There were a lot of emotional twists and turns jam-packed into the third season of Stranger Things, but arguably none more delightful than Maya Hawke’s Robin coming out as a lesbian. It’s a shocking reveal that few saw coming, especially Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), who thanks to a misunderstanding thought she had a crush on him. Well, turns out the Duffer Brothers actually did intend for the two characters to develop a romantic interest with each other, but this slowly changed as production ensued.
According to a new report in the Wall Street Journal, Robin’s sexual orientation was a late addition to the series that was actually suggested by Hawke herself. Though the Duffers always intended for Steve to fall for his Russian-translating Scoops Ahoy co-worker, it became clear she was headed in a different direction once filming began:
According to Hawke, the decision was obvious from pretty much the get go:
“Throughout filming, we started to feel like she and [Steve] shouldn’t get together, and that she’s gay. Even when I go back and watch earlier episodes, it just seems like the most obvious decision ever…
Sometimes we can have empathy for people on screen that we wouldn’t normally have empathy for in real life. If I can hope for anything it’s that maybe some people fell in love with Robin and that helped them fall in love with girls who love girls and boys who love boys.”
Hawke’s character officially comes out in episode seven in a fun scene that harkens back to the John Hughes high school movies of the ‘80s – just with a little more Russian Truth serum added to the mix – long after she’s been introduced as the new girl in Steve’s life and the eventual object of his desire.
This subversion of the expectations provides insight into both characters, as Steve admirably handles rejection and still develops a deep friendship with his co-worker, while Robin finally drops her guarded persona. For someone living in 1985 Indiana, this reveal says just as much about her character’s bravery as taking on the Mind Flayer in a mall food court.
The third season of Stranger Things is available now on Netflix, and it sounds like season 4 is gearing up for production as we speak. Hopefully, this means we’re getting much more of Robin (and Maya Hawke) sooner rather than later.