In certain ways, Matt and Ross Duffer's Stranger Things was supposed to be a lot different from what Netflix audiences got. As in deadly different. Thanks to the new book Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside, viewers are now privy to the tragic fate that awaited multiple fan favorites. The Duffer Brothers explained how both Eleven and Steve were meant to die in Season 1, while Sean Astin's Bob was conceived to bow out earlier in Season 2. Let's break them down.
While Millie Bobby Brown's Eleven was a central protagonist in both Season 1 and Season 2 (and probably beyond), that was not her original fate, per NME. So, why was Eleven's shiny top spared, and how was she supposed to exit? Having first broached this shocking topic after Season 2's release, the Duffer Brothers talked more about it in the book. Giving Brown partial credit for Eleven avoiding what initially awaited the character, Ross said:
Eleven was going to sacrifice herself to save the day. That was always the end game. But once we realized that the show was potentially going to go on longer than one season, we needed to leave it more up in the air, because deep down we knew the show just wouldn't really work without Eleven. And at that point, we knew how special Millie was. If there was going to be more Stranger Things, Eleven had to come back.
One thing the Duffer Brothers did not say is whether Eleven is completely out of the woods now. With its third season on the horizon and more seasons in store, could the reasons behind Eleven's survival mean her death is entirely off the table before or during the end of Stranger Things? Maybe so.
The overall good news is that Stranger Things' creators realized how crucial Millie Bobby Brown's Eleven is to the story before it was too late. What makes their judgment call all the more impressive is that it happened without knowing how gigantic Stranger Things' premiere would be. Positive fan reaction did not play a role (which Barb knows oh so well). Speaking of fan favorites that brings us to the next person initially slated to be killed off.
Fans love Joe Keery's Steve Harriington, and probably would have rioted had he gotten killed off before having a chance to make mall commercials. His Season 2 lovefest and brofest were originally not in the cards, however. Ross Duffer shared the original intention for the character in explaining why he was only meant to be temporary Season 1 fodder.
This Steve character, he was just supposed to be this giant douchebag.
So, what ended up saving the day for Steve? It was his portrayer. Actor Joe Keery's take on Steve proved to be too great to let the amusingly hammy character go. Another wise move on the part of Stranger Things' creators, if you anyone in Hawkins. Sometimes an actor nails a role so hard, the original plan surrounding their character shifts to accommodate the talent at play.
A character on paper can look a lot different after an actor brings it to life. With Steve having played such an integral role in Season 2, it has to be hard for fans to imagine Stranger Things without him. While Steve was spared, another beloved character was not, as the Duffers stuck with their ultimate plan with the great Sean Astin, albeit with a twist.
Unfortunately for the world, Bob was eventually killed off as part of the original game plan for Season 2. He was supposed to die a lot sooner though, so fans should always be happy about . Ross Duffer revealed just how much sooner Bob was supposed to die, as well as why they stretched his role out.
Sean Astin proved so likeable that Bob's death got pushed from Episode 4 to Episode 8, because we kept wanting to keep him alive. It was important to us and also to Sean to give him a bit of a hero's death. We wanted him to accomplish something meaningful.
In the end, the Duffer Brothers granted Sean Astin and Bob four more episodes of life and relatively happiness. Bob's journey did end in the meaningful way the Duffers wanted it to. As Bob's heroic ending gave a pronounced meaning to his contribution in Season 2.