This really isn’t all that out of the ordinary.
Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad — one of the most iconic supporting characters in the history of television — was intended to die in the show’s first season, but once series creator Vince Gilligan saw just how wildly talented Aaron Paul was, they decided to let Pinkman live on.
Same goes for the creators of LOST, who eventually had a change of heart after they considered killing off the show’s eventual hero, Jack, in the pilot episode.
Shit, even legendary Star Wars scribe Lawrence Kasdan mulled killing off Han Solo halfway through Return Of The Jedi.
Point is, similar to you and I, these Hollywood creatives never really have a concrete plan — they just write shit down and hope whatever comes out unspools into a coherent story.
And as it turns out, Matt and Ross Duffer — the sibling minds behind Stranger Things — went down a similar path of uncertainty when first writing the hit Netflix series, as they initially planned to not only kill off one but two of the show’s most beloved characters: Eleven and Steve Harrington.
In Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down — a companion guide to the Stranger Things universe — the Duffer brothers revealed that neither Eleven nor Steve were originally going to make it out of season one alive.
“Eleven was going to sacrifice herself to save the day. That was always the end game,” Ross Duffer says.
However, realizing both how crucial the character is to the plot and the immense talent of Millie Bobby Brown, the Duf Bros (that’s what we call them, we’re tight) realized that if Stranger Things carries on, so will Eleven:
“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.”
As for Steve Harrington, while he was “just supposed to be this giant douchebag”, Joe Keery’s portrayal of the character and his ultra-meme-able hair ultimately swayed the writers to find a place for Steve Harrington, now everyone’s favorite supportive mother, in future seasons.
In hindsight and with Stranger Things 3 on the horizon, not killing off Eleven and Steve has proved to be a prudent decision, as it can be argued that they are two of the show’s three most popular characters (including Chief Hopper, of course).
Itching to go back to the Upside Down? Catch up with all of our ‘Stranger Things 3’ coverage ahead of the premiere.