When Netflix dropped the Season 3 trailer for 13 Reasons Why on Aug. 1, fans immediately noticed that a new voice had taken over for Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) narrating the sequence of events. A new character named Ani can be heard teasing the slow reveal of Season 3's central mystery: that Bryce Walker (Justin Prentice) was found dead, presumably murdered. So who plays Ani on 13 Reasons Why and what happened to Hannah? Well, for starters, Langford announced that she'd be leaving the show in May of 2018, which opened the door for a newcomer to shake things up. And much like Hannah Baker was a breakout role for Langford, Ani Achola is actress Grace Saif's first series regular role.
She's previously appeared on the British medical soap opera Doctors and lent her voice to the video game World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, according to her IMDb. But Saif is poised to appeared in all 13 episodes of the new season, making 13 Reasons Why her biggest role to date. The British actress studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and graduated in 2017. Needless to say, she found her footing quickly on one of Netflix's most popular (albeit, controversial) YA shows.
On 13 Reasons Why, Saif plays Ani Achola, a new (still British) Liberty High School student with a mysterious criminal history. According to a Deadline synopsis of the third season, "It’s up to a shrewd outsider to steer the group through an investigation that threatens to lay bare everyone’s deepest secrets." Presumably, Ani is that outsider.
Season 3 of 13 Reasons Why opens on the fallout of Tyler's (Devin Druid) failed mass shooting attempt, after the Season 2 cliffhanger shows his friends rallying around him, successfully diffusing the situation, and whisking him off school property in an attempt to conceal his plan. In addition to narrating the Season 3 trailer, Ani can be seen scrubbing blood out of a white shirt into a sink and standing with her fellow Liberty High School students in front of Bryce Walker's casket. She says in the voiceover:
Deputy Standall, here’s the thing about the kids at Liberty High. They’re connected by their secrets. Connected and forever changed. The truth is, given the right circumstances, given the right motivation, anyone could have done this.
At different points in the trailers, Ani suggests that both Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) and Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe) could be responsible for Bryce's death, as the two people with the biggest axes to grind against him.
But 13 Reasons Why also created a promotional site for Season 3, dubbed whokilledbrycewalker.com, and there, Ani is implicated as a suspect in the case, according to PopSugar. But the Season 3 trailers show everyone from Clay to Tony Padilla (Christian Navarro) to Zach Dempsey (Ross Butler) being led away, cuffed, or questioned by police, so it's safe to say that the question of who killed Bryce is still very much up in the air.
Season 3 of 13 Reasons Why is now streaming on Netflix.