One of Stranger Things’ Best Ideas Came Late in the Game

Robin (Maya Hawke) dishes some harsh truth on Dad Steve (Joe Keery).
Photo: Netflix

There were a lot of new team-ups in the third season of Netflix’s Stranger Things, but the coolest one (literally) had to be between Steve (Joe Keery) and his badass Russian-translating coworker Robin (Maya Hawke). Their relationship seemed to be going in a certain direction as Steve developed feelings for his new best friend, only for it to evolve into something else. It turns out, that evolution is largely thanks to the actors themselves.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Hawke said that Robin and Steve were originally supposed to develop a romantic relationship. However, as she and Keery were filming the episodes and their dynamic began to solidify, she said both of them felt differently about their characters and their relationship. And they expressed their feelings to the showrunners, the Duffer Brothers.

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“Throughout filming, we started to feel like she and [Steve] shouldn’t get together, and that she’s gay,” Hawke said. “Even when I go back and watch earlier episodes, it just seems like the most obvious decision ever.”

Hawke told Variety that it wasn’t until filming the fourth or fifth episode of the season that they all came to the decision that Robin was gay, calling it a “collective conversation” she was happy to be a part of. Her character officially comes out in episode seven, as she and Steve are hopped-up on truth serum in a mall bathroom. You can watch the scene below.

“Sometimes we can have empathy for people on screen that we wouldn’t normally have empathy for in real life,” Hawke said. “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.”

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It kind of makes sense that Robin’s sexuality wasn’t established until the fourth of fifth episode, as her story does start out as the New Girl who comes into Steve’s life to become his object of desire. But that doesn’t mean they needed to go back and change it—although I would’ve like to know a bit more about Robin’s life outside of school/Steve/gay. 

Robin is the first confirmed LGBTQ character in the series (Will’s sexuality has been implied but never confirmed). Her coming-out scene was one of our favorites of the season, and was also praised by GLAAD, calling it “another step forward for LGBTQ storytelling in the teen drama genre.”

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Stranger Things is currently playing on Netflix.


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About the author

Beth Elderkin

Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.