One of the best things about Stranger Things 3 is the return of unlikely buddies Steve (Joe Keery) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo). But their friendship is made even more fun by the dry, sarcastic addition of Steve’s fellow Scoops Ahoy! co-worker Robin (played by Maya Hawke, daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman), making them the most satisfying team-up of the show’s third season. But there’s one particular element of this relationship that wasn’t always part of the original plan.
Find out what we’re talking about below, but beware of spoilers for the third season of Stranger Things.
Speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Maye Hawke revealed that the original plan for Stranger Things 3 would have seen Robin and Steve strike up a romance. In fact, that’s exactly what the show feels like it’s doing with these two characters. Even Dustin points out how cool she is and encourages Steve to make some kind of move. However, when the two characters share a tender moment after barfing up some honesty-inducing drugs injected in them by the Russian bad guys, there’s a surprise revelation.
When Steve expresses his interest in her after seemingly thinking that Robin had a crush on him in high school while he was dating Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), he learns that she actually had a crush on Nancy the whole time. Robin comes out as a lesbian, but that was something that wasn’t figured out until halfway through production. Hawke explained:
“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.”
Variety learned from Hawke that it was sometime around shooting the fourth or fifth episode that she and Joe Keery spoke with Matt & Ross Duffer and finalized the decision to have Robin be gay. She said it was a “collaborative conversation” between the four of them that unfolded naturally during production, and she couldn’t have been more thrilled with how it turned out. Hawke added:
“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.”
In the end, the character reveal makes for a nice twist in the story, though one that doesn’t feel forced or gimmicky. It comes about naturally, and as Hawke says, in retrospect, it still lines up with how the character presents herself and talks about the time she spent in high school with Steve. And it lets some viewers who might be treated like outcasts feel like maybe they can eventually feel comfortable with who they are, too.
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