Joe Keery Saved Stranger Things’ Steve With Some Crucial Changes

Joe Keery says his Stranger Things character Steve was intended to have a dark fate, but he convinced the Duffer Brothers to give him a more empathetic arc.

By Britta DeVore
| Published

Joe Keery stranger Things

While rumors are swirling about what could take place in the fifth and final season of Netflix’s sci-fi hit Stranger Things, one of the stars has shared his story of how the production could’ve been a very different one – particularly for one of the show’s most beloved characters. In a recent interview with GQ, Joe Keery explained how his Stranger Things Season 1 portrayal of Steve Harrington almost took a much darker and doom-filled turn without the character receiving the redemption arc and becoming the young hero we know and love. 

In his interview, Joe Keery explained that the Duffer Brothers had an entirely different plan in mind for Steve, making him a tough character to have any empathy for. One of the big reveals was that the Stranger Things bully jock-turned-nice-guy appeared in a beach party scene in which “he forced himself on Nancy way harsher” than what audiences saw in the final cut. Of course, this would’ve resulted in viewers reacting harshly to Steve (a completely fair judgment), and not having any sad feelings when the character could’ve possibly met his bloody fate at the end of the first season.

Joe Keery stranger Things

The dedicated fanbase has Joe Keery to thank for the Duffer Bros.’ change of heart in changing how things would unfold for Steve with the Stranger Things actor explaining how he helped shift their mindset. Knowing that there was always something bigger and better for Steve and that he just had to grow up and face challenges to reach his fullest potential, Keery said that he didn’t see the character as all bad but instead as a regular human with his own set of character flaws. While he describes early season Steve as “aloof,” he also notes that the teenager always “meant well,” which in turn led to his major growth and character arc over the show’s four-season run.

Along with Joe Keery’s Steve, there have been a lot of lovable characters on Netflix’s hit series. From Millie Bobby Brown’s Eleven to Gaten Matarazzo’s Dustin and the short-lived but celebrated appearance of Joseph Quinn’s Eddie Munson, Stranger Things has more than delivered on reeling fans in with a well-crafted lineup of characters. And, while we’ve seen many of the main players grow both physically and emotionally over the years, it’s no debate that Steve Harrington has been the top contender for most positive change in four seasons.

Split into two parts, the show’s fourth season picked up eight months after the events of the third season and put the lovable gang of nerdy pals back on a collision course with even more danger than ever before. Along with Joe Keery, Millie Bobby Brown, and Gaten Matarazzo, many of the main players were back including Winona Ryder, Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, David Harbour, Caleb McLaughlin, Sadie Sink, Charlie Heaton, Maya Hawke, and Natalia Dyer. Filling out the storyline for Stranger Things Season 4 were powerful performances from the aforementioned Joseph Quinn and Jamie Campbell Bower.

While an astonishing amount is still up in the air for the show’s big final season, we can at least count on Joe Keery to steer the Duffer Bros. in the right direction when it comes to how things will turn out for the band of misfits and the entire town of Hawkins. As of right now, no release date for Stranger Things Season 5 has been revealed. 

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