Netflix's '13 Reasons Why' Will Return for Season Two

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Netflix's controversial series "13 Reasons Why," based on Jay Asher's novel, will return for a second season next year. Shown here, Katherine Langford as Hannah Baker. Beth Dubber/Netflix

The controversial Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, based on Jay Asher's young adult novel by the same name, has gripped audiences and riled critics for its treatment of suicide, sexual assault and other delicate issues since it was released on March 31. It turns out the first set of 13 episodes is just the beginning: The series will return for a second season, according to a Sunday tweet from the show's account.

"Their story isn't over," reads the short missive on Twitter, which has been liked more than 150,000 times and retweeted more than 120,000 times. "Season 2 of #13ReasonsWhy is coming." An embedded video set to eerie music lingers on some of the locations where meaningful events transpired during season one.

The show is structured around 13 tape recordings made by Hannah Baker, who tells her story and explains the people and events that led to her suicide. The tapes circulate among classmates who are discussed on them, many of whose secrets are revealed—including stalking, bullying and two instances of rape. The audience enters the picture when the box of cassettes arrives on the doorstep of Clay Jensen, Hannah's friend, co-worker and romantic interest, and it follows along as he listens. Each episode moves back and forth between the present—the aftermath of Hannah's suicide—and the scenes she describes in the tapes.

The first season ends with several threads still loose and storylines left to be pursued. The school guidance counselor and Hannah's parents have only just received the tapes; the serial rapist has yet to face any consequences; the living rape victim seems to be telling her father about her assault; and a young man is rushed to the hospital with a bullet wound to the head, in what appears to be another suicide attempt.

"Hannah's story isn't over—she has parents who still don't have the complete story," series creator Brian Yorkey told the Los Angeles Times even before a second season was announced. "There's a rapist who hasn't been brought to justice, and there's a living survivor of that rapist who is just beginning her journey of recovery," he added. "Part of the problem with our culture is that we say, 'Oh, the story's done.' Rapes are treated, at best, as a multi-episode arc within a season, when anyone who's experienced rape knows it's a lifelong story.… If we left these 13 episodes out in the world with [the rapist] not being brought to justice…it'd be incredibly dissatisfying to me."

Asher, author of the novel on which the series is based, tweeted in response to the news that "my confident excitement for @13ReasonsWhy Season 2 rests in Brian Yorkey and the mind meld we performed a couple years ago. (And that cast!)."

The show quickly became the subject of fierce debate over the handling of suicide, mental illness, rape and other topics during the first season. Think pieces criticized the show; the National Association of School Psychologists sent a notice to school mental health professionals about how to discuss the show; schools have sent home letters to parents; mental health professionals have warned against potential dangers of 13 Reasons; and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has released sets of suggestions for handling the show and its content. The show inspired students and administrators at one Michigan high school to launch "13 Reasons Why Not," a project that focuses on suicide prevention.

Netflix released a half-hour extra, "Beyond the Reasons," alongside the first season to discuss some of the underlying issues, added another viewer warning about the graphic content before the first episode and maintained in a statement that "entertainment has always been the ultimate connector and we hope that '13 Reasons Why' can serve as a catalyst for conversation."

It remains to be seen whether season two, which will reportedly make its premiere in 2018, will take a different approach to address some of the concerns raised by the first installment.

Netflix's '13 Reasons Why' Will Return for Season Two | Culture