13 Reasons Why has added seven new actors to its season 2 cast. The show, which debuted on Netflix last spring, was renewed in May after a wave of controversy. Its unflinching depiction of issues like bullying, suicide, and sexual assault was to some revolutionary, and to others both troubling and deeply problematic. The first season, based on Jay Asher's 2007 novel of the same name, focused on Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), a high school teen who takes her own life and leaves behind a series of tapes detailing each of the people and reasons she deems responsible.
By the finale episode, Baker's story (at least from her perspective) had finished, seemingly positioning the drama as a limited series. That, combined with the rampant backlash that followed, led many viewers to believe it may not get a second shot on screen. But its overwhelming popularity ultimately won out, and writers found a way to continue the narrative from different points of view.
Now, Variety reports 13 Reasons Why has added a number of new faces to the fold, including Anne Winters (Tyrant, The Fosters), Chelsea Alden (American Horror Story), Allison Miller (Incorporated), Samantha Logan (Melissa & Joey), Kelli O’Hara (Masters Of Sex), Ben Lawson (Doubt), and Bryce Cass (2016's Cruel Intentions). None of the actors will be series regulars, but many will appear in a majority of the episodes throughout the season.
O’Hara, a Broadway vet and Tony winner, will play Jackie, a “warm, intelligent” anti-bullying advocate; Logan, who portrayed Tia Stevens on The Fosters, has been cast as Nina, a “well-respected track star with a secret"; Lawson will play Liberty High’s beloved baseball coach, Rick; and Miller will take on Sonya, a “smart and ambitious young litigator.” Other students include head cheerleader and resident "it girl" Chloe (Winters), “cynical mischief maker” Cyrus (Cass), and Cyrus’ artistic sister Mackenzie (Alden).
13 Reasons Why season 2 is expected to revolve around the lawsuit filed by Hannah's parents against the high school after finding they may have played a complicit part in her death, and that her counselor may have overlooked (or at worst, outright ignored) her admission of suicidal thoughts. It's not yet clear what role, if any, these new characters will play in that, but it reaffirms the show's intent to explore other sides of Hannah's story, including pivoting to a new narrator. Whether or not that will be enough to assuage previous criticisms remains to be seen, but all eyes will certainly be on 13 Reasons Why when it returns.
13 Reasons Why season 1 is available for streaming now on Netflix; season 2 is scheduled to arrive in 2018.