Note: The following article contains discussion of themes including suicide that some readers may find upsetting.
The show's third and most recent batch of episodes landed on Netflix in August 2019, and a fourth season was then officially confirmed to be going ahead too.
Despite its reputation – Hannah's season one death scene has since been removed from the show following concern from both experts and viewers – 13RW season three did get praise for its handling of one particular moment, which proves the show can get it right.
The show was inspired by Jay Asher's book of the same name but has long outpaced the original source material, which initially centred on Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) following the death of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford).
But season four will be the drama's final on-screen chapter. Sources told THR that 13 Reasons Why is a "pricey drama" – the cast recently received big pay rises and it is also produced by Paramount TV, which means Netflix has to pay a hefty licensing fee.
The streaming giant has since changed its model and is now leaning more towards commissioning new series.
Kate Walsh, who plays Hannah Baker's mum Olivia, agrees that wrapping up 13 Reasons Why after season four is the right decision.
"I think it's a really great thing now that we have so many different platforms and ways to view television and films," she told PopCulture.com.
"I think particularly for TV, it's really smart when things end. I think it's really important creatively when a show has finished to end it. For shows like 13 Reasons Why, or Fleabag is a great example.
"It's like, 'No, we're done. This is it. This is what she had in mind at the end'. But I think it's a really cool time to be able to do that creatively, to really stick to the artist's vision and yeah, that's exciting."
With all eyes firmly on the show's closing chapter, what lies ahead?
Here's everything you need to know about 13 Reasons Why season four.
13 Reasons Why season 4 release date on Netflix: When will it air?
We finally have a date for the final season of 13 Reasons Why.
The show's official Twitter account shared an emotional video of the cast, while also revealing the launch date for the "final goodbye" would be: June 5.
June 5th. The final season. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/bBuDkSpwCe— 13 Reasons Why (@13ReasonsWhy) May 11, 2020
The clip gave a glimpse at some of the faces that viewers have come to know and love, including Dylan Minnette (who plays Clay Jenson), Brandon Flynn (who plays Justin Foley) and Alisha Boe (who plays Jessica Davis) who tearfully told the camera: "I will never forget this experience".
The streaming giant hasn't yet revealed how many episodes we can expect, but we're going to go out on a limb and say 13 because... Well, it's fairly obvious why.
13 Reasons Why season 4 trailer: When can I watch it?
We don't have one just yet, but we'll keep you posted as soon as a teaser drops.
13 Reasons Why in particular usually holds footage back until just a week or two before the whole season is released, so we'd expect to have one towards the end of May.
13 Reasons Why season 4 cast: Who's in it?
So we know that Hannah and Bryce (Justin Prentice) won't be back unless it's in flashbacks, but as for the others, Clay (Dylan Minnette), Justin (Brandon Flynn), Tony (Christian Navarro), Alex (Miles Heizer), Tyler (Devin Druid), Zach (Ross Butler), and Jessica (Alisha Boe) are all set to return.
Don't be surprised if Deaken Bluman returns in the role of Winston as well. Introduced in season three, his character played an important part in Monty's storyline and the finale hinted his time with the show isn't quite over just yet.
We really need to know what Winston's going to do next – he knows that Monty didn't kill Bryce, and he wants to get to the truth. That's perhaps the biggest loose thread that needs to be resolved in season four.
And Monty may have died in season three, but the actor who plays him – Timothy Granaderos – isn't ready to let him go just yet.
"There's always more opportunity for more of his story, but at this moment, who knows?" Granaderos says (via Elite Daily). "I feel like there's so much left to unpack with his story. [It] tragically ended too soon and you were just getting to see the different shades of Monty."
Granaderos hopes that flashbacks will allow him to return for season four. "I hope that Winston kind of finds a way to hold the people accountable that pinned me for the murder," he says, "but I think it’ll be interesting because he's one of the only ones that knows where he was.
"In a lot of ways I feel like it was convenient for [Monty] to die because then he was the perfect scapegoat for the story, but if that's the reason why, then I hope that Winston uncovers all of that."
But even if he's not involved, he's supportive of the final season. "I hope that it remains this platform for conversation for young people and hope," he says. "A cool byproduct of being on a television show is that we get to be on the center of these conversations...
"[Fans] relate to these characters in these very visceral ways, so I just hope that the conversation keeps being had."
As for Alisha Boe's character Jessica Davis, there's a lot left to unpack for her story arc as well.
