Thanks to actor Joe Keery’s outstanding performance, Steve Harrington has established himself as a recurring character on the popular “Stranger Things” Netflix series. Keery, however, went above and beyond for the part that the Duffer brothers, who created the show, decided to lengthen the part and turn what was supposed to be a minor antagonist into one of the most endearing essential characters in the show.
The first season of “Stranger Things” introduces Steve as Nancy Wheeler’s annoying and arrogant boyfriend (Natalia Dyer). Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), who gets into difficulty when mystical creatures resembling those from his Dungeons & Dragons game start to threaten the real world, has an elder sister named Nancy. Together with Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton), the older brother of Mike’s friend Will, Nancy works to solve paranormal mysteries with her younger brother and his pals (Noah Schnapp). Although Keery turned out to have greater staying power than the Duffers had anticipated, Nancy and Jonathan were initially intended to represent the senior opposites to the younger cast members.
The casting drove the narrative
Ross Duffer stated during Netflix Geeked Week that Keery’s character was “intended to die in the finale” of the first season, while his brother isn’t so sure. Due to the nature of his character, Keery himself predicted that he would pass very early on in the series. The actor told GQ, “I played the douchey sort of boyfriend, which is the first guy to die. Although Ross acknowledges that “it’s been a while” since they were scripting the first season, he is very positive about Steve’s initial ending (via Netflix). Instead, Steve Harrington makes a complete 180-degree turn and joins Jonathan and Nancy in fighting the demogorgon, proving himself to be an unlikely hero.
According to Matt Duffer, Lonnie Byers, the father of Jonathan, was originally intended to appear in this scene. Keery’s tremendous appeal and depth were the driving forces behind this last-minute decision to change the course of the first season’s ending. During the first season’s production, the writers “fell in love” with Keery, which led them to change the course of his story to one with a happy conclusion