Why Dylan Minnette Wanted That Character to Die in the 13 Reasons Why Finale

A fan-favorite character is killed off in the series finale of 13 Reasons Why, something the cast wanted to see happen for the emotional impact.
By Chris Harnick Jun 11, 2020 1:12 PMTags
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Dylan Minnette wanted that 13 Reasons Why ending that left fans devastated.

Warning, spoilers follow for the final season of the controversial Netflix series.

The final season of 13 Reasons Why touched on a number of issues. Ahead of the finale, the cast knew a character was going to die, but didn't know who right off the bat. It turned out to be Justin (Brandon Flynn). After collapsing at prom, he learned he was HIV-positive. At the hospital, Justin, Clay (Minette) and the Jensen family learned the HIV had rapidly progressed to AIDS and Justin had just days to live.

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Minnette told EW that he and Flynn "were specifically hoping that it would be Justin, and we were pushing for it and we would plead to [creator Brian Yorkey] making the case of why we feel like it should be him, because he and I both felt that it would have the biggest emotional impact on the series given Justin's entire arc."

The death riled fans, many who took issue with the depiction of HIV as a death sentence. Flynn's Justin Foley had one of the biggest character arcs on the series, going from homeless youth who abused drugs and prostituted himself to a leader in the school on track for college.

Related: Does "13 Reasons Why" Cast Think It's Controversial?

"Of course it's devastating and tragic and we know that people would love to see him survive, but I think that's what makes it all the more powerful. Obviously it's the most depressing move the show could make, but I feel like it's also in line with the show to make that choice in the last episode, to make the most devastating choice. It feels really poetic because the biggest arc of a relationship that Clay has had in the show is with Justin. The first conversation you see Clay have with anyone in the very first episode is with Justin, and it's actually Clay's first lines of the show," Minnette said.

They started as enemies, but end loving each other as brothers by the time the series ended.

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"It feels like the perfect bookend because the finale sort of feels like the story of Justin and the first episode did because he was the first tape. I feel like it was a strong choice to make and as devastating as it is, I am so happy that Brian ended up making the decision to do it because it just felt right. If we were going to do it to anyone, I feel like we needed to go there and put the bookend on it," Minnette said.

The final season of 13 Reasons Why is now streaming.

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