Chatting to Refinery29 about her character, Boe, whose mother is from Norway and father from Somalia, said: "Every time I saw a breakdown for a popular girl [role], they usually went with the blonde, blue-eyed [actors].
"By the time I auditioned [to play Jessica], I was engineered to believe that I wasn't right for it. But I thought, 'Why shouldn't I get it?'
"Getting this part surprised me, but in the best way possible. I think we deserve to take up the spaces that we haven't been able to fill in the last 40 years. Playing Jessica means I get to be the person someone else sees themselves reflected in on screen. That means more to me than anything else, because I didn't have that growing up."
She added: "I started this show when I was 19 and I'm about to turn 23. So, it's kind of like my college years. I've grown up with this character. I've learned so much and I feel like a different person, but in the best way possible."
She also spoke about the decision to change up her character's appearance.
"Changing Jessica's hair was a very conscious choice," she told Refinery29. "The third season was the first time you see Jessica really take on the role of being a survivor, and we wanted to convey that through her hair."
Brian Yorkey confirmed in September that veteran actor Gary Sinise will join the cast for season four as Clay's "compassionate but no-nonsense therapist" Dr Robert Ellman.
"From the first moments we conceived of the role," he said, "I thought of Gary Sinise, but hardly dared to dream it might happen. A consummate actor and first-rate human, Gary brings the exact combination of toughness, smarts and heart the character needs. We're all thrilled and honoured to have him join us for this pivotal role in our final season."
Shooting the final season has been emotional for the cast. Stars such as Ross Butler and Christian Lee Navarro have posted heartfelt tributes to the series and their characters.
Butler – who plays Zach Dempsey – shared a video filled with sincere gratitude. "Thank you for the last four years of support," he said in the clip (via PopSugar). He added: "It's changed my life in more ways than you can imagine, so thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Meanwhile, Navarro – who plays Tony Padilla – went even further. "Playing this character has made me a better man," he wrote. "It's allowed me the great honour of representing people who may feel unheard, unwanted, and unloved. You are heard. You are wanted. You are loved."
13 Reasons Why season 4 plot: What will happen?
All we know at the moment is that the narrative will follow the characters as they graduate high school.
There are many questions left to explore before it finishes for good, including:
Will Winston uncover the truth about the gang's cover-up? It seems likely given that he knows Monty didn't kill Bryce because he was with him at the time. But he doesn't know who did. Then again, he might just decide to leave it. There aren't crowds of fans baying for #JusticeForMonty.
Is Bryce going to feature in the fourth season? Even though he's dead, that's no barrier in this show. But actor Justin Prentice did tell THR that he feels his story is done, saying: "I feel like we've kind of hit and explored all the different facets of Bryce. Moving on with my career, I feel like we put it all out there and we didn't leave anything behind, which is comforting."
And it sounds like his final scenes were tough to shoot, so he might not want to revisit the role, even in the form of flashbacks, in the follow-up season.
"He felt helpless in the end," Prentice said (via The Hollywood Reporter). "He did a lot of this to himself, of course, so I don't necessarily feel bad. But I feel like he was up against a wall and felt that no matter what he did he wouldn't be able to set things right."
"Those scenes were intense. As an actor, they were just a blast to film, but it was very intense to film the whole fight scene with Zach and then Jess and Alex coming up on the dock. We had to do it in a bunch of ways because we had to match the shots and make sure everything from a technical camera aspect lined up for the fall into the water, because we had to shoot that at a different location and on water stages.
"There were a lot of technical aspects that we had to nail down to get right. But [Miles and Alisha] are both so fantastic, as is everyone we work with. When you get into that energy, it's easy to stay there. It's sort of a safe bubble so you can go to these intense places and live there until we're done shooting."
Then there's the kind-of unresolved story of Tony's deported family – will we see them again? "I hope that Tony's able to fully embrace his new role as someone who can not only help others but also ask for help and be okay receiving help," actor Christian Navarro told Cosmopolitan.
Of course, season three was more of a whodunnit than any previous seasons – feeling more like Pretty Little Liars than anything else. Could a genre switch-up be in store for the final season?
Oh, and we really need to know what's up with the bag of guns that were pulled out of the river at the end of season three. You don't to pull a bag of guns out of a river without revealing who they belong to.
13 Reasons Why seasons 1 - 3 are available on Netflix.
We would encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to reach out. Organisations who can offer support include Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), and Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 or visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
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