the stranger things writers have explained how they decided who would die in season four.
Season four recently concluded with a second volume of episodes, which were released on Friday (1 July).
Viewers have been watching the new installations in their millions, with the show continuing its record-breaking run for Netflix.
The episodes didn’t come without some heartbreak, though– and creators Matt and Ross Duffer are now breaking down the reasoning for killing off who they did, and dashing fan hope in the process.
*Spoilers follow – you have been warned*
The final episode saw the death of Eddie Munson, who was introduced in season four, episode one.
Eddie, played by Joseph Quinn, sacrificed himself to save Hawkins – but the brutal irony of his sacrifice was that the residents of Hawkins believed him to be a murderer, and made his life a nightmate in the run-up to his death.
Since the finale aired, fans have been wishing that somehow Eddie will make a grand return in season five. However, in a new interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, the Duffer brothers shot this speculation down.
In fact, they said they always planned to kill Eddie off when they created his character.
“We sort of saw Eddie as a bit of a doomed character,” Matt Duffer admitted. “Even imaging the flipside of that where he does survive that final battle, there’s not a great life waiting for Eddie in the right side up either, so he was really designed from the get go as a doomed character – unlike someone like Bob [Sean Astin’s character, who died in season two]who was like a shock to really up the stakes.
“In this case, Eddie was really hurtling to his doom all season.”
He added: “Of course, if you’re killing someone that no one cares about, it has no impact, so the goal was to make Eddie a really loveable charcater, have the audience fall in love with him. But to see the extent that he did, it was like, ‘Oh boy, this is going to get a reaction.’
Ross Duffer continued: “He was always going to be a tragic character. There was no other arc for him. He would have wound up in jail – this fantasy that he would have been in Milwaukee graduating sadly was never an outcome for him.”
Elsewhere, in season four’s penultimate episode, Matthew Modine’s returning character Dr Martin Brenner is killed off.
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Matt Duffer explained: “Why we really wanted to bring him back [is that] we felt that Eleven had never really come to terms with her relationship with him. Especially in episode eight, her and Brenner go at it and she says everything that’s on her mind about her.
“We also wanted to show Brenner isn’t this black and white villain – we wanted to give him an opportunity to at least try to tell Eleven his justifications and ultimately she doesn’t accept them.”
While the death scenes left viewers in shock, it seems the cast members have differing opinions. Both Millie Bobby Brown and Noah Schnapp, who play Eleven and Will, recently called out the show for not killing off any original characters – comments that the Duffer brothers have since responded to.
Meanwhile, the show’s creators also shared one big way they plan to make the final season very different from the fourth.
stranger things is available to stream on Netflix now. The final season is expected to be released in 2024.
Find The Independent‘s review of season four here, and everything we know about the fifth and final season here.