now that 13 Reasons Why has been renewed for Season 2, fans can't help but question the show's future. Although Season 1 ended with a number of cliffhangers, the central story of Hannah Baker's suicide and her 13 tapes has finally ended, right?
During an interview with EW, show runner Brian Yorkey surprised fans by confirming that Hannah Baker would remain an integral part of the show in Season 2, explaining that the show will continue to explore who's responsible for her death in more detail:
"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."
However, this doesn't mean that either Hannah Baker or Clay Jensen will continue to be the star of the show. Given that a new form of technology will ground each episode of Season 2, Yorkey has already revealed that "the voiceover is no longer Hannah," so who will step up as the new protagonist of 13 Reasons Why? Here are the most likely suspects:
A popular fan theory suggested that Tyler may have shot Alex at the end of Season 1, but actor Miles Heizer has since confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that his character did try to commit suicide, explaining that:
"It was interesting to see similarities between Alex and Hannah, because there are a lot of warning signs throughout the season. That's another subject that's very rarely shown onscreen and is probably a lot more common than people think it is. People attempting to take their lives and it not happening, I'm sure that will bring a crazy set of issues. It would be interesting to go into that."
Given that Alex and Hannah share such striking parallels, it's entirely possible that he may have been inspired by her use of the tapes and created his own version which will tell the story of Season 2.
At the end of Season 1, ominous scenes of Tyler unloading a trunk full of guns have led many to believe that he may take revenge on his bullies in the form of a school shooting. If that's true, then each episode may revolve around the reasons why he tries to kill each character whose photo hangs up in his studio.
As one of the few characters who didn't feature on Hannah's tapes, Tony held a unique position in Season 1, developing from the "unhelpful Yoda" to a breakout star in his own right. Considering how he was already connected to most of the stories that took place, it wouldn't be too difficult for the writers to expand Tony's role in Season 2, giving him a voiceover role similar to that of Jughead's in Riverdale. It also wouldn't hurt to push a few more boundaries and place a LGBTQ character at the forefront of the show.
During his interview with EW, show runner Brian Yorkey reiterated how important it is that 13 Reasons Why explores Jessica's story in more detail, delving into the aftermath of her sexual assault:
"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."
Both Jessica and Hannah were victims of Bryce, so future episodes of 13 Reasons Why could echo the first season in this regard, positioning Davis in the lead role instead.
Zach showed more remorse for Hannah Baker's death than most, redeeming himself throughout the show and becoming one of the more likeable characters. While we're not sure how Dempsey could take center stage, the fact that actor Ross Butler left #Riverdale recently suggests that he may take a larger role in Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why, perhaps even taking the lead part.
At the end of Jay Asher's book, Clay realises that his friend Skye is experiencing the same kind of problems that Hannah faced and reaches out to her, hopefully preventing her from following the same fate. While this was toned-down in the #TV adaptation, Skye still represents the very reason why Hannah sent out those tapes in the first place, so we wouldn't be surprised if her part is expanded for Season 2, becoming the show's central character.
We always knew that Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why would need to deviate from its formula in order to continue, but the show may veer further away from the source material than expected, perhaps even switching focus to an adult like Mr Porter. Sure, 13 Reasons Why has defined itself first and foremost as a teen show, but we know for a fact that the court case fought between Hannah's parents and the school will be explored further in future episodes. With that in mind, it makes total sense that an adult bystander like Mr Porter may become more prominent in Season 2.
Now that the tapes have ended, 13 Reasons Why may eschew their previous approach entirely, deciding instead to weave between various members of the cast in different episodes. Instead of telling each person's story through a tape, we may now hear them relate their own tales to us in the form of a first person narration that changes voice each week.
Yorkey's interview with EW certainly implies that this could be possible:
"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... 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."
While we finally know who killed Hannah Baker, the future of the characters from 13 Reasons Why remains uncertain. What we do know though is that whoever ends up telling the story will need to delve deep in order to answer the many questions that linger after Season 1. Oh, and there's also a chance that Clay Jensen may just steal everyone's thunder and continue to play the lead role as the show continues, sans the titular tapes.