Ask a sampling of the Stranger Things fandom who their favorite character is, and there’s a strong chance the majority will plump for Steve “The Hair” Harrington. Although he started out as a typical douchey jock character, Joe Keery’s immense likeability and some sharp writing has transformed Steve into arguably the Netflix hit’s breakout. Six years on from his villainous debut and Steve stands as one of the most heroic and beloved of all Hawkins residents.
That’s why it’s inconceivable to imagine a version of the show that followed on from the original plan to kill Steve off in the season one finale. While speaking during the Stranger Things panel on Day Four of Netflix’s Geeked Week, creators the Duffer brothers reflected on how Steve’s character arc has gone to so many unexpected places that it really shouldn’t have done.
“Steve, played beautifully by Joe Keery, he wasn’t supposed to be here,” Matt Duffer stressed. “He shouldn’t be in season four. He shouldn’t be a lead in season four. He shouldn’t be a good guy.”
“He was supposed to die in the finale, yeah…” Ross Duffer recalled, referencing the initial intention to off Steve way back in 2016. “I’m pretty sure he was gonna die earlier. It’s been a while.”
Thankfully, the Duffers liked working with Keery so much that they decided not to have Harrington meet his end during his first battle with a Demogorgon, allowing him to survive into season two. So, needing to find a new space for him in the plot, the writers morphed Steve into the kids’ reluctant babysitter and protector, thereby resulting in the series’ finest bit of character growth bar none.
Unfortunately, given that Steve was once on course to meet a dark fate, fans are concerned that he’s still got a bullet with his name on it and may not survive season four in tact. The Duffers have promised that there is a major death coming in the current run’s super-sized finale, after all. But they wouldn’t murder Steve now that he’s so popular, right? Right?
The truth will be revealed when Stranger Things 4 drops its second volume of episodes, consisting of two more feature-length chapters, on Netflix this July 1.