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13 Reasons Why showrunner on season 2’s assault and school shooting story lines

For more on season 2 of 13 Reasons Why — and the potential third season — pick up the upcoming issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

Spoiler alert: This post contains plot from all of 13 Reason Why‘s second season.

With its first season, 13 Reasons Why gained a reputation for telling stories even when they became uncomfortable. The show’s first 13 episodes followed the story of Hannah Baker, a high school student who died by suicide and left behind 13 cassette tapes explaining her decision. Along the way, there were multiple scenes that were difficult to watch, whether dealing with sexual assault or Hannah’s suicide. And yet, heading into season 2, the writers knew they couldn’t let the controversy surrounding season 1 affect how they tackled the stories ahead. “We knew that we didn’t want to back away,” showrunner Brian Yorkey tells EW. “People often ask if we adapted the storytelling because of all the controversy, and we were certainly aware of the controversy — we were intensely aware of it — but all it really did for us is make us double down on making difficult choices, being as truthful as we could, and not backing away from trying to tell some unflinching stories about the kinds of things that young people go through. That seemed to be the thing that we were, in some way, uniquely able to do, and we thought we needed to keep doing it.”

Season 2 did that in a number of ways with a number of characters, though the story that has most people talking involves Tyler, the loner photographer who ended season 1 by collecting guns in a trunk in his bedroom. And by the end of season 2,

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