No show this year has come close to causing the intense fandom commotion of 13 Reasons Why. Netflix's new teen drama has quickly become the service's most tweeted about series, receiving a mix of praise and backlash over its complicated portrayal of a teenage girl who commits suicide. It's also inspired a ton of fan theories about its mysterious characters. One of the most prevalent fan theories has centered on the character of Tony Padilla, a tattooed outsider who helps Clay Jensen come to terms with Hannah Baker's death. Elite Daily caught up with Tony's actor, Christian Navarro, to get the answer to the question fans have been theorizing about: Is Tony on 13 Reasons Why a ghost?
The bizarre theory popped up immediately after 13 Reasons Why was released at the end of March as a proposed explanation for Tony's seemingly singular focus on helping and guiding Clay. Many fans of the show pointed out how strange it was that Tony only seemed to pop-up whenever Clay needed help, and a theory soon formed that he was actually some sort of ghost or guardian angel sent to help Clay get through Hannah's tapes. But Christian Navarro is shooting that supernatural theory down.
There was a big [theory] that was like, Tony's a ghost. And I was like 'Watch the show, man. There's no way. I interact with everybody; Tony's a real guy.' That one was a little bit of a stretch to me. Sometimes these fan theories are incredibly impressive and ahead of the curve and shock me, but that was not one of them. It would be amazing, but no.
As Navarro pointed out, the major hole in the "Tony is a ghost" theory comes in the characters personal relationships with other characters besides Clay. Although he does spend most of his time with Clay, we have seen Tony develop other interpersonal relationships. He has a family, was close friends with Hannah, dated Ryan, and currently dates Brad.
Navarro went on to admit he does want to see a more independent Tony in Season 2, separate from Clay. He said Tony's major role in Clay's story served its purpose in the first season, but now it's time to learn more about Tony's personal life rather than just see him as a caretaker to other characters. Maybe we'll even see a little role reversal, with Clay taking care of Tony instead of the other way around.
I would love for someone to come and be Tony's Tony. Someone to take care of him, because he takes care of everyone.
It sounds like we're finally going to be finding out more about Tony when Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why drops next year. Until then, fans can next see Christian Navarro in the new action flick Bushwick, which is now in theaters and on iTunes as of Friday, August 25.