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[This story contains spoilers for Stranger Things 4 Volume 2.]
Although devastating for fans to watch, there was a silver lining to Eddie’s fate in the season four finale of Stranger Things, as star Joseph Quinn sees it.
A fan-favorite character introduced this season, Eddie went through an enormous arc, initially coming off as something of a bully before Chrissy Cunningham (Grace Van Dien) became possessed and violently killed in front of his eyes by Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower). On the run as the primary suspect for most of the season, Eddie, who admits his first instinct when there is trouble is always runaway, bravely sacrifices himself to save his new friends, specifically his best bud, Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo).
Catching up with The Hollywood Reporter once again to discuss Volume 2, Quinn points out that while some may have seen Eddie as a coward, his death was the perfect example of how brave the character became and shows how much he grew.
In the below chat, Quinn also talks about what it was like to shoot that exhausting death scene and reveals it really was him playing the guitar during that epic Metallica moment — mostly. And the actor talks about that adorable bond formed between Eddie and Dustin.
Has your phone been ringing and buzzing nonstop since this morning?
(Laughs.) Not really. I think all of my friends have been at work, so they haven’t had an opportunity to see it yet. And I’ve been avoiding Twitter, but I hear that it’s kind of madness on there.
Yes, to say the least. The show has been the No. 1 trend since the episode dropped at midnight. Let’s talk about your finale scene. It was so raw and emotional. How was the day for you? How much of that fake blood did you have to choke down?
(Laughs.) It felt like I was pounding pints of that stuff. The moment was a bit of a monkey on my and Gaten’s back. We wanted to do the best that we could, but it was shot very late in the day. It was a kind of very brutal night shoot. We did the bat fight and the Metallica sequence that evening. We had very little time left, but we managed to get my coverage done before the sun came up. And then, months later, we got Gaten’s coverage.
Speaking of, does Eddie see Dustin as a little brother or a version of himself he used to be or wanted to be?
I think a little bit of both. Definitely, there’s a fraternal kind of connection there. I certainly had those kinds of relationships with people who were a bit older than me. It’s a kind of admiration for them. Those years when you’re a teenager when the hormones are raging, and it’s horrible, and it’s weird — anyone who’s walked down the path and has a couple of miles more than you, you want that advice. And when you’ve got a younger person, you kind of see aspects of yourself in them.
Is that what was going through Eddie’s mind when he cut the rope?
Well, I think he probably knows that Dustin would follow him back, and he knows that if the bats get through that gate, everyone’s done for. So, he tries to give Dustin no option to follow him.
When we spoke prior for Volume 1, you noted that Eddie may be seen as a coward, but you didn’t believe that. And now we certainly know how brave and selfless he is. Did you see that as the silver lining of his death?
I think that’s such a big part of Eddie’s story. It’s a redemption tale. I think he’s completely haunted by his inability to do anything to save Chrissy and how powerless he was at that moment. And obviously being blamed for that murder is devastating, and then having to go into hiding. I think he gets a little bored with feeling pathetic and unable to do anything. And then at some point in episode eight, a switch flips, and he decides that he’s going to prove himself. The opportunity then arises, but he has to pay the ultimate price. But he proves to himself that he certainly isn’t a coward.
Did the cast do anything for your farewell? Was there a dinner or a party?
(Laughs.) Oh no, but they’ve been lovely the whole time. On my last day, there were some gifts and definitely some hugs. I kind of hate goodbyes, so I got out of there as soon as I could.
The Metallica scene is one of my favorite of the entire series. Eddie shreds! I assume that was really you playing, as I watched your hand moving for the chord changes, which is always a great indicator if it’s legit.
Yeah, I was very lucky in the fact that I’ve been playing since I was young. I’ve had a huge amount of time off, but when I read the script, I went and bought the guitar and started practicing manically. The solo was not me. I’m not a heavy metal guitarist, so we got this brilliant virtuoso to come in and do that bit. But the rest I was able to film.
That’s so fun. I know you said you have stayed off Twitter, but a lot of fans are hoping Dustin is the one who gets justice for Eddie. Safe to assume you feel the same way?
It would be nice, wouldn’t it? (Laughs.) It feels kind of very unfair his name isn’t cleared, but hey, I don’t make the rules.
I never say never about Stranger Things, so I’ll say I hope we see Eddie in the final season via a flashback or alternate plane of existence.
You know, anything is possible, and I’d be up for anything. So yeah, we’ll see.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
Stranger Things 4 is now streaming on Netflix. Check out more of THR‘s season coverage here.
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