13 Reasons Why stars 'pleaded' with writers to end Netflix show in 'most depressing' way

Actors, including Dylan Minnette, thought ‘devastating’ twist would make the finale more ‘powerful’

Jacob Stolworthy
Friday 12 June 2020 14:04
13 Reasons Why: New season 4 trailer

13 Reasons Why actor Dylan Minnette has defended the series from criticism over a “devastating” plot twist in the final season.

The show returned for its final 10 episodes last week (5 June) and fans were hoping for a satisfying conclusion to the controversial adaptation of Jay Asher’s novel.

However, those who rushed through the season were quick to express their fury over a storyline involving a fan favourite character.

*Spoilers follow – you have been warned*

The Netflix show, which has found itself at the centre of controversy after the release of every season to date, was once again criticised – this time for a twist that resulted in the death of Justin Foley (Brandon Flynn).

It turns out that Justin, who is a recovering heroin addict, dies after contracting HIV, which develops into AIDS.

One scene sees doctors attribute Justin’s contraction to his use of a syringe as well as his time as a sex worker while living on the streets, which left fans deeply unimpressed.

Dylan Minnette, who plays Clay Jensen, reflected upon the storyline, telling Entertainment Weekly: ”I remember all season, Brandon and I were specifically hoping that it would be Justin.”

“We were pushing for it and we would plead to [showrunner Brian Yorkey] making the case of why we feel like it should be him, because he and I both felt that it would have the biggest emotional impact on the series given Justin’s entire arc,” he continued.

“Of course it’s devastating and tragic and we know that people would love to see him survive, but I think that’s what makes it all the more powerful.”

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Minnette added: “Obviously it’s the most depressing move the show could make, but I feel like it’s also in line with the show to make that choice in the last episode, to make the most devastating choice.”

Fans were not in agreement after watching the finale.

“So y’all fo real going to give the recovered heroin addict AIDS? Then have him die from it? Once again F***,” one angry viewer wrote.

“You had a character that struggled with drug addiction + homelessness FINALLY gets a loving family and a shot at a bright future and you... kill him off with AIDS??? ARE YOU SERIOUS?????” another wrote.

One viewer criticised the turn of events as “bothersome and potentially traumatic”.

“Your HIV/AIDS story line with Justin, the ONE character with a truly redeemable arc on this show, would have been a great opportunity to show HIV/AIDS isn’t a death sentence in the 21st century,” another person tweeted.

The new season of 13 Reasons Why is available to stream on Netflix

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