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’13 Reasons Why’ Stars Tell Us Why Polaroid Mystery Is ‘Big Part of’ Season 2

TheWrap sits down with Miles Heizer and Ross Butler for launch of show’s sophomore season

“13 Reasons Why” stars Miles Heizer and Ross Butler are dropping hints on the Polaroid mystery that develops in Season 2.

“The polaroids, in the same way the tapes were in Season 1, are kind of used as a device to move the story forward and serve as kind of clues to get the characters from one point to another and are ultimately a big part of the season, and of the mystery,” Heizer said in an interview with TheWrap ahead of the Season 2 premiere. 

Butler added that the mysterious photos act as “breadcrumbs” to keep Clay (Dylan Minnette) invested in the trial.

The two stars, who play Alex (Heizer) and Zach (Butler) respectively, also discussed their characters’ friendship. Alex is back at school after a failed suicide attempt and is still recovering from brain trauma it caused. Zach, who is struggling with his friendship with Bryce (Justin Prentice) and still very much in the jock circle that ousted Alex, tries to help his friend as best he can while juggling the peer pressures of high school.

Zach’s decision to help Alex is a sign that he’s going in the direction of doing what’s right rather than doing what his friends expect. You don’t really know what side Zach falls on, though, ’cause he’s having a moral dilemma,” Butler said. 

There’s a moment where [Zach] talks about how physical therapy specifically helped him through a hard time, so it makes sense he would reach out to Alex — who was also his friend before all of this — and try to help him,” Heizer added. “Help provide [Alex] with something that helped for him personally, so I think that it makes sense that they kind of find each other and end up getting a little bit closer.” 

Butler said that criticism of the show is something the cast has “been struggling with accepting as, like, a good criticism.”

Some critics, including suicide prevention groups, were concerned that young people would “over-identify” with Hannah (Katherine Langford) and that her realistic suicide in the first season might cause a “copycat effect.” But, the goal of the cast is to represent real issues that teens deal with today.

“Because that’s what we were aiming to do with the show, is portray teenagers as realistically as we could and treat them with respect,” he said, rather than assume that teens don’t deal with things like rape, harassment, and mental health. He added that one of the reasons why “the show did so well is teenagers were actually like yeah, okay, people are finally getting it.”

“13 Reasons Why” Season 2 premieres on Netflix Friday, May 18.

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