Beware that spoilers for 13 Reasons Why’s series finale are discussed below.
Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why is no stranger to controversy, and it did not let up on inviting it in Season 4. The major death that shook the show’s final chapter, and earned the ire of fans, has been yet another hot topic for the teen drama. Now, one star is sharing why they pushed so hard for said death to happen.
Dylan Minnette played Clay Jensen for all four seasons, and he has been candid about his feelings regarding it. The “it” being the death of Justin Foley, Clay’s adopted brother and the character who initiated Hannah’s spiral. In the series finale of 13 Reasons Why, Justin dies due to complications from AIDS, a development that has left the show’s fanbase reeling.
This was a reaction that 13 Reasons Why’s Alisha Boe seemed to expect before Season 4 premiered. Now, Boe’s co-star, Dylan Minnette, explained that he actually pushed for Justin Foley to die in the final season, and Minette was not alone in desiring Justin’s tragic ending. Brandon Flynn, who played Justin, also felt it was the right move. On the Season 4 death, Minette told Variety:
I think we just felt like if you’re going do another death for Season 4, in the last season, it has to have the biggest emotional impact possible to make it feel, I guess, not worthwhile, but make it just leave an impact and a mark on the end of the show. And I think that that is the most impactful death for Clay.
Justin’s death undoubtedly left an impact on Clay and fans who are displeased with the twist. Heading into 13 Reasons Why’s final season, questions were surrounding Justin. One question that fans might have now is why any character had to die at all. Once they accept that one had to take place to complete the show, is Justin’s death understandable?
The ending of 13 Reasons Why has been yet another source of controversy, thus leading the show full circle to concern over earlier seasons. Dylan Minnette’s position seems to be that if there had to be a death in Season 4, Justin was the best option due to the emotional impact it would have. Within the show, his deep ties to Clay would make Justin’s passing particularly impactful on Minnette’s character.
If it hadn't gone out on such a divisive note, would 13 Reasons Why have really been true to itself? It had pushed fans’ limits with multiple storylines that touched a collective nerve.
It's interesting to find out that both Clay and Justin’s portrayers were totally on board with Justin’s death. If the show were to be revived in some way, Justin would theoretically not be involved. Still, Hannah did have an impact from beyond from beyond the grave, so there's always hope.