'13 Reasons Why' Almost Ended Very Differently

Beth Dubber/Netflix

Netflix's 13 Reasons Why almost ended very differently. The controversial teen drama hinges upon the death of Hannah Baker, who dies by suicide and leaves behind a collection of cassette tapes detailing the events that led up to her tragic death. But according to Jay Asher, who authored the YA novel the show is based on, Hannah survived in the original 13 Reasons Why ending.

Asher writes in the book’s 10th anniversary edition that initially, Hannah's parents found her and rushed her to the hospital, saving her life. But upon reflection, he decided that his message would be stronger if she died. Instead, he opted to finish the novel with Clay — who'd been one of Hannah's closest friends — reaching out to another girl named Skye after recognizing she may be grappling with suicidal ideation.

The show ends similarly, but with an added twist: in the final moments of the finale, it's revealed that (Spoiler alert) Alex Standall attempted suicide and is at the hospital in critical condition. Hannah had cited him as the third reason for her death, and throughout the show, he was visibly struggling. The finale leaves it unclear if he'll survive, marking an obvious set-up for a potential second season.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. You can also reach out to the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, or to your local suicide crisis center.