13 Reasons Why boss talks polaroid mystery, complicating Hannah’s story in season 2

That’s the idea behind season 2 of the drama, which will see other characters get their chance to speak up. But in season 2, now that we’re hearing other people’s stories, how does that idea continue to develop? I find all of them really, really interesting and my hope with every one of the characters is to try to continually surprise and unfold them in a way that makes us realize we thought we knew who they were and there’s actually more to learn. For that reason, the season is more diffuse in a way. In season 1, you all touched upon the fact that Hannah wasn’t perfect and that her story wasn’t necessarily the only truth. As the season goes on, we also expand the dark post-punk world that we lived in in season 1, expand that to allow in actual punk music past and present. I find him really compelling and sometimes even heartbreaking. 13 Reasons Why season 2 hits Netflix on May 18. RELATED: Everything we know about 13 Reasons Why season 2
What do you feel is the biggest difference between the seasons? Coming out of season 1, did you purposefully want to make season 2 feel different? Season Kent won Best Music Supervision in a Television Drama for 13 Reasons Why. The worst thing we could do in making a season 2 is set about trying to replicate, in any way, the success of season 1, except in the core idea that we are going to try to continue to tell the stories of these characters, have them encounter issues and themes that are relevant to young people today and to do it as truthfully as we could. I remember when I was 15 years old and the kind of thing I would be excited about and the kind of thing that would be really moving to me, and I know that the music has to be just as right as it can be so that’s the pressure I felt. And she wasn’t the only student at Liberty High School with a story to tell. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: In season 1, you all were adapting the book. It was a conversation between Kate and myself. This is season 2 so it’s going to be different.” And I know that people are going to have vastly different feelings about it because that tends to be what happens with our show and that’s also good. That was very intentional and it’s a different flavor in the same world with the same characters. The threads of this mystery, like who’s doing this and why and how does it relate to Hannah Baker and how does it relate to what Jessica went through, it all comes together in the later episodes in a way that I think is really satisfying and also speaks to some of the underlying themes that we’re talking about like sexual abuse and the endemic nature of sexual abuse and the way institutions sometimes wittingly or unwittingly allow it to continue. RELATED: 13 Reasons Why deep dive: 28 clues from the season 2 trailer
As the trailer hints, there’s a new mystery this year, and it involves polaroids. The things we learn are going to complicate your understanding of who Hannah was and of her journey in some ways that are dark, in some ways that have a lot of light to them. What I love about season 2 is that there are these different pieces to this mystery. We talk a lot about the identity of the show amongst the writers and we think that if there’s a way to craft a mystery that drives especially Clay forward — looking for answers and then in looking for the answers he learns things about the people around him and he learns things about himself — that opens up these emotional stories and these character stories for us. That was our guiding force. We’re really proud of her. These are all tied up in this central mystery of what is on these polaroids, who is leaving them and why. It’s a wider range in some ways than season 1. Certainly we had more time than that, but we had made a first record that ended up being a hit record and so you do wonder how you follow it up. That was our guiding idea season 1 and it continues in season 2. So we’re trying to expand the world a little bit but keep that central idea of using these two musical generations to help tell the story. One of the things I always turn to is 15-year-old me. She’s got no time for this beautiful hair, she’s got a trial to win. The biggest difference is in season 1, Hannah was telling us her story, we were experiencing it with Clay, and it was the central monolithic story of the season — her story, where it ended, and how that fell out in the present day. We’re always very aware that this is a show that we want to resonate and be important to young viewers, and one of the things we wanted to do in season 2 was complicate everybody’s understanding of Hannah. What was the thinking behind keeping the mystery element of the show in season 2? 2) You don’t tell the story that you told season 1. Fortunately we have some really great partners. I think you do a few things: 1) You try to stay as true as you can to the reasons why you started telling the story in the first place and you try to keep telling the story as truthfully as you can. There are more perspectives involved. I also said I’d love to expand more into the John Hughes kind of world of that ’80s pop, the glossy synthesizer songs, which there’s just a ton of nowadays. There are many complications and complexities to that story, many more than we knew at the end of season 1. But she wasn’t the only person talked about on those tapes. When Hannah Backer left behind 13 tapes, she was able to tell her story, and that’s exactly what we got in season 1 of 13 Reasons Why: Her story. Because Hannah is not just a victim and she is not just a victim in the way that she told us she was. Were there certain things you knew you wanted to keep or change? With the announcement of the show’s upcoming return, EW hopped on the phone with 13 Reasons Why showrunner Brian Yorkey to talk about crafting a second season of the hit Netflix drama. She didn’t tell any lies necessarily, but she had a very specific story she wanted to tell us season 1 and there’s much more to that story. Season 2 is very much more about everyone else’s perspective on that story — their side of the story, their reaction to it, their coming to terms or refusing to come to terms with their role in Hannah’s life and death. Did you feel any pressure going into picking the music for season 2? She and I, with the help of everyone who works on the show and also Interscope, our label partner, everyone’s really committed to: How can the music tell the story and how can the music draw from the world of the parents and the world of the kids and brings those two worlds together? Hopefully, at the end of the season, the viewer will say, “Hannah was much more complicated than we knew season 1.” There are things that contradict her narrative of her life and the reasons she chose to die by suicide. So in some ways the picture is more complicated but the upshot of the story is the same. Kate was like, “I wonder if she changes her hair, I wonder if she chops her hair off.” We talked about it and we thought it would be really interesting and also, it’s helpful to distinguish present day Olivia from flashback Olivia. But I think that there’s a moment in season 1 where Hannah says in his episode, “I have this theory, I think you’re lonely too.” That always was one of my favorite lines because I think that that’s one of the secrets that no one knows about Zach is that he’s lonely and that he has a tangle of emotions inside of him that not many people get to see. It felt like an interesting character move. One of the things we talked a lot about was second albums and the sense that there’s that old line: You have your whole life to make your first album and six months to make your second album. She means business. I think we get to see them a little bit more in season 2 and I found that really interesting and I was very glad to be able to explore that. But specifically, I find Zach to be a really interesting character, and I think he’s the kind of character who could very easily be slotted into a certain type and certainly he is complicit in that to some extent because his identity as an athlete is very important to him. What was the idea behind Olivia’s new haircut? Because season 2 does allow you to get to know some of the other characters more, was there one character in particular you were most excited to explore further? Such a big deal was made about the music in season 1. And you don’t make season 1 again. I kept saying this, and I would have to remind myself and everyone around me numerous times and say, “We made season 1, we’re not going to make season 1 again. I think it’s surprising how the pieces come together and how it’s all related. BRIAN YORKEY: Obviously it’s a challenge because you don’t have the safety net of the book to fall back on, but at the same time it was very freeing because we said, “Okay now we can follow the story wherever it takes us and let’s talk about what would happen next and what is interesting and exciting to us and what story do we want to tell?” So it was liberating and it was terrifying in the way that liberating things can be. A mystery at the center gives us this forward momentum or a story engine if you will. But now that you’ve outgrown the source material, so how did that affect crafting season 2? All that being said, she didn’t deserve to be raped, she didn’t deserve to die.

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