There are more than a few reasons why Netflix's 13 Reasons Why is poised for a second season. Those reasons, which all pretty much stem from the American viewing public's desire for absolute closure, involve a series of cliffhangers from the first season. Warning, spoilers if you haven't finished the series.
13 Reasons Why ended with Clay (Dylan Minnette) finally listening to all of Hannah Baker's (Katherine Langford) tapes—the 13 reasons why she killed herself—and adding a 14th tape: a confession from Bryce (Justin Prentice) admitting he raped Hannah. The original tapes found their way to Mr. Porter (Derek Luke), who was the subject of the 13th tape, but another set was given to Hannah's parents (Kate Walsh and Brian D'Arcy James) as their case against the school in regards to her suicide went ahead full steam ahead.
But the case and whether Bryce and the others on the tapes will face any repercussions for any role in Hannah's death isn't the only lingering plot point. Alex (Miles Heizer) was in the hospital with a gunshot wound to the head, presumably self-inflicted and Tyler (Devin Druid) amassed an arsenal of weapons, seemingly to take out the rest of the students who were subject of Hannah's tapes, retaliation for their treatment of him. There is no continuation passed Hannah's story in Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why book.
"I'd just like a continuation of all those characters," Asher told EW. "I'm curious as well. What happens to Clay? How do people react to what Alex did at the very end? What's going to happen to Mr. Porter? I'd thought of a sequel at some point. I'd brainstormed it, but decided I wasn't going to write it. So I'd love to see it."
Asher said he can't say whether or not there will be a second season, but there are directions to take it.
"Things weren't left open in the hopes of a sequel…There is no end for the characters left behind," Asher said. "Every action we have is going to have repercussions in ways we could not anticipate. You realize that with not just what Hannah did, but also how other people treated Tyler throughout it. It's the whole message of the book. Of course, there's obviously ways to go with a second season if they do that."
Selena Gomez, an executive producer on the drama, said there is more story to tell.
"We don't know what is going to go beyond it, but we know there are so many stories that lie beneath each character," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "That's why it became a series in the first place. So we'll see."
"There's definitely more story to tell. It would be cool to continue the dialogue of this story," Langford said. "There are so many cliffhangers at the end of the season. At the end of the season, I had to sit back. I didn't think about what happens next. It's more of this feeling like, ‘Oh my God, that's the story that needed to be told.'"
While there are threads that were left untied, do we really need more? 13 Reasons Why worked as Hannah's story, a painful story about high school and the hell it can be for some kids. That's not to say a second season, focusing on what's next, wouldn't be entertaining. But it could take away from the uniqueness of what should be the first and only season. There were changes from the book source material, as per usual with adaptations, but 13 Reasons Why should remain a one-off special series—just like HBO's Big Little Lies.
"One of the main questions everyone keeps asking us is, ‘Is there going to be a season two,'" star and executive producer Reese Witherspoon said in a Facebook Live. "We've been talking with the writer, and you guys should Facebook Liane Moriarty [the writer of the novel Big Little Lies] and tell her how much you want to see Big Little Lies 2. That would be good. She's thinking about ideas, and so we would love to hear ideas."
Nicole Kidman seemed open to it too, but director and executive producer Jean-Marc Vallée was not.
"To do a season two, I'm not for it," he told THR. "Let's move on and do something else! If there's an opportunity to reunite with Reese, Nicole and these characters of course, I'll be a part of it, but Big Little Lies 1 is a one-time deal. Big Little Lies 2? Nah. The end is for the audience to talk about. Imagine what you want to imagine and that's it. We won't give you a season two because it's so good like this. Why spoil it?"
Yes, there are stories to tell with other characters involved in each show, but that quickly cheapens the experience involved with the first season of each. It's time to take a page from the way things are done across the pond and end things where there's a natural end. There's no doubt quality performances and storylines would come from any sequel, but part of the magic of each wouldn't be there for a second go around. Could a Big Little Lies sequel work focused on Bonnie's (Zoe Kravitz) or Celeste (Kidman) moving on? Or even Renata (Laura Dern) in the business world? Yes, but as the case with 13 Reasons Why, aspects of what made the original—the mystery, the dynamics between everybody—would be gone and that would be a damn shame.
Do you want to see second seasons of 13 Reasons Why and Big Little Lies?