'13 Reasons Why' Showrunner Explains Why the Final Season Is Also the Shortest



13 Reasons Why is back for one last season, and the core group of characters at the center of the show is returning to Liberty High School for senior year.

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Season 3 ended when the kids banded together to frame Monty (Timothy Granaderos) for Bryce (Justin Prentice)'s death, which resulted in Monty being killed in prison. Viewers will recall that Alex (Miles Heizer) is technically responsible for Bryce's death — and at least Winston (Deaken Bluman) knows there's more to the story than meets the eye, since he was with Monty at the time of the incident.

To say there's a lot to unpack during the final season of this Netflix series is a gross understatement. So, with so much going on, why is Season 4 of 13 Reasons Why so much shorter than the rest?

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Why is Season 4 of '13 Reasons Why' so short?

Season 4 is going to have to tackle the friend group seeking justice for their friend Monty, all the while dealing with their last year of high school, and all the pressures and stress that inevitably follow that milestone.

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Another student we're going to be seeing more of this season is Zach Dempsey (Ross Butler), Hannah Baker's seventh "reason," who last season confessed to killing Bryce after Bryce broke Zach's knee, and Zach beat him to a bloody pulp — though it came to light that the official cause of Bryce's death was drowning.

"I will say that in season four we take Zach places that I had not expected until we really got into the room and delved into his story," showrunner Brian Yorkey said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "We took Zach some really interesting places and I've always loved that character and I love Ross Butler, so that was a lot of fun and a challenge and also a wonderful collaboration and I think it's going to be cool to watch."

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Brian explains that the season is shorter than the rest, at only 10 episodes, because "it served the story better, and 10 episodes ended up being the sweet spot for us."

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Previously, he had been "adamant" about "13 [episodes] because the show's called 13 Reasons Why and if I'm a young viewer, I'm like, '13 reasons why but there's only 10 episodes'. But at this point, heading into season 4 it was like, 'We've given them 39 reasons why at least, so I feel like we can say, yes the show is still called 13 Reasons Why, this season is 10 episodes.'"

"It's the right number," he asserts. "You'll see that when we get to the end."

Why is '13 Reasons Why' ending?

First off, it's worth mentioning that 13 Reasons Why was initially conceived as an anthology series, and that Brian and audiences alike "fell in love with these characters and wanted to know what happened next."

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"At that time I wouldn't say there was a plan," he told EW, adding that he felt it "would be interesting to watch how these characters deal and feel over the course of more time."

Season 4 felt like the time to end the story, as Brian "felt like bringing these characters to their [high school] graduation and to scattering to their next things felt like the logical end point." 

"I'm always a little bit suspicious of high school shows that go beyond four seasons because high school is four years long," he adds.

Watch all 10 episodes of 13 Reasons Why's final season, June 5 on Netflix.

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