What Exactly Is Hannah's Role In 13 Reasons Why? An Investigation

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix
Netflix's Selena Gomez-produced series 13 Reasons Why told the story of the end of teenager Hannah Baker's life, via the 13 audio tapes she left prior to her death by suicide. The series has completed production on its sophomore season, with season 1 cast members returning to tell the stories of the students at Liberty High. Also returning is Katherine Langford, who earned a 2018 Golden Globe nod for her portrayal of Hannah — despite the fact that, in almost every way, it appears that the deceased teen's story is over.
So how will Hannah return to the series? Given the fact that season 2 of 13 Reasons Why has yet to release an official trailer for season 2 (a fan-made one depicts a school shooting, a possible, though unconfirmed plot point in the next season) we're very much in the dark about what Hannah's part could be. However, in an interview with W Magazine pegged to her new movie Love, Simon, Langford did tease that Hannah will be "different" in the upcoming season.
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"The Hannah that we saw in season 1, we were able to tell her story fully and she didn't really come back in the same capacity or sort of as the same Hannah," Langford told W Magazine. "It's a different Hannah that you see in season 2. I think that was challenging, season 2, for reasons that are different than season 1. But ultimately I'm super grateful to have been asked back, and I think we get to focus on some really important storylines this season of other characters."
Langford stating that Hannah has changed in some way after her death is a little confusing — technically, Hannah's story can't progress forward. That was the point of the tapes: It was her final message. However, one thing that could change is the viewpoint from which we'll see Hannah in season 2.
Season 1 was very much Hannah's story, with scenes depicted directly from her perspective. Given that the tapes are over, it's possible that Hannah will become more of a secondary character — and, perhaps, the view she has of herself and her actions isn't the same as that of her classmates. How we see ourselves can differ radically from how others see us, which could mean that Langford had to perform Hannah, the character, differently.
Back in December of 2017, Langford confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that the season would not be centred on Hannah.
"This season has been really interesting for a lot of reasons," Langford told EW. "It’s a different story than season 1 and I think that’s a good thing. This season we get to explore a lot more of the other characters and their journeys, which I’m excited about. As sad as it is, there is life after Hannah, and this season we get to see the effects it had on the people around her a lot more."
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We don't know what format the new season will take — will someone else have their own list of "13 reasons why," or will something else serve as the story's engine? While Hannah will be involved in someway, I think it's safe to say that while season 1 was about her, the series, as a whole, likely is not. There are other characters to explore now, and Hannah might just be a part of someone else's story.

If you are thinking about suicide, please contact Samaritans on 116 123. All calls are free and will be answered in confidence.

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