As Santa Clarita Diet gets renewed for Season 2, fans continue to lobby for more Gilmore Girls, and Iron Fist prepares to reappear in The Defenders, Netflix's newest series also faces the question of its own future. Will there be a Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why? Based on the terrific reviews, the stellar cast, and the compelling central mystery, audiences who find themselves sucked into the world of the show may find themselves begging for more.
Fortunately, Netflix is notorious for being generous with their renewals; so far, the streaming service has yet to cancel a single one of their flagship drama or comedy series after only one season. (Cancelled after two seasons, Marco Polo is thus far Netflix's most short-lasting original program.) So that should be good news for 13 Reasons Why, right? Well, there is one minor hiccup in this particular case: 13 Reasons Why is based on a book, a 2007 YA novel by Jay Asher. And since the book isn't part of a series — and Season 1 plans to cover the entirety of its plot — surely that means the show will be a one-and-done "limited series," right? Once the mystery of Hannah Baker's suicide is solved, how much story could there possibly be left to tell?
A lot, apparently. It may come as a surprise given the finite nature of the source material, but the cast and crew of 13 Reasons Why seem eager to continue the show past Season 1. When asked if there was potential for more seasons, Private Practice actress Kate Walsh (who plays Hannah's grieving mother) tells Bustle, "I think so, absolutely." She refers to the show — written by Pulitzer- and Tony-winning writer Brian Yorkey (Next To Normal) — as "not verbatim" from Asher's novel, and more of a loose adaptation than a "total translation."
Walsh's co-star Justin Prentice (Awkward), who plays jock Bryce, agrees. "I think viewers will see kind of an expansion [on the book] even within this first season," he tells Bustle. "Because we have 13 episodes, we were able to really go deep into some of the characters that even the book didn't go in-depth on." The young actor says this richer experience will be "cool" for fans of Asher's novel, and jokes that, "I would love to stay employed, so hopefully there's more story to tell."
For the record, Asher himself is totally on board with Netflix continuing his story past its original end point. "If they want to continue it, I definitely trust where they would take it," the author tells Bustle. He also thinks that, if the show is renewed, it will be because Yorkey, the actors, and everyone at Netflix think they have an important story to tell — and not just because of commercial reasons. "They all believed in the story, so maybe that's what it is," he says. "Everybody's just really together and everybody's really having fun with each other and supportive of each other."
For the record, if 13 Reasons Why is renewed, it wouldn't be the first time a television adaptation outlived its source material. HBO's The Leftovers also exhausted the entirety of the novel by Tom Perrotta in its first season, and went on to earn even more critical acclaim in its second, completely original season. NBC's Hannibal crafted entire seasons out of relationships and storylines that were only hinted at in the periphery of Thomas Harris' trilogy. A&E's Bates Motel conjured up four seasons of original material before it finally reached its Psycho source material in its fifth and final season. HBO's Big Little Lies is the topic of much debate at the moment, as fans lobby for more seasons beyond the one based on Liane Moriarty's novel. And need I mention Game Of Thrones, which is still going strong, despite the fact that George R.R. Martin has stopped providing any new material for the writers to adapt?
Still, the idea that Netflix will decide to continue 13 Reasons Why once those 13 reasons have been explained is far from certain. But given the author's willingness, the cast's excitement, and Netflix's penchant for renewing its original content, don't be too surprised if we see a Season 2 sometime next year. For now, enjoy Season 1 as that increasingly rare phenomenon: a satisfying, self-contained, single season of television.
(Additional reporting by Samantha Rullo.)