Ahead of its third season premiere, Netflix has renewed controversial teen drama 13 Reasons Why for a fourth and final season, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The streamer announced the news on Thursday, Aug. 1, revealing that the final season will feature the group of characters’ graduation from Liberty High School, the school that has been plagued with drama and the center of controversy.
The announcement was made alongside the premiere date for the 13-episode third season, which will debut on the streaming giant on Friday, Aug. 23.
Created by Brian Yorkey as an adaptation of Jay Asher's young adult novel of the same name, 13 Reasons Why’s 2017 debut season focused on the aftermath of high school student Hannah Baker’s suicide and the 13 tapes she left explaining her reasons for ending her life.
The series quickly drew backlash for its portrayal of suicide, with many slamming the show for glorifying teen suicide. Several studies released in the years since its debut have even linked the series to an increase in teen suicide in the months that followed its premiere.
Responding to the backlash in mid-July of this year, Netflix revealed that, after speaking with experts, it had made the decision to finally remove Hannah’s suicide scene, a graphic sequence that showed her taking her own life. In its place, the series now shows Hannah looking at her reflection in a mirror before it goes to her parents’ reaction to her death.
“We've heard from many young people that 13 Reasons Why encouraged them to start conversations about difficult issues like depression and suicide and get help — often for the first time," Netflix said in a statement announcing the decision. “As we prepare to launch season three later this summer, we've been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show. So on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we've decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season one."
However, despite being applauded for the decision, the streaming giant has continued to face backlash for its slow move to action and for continuing to air the show, which has faced a number other controversies.
Following its second season debut, many slammed the series for the graphic sexual assault that takes place, as well as a thwarted school shooting plot point.
Seasons 1 and 2 of 13 Reasons Why are available for streaming on Netflix. Season 3 will premiere on Friday, Aug. 13. Season 4, the final season, does not yet have a premiere date, though production on the season is currently underway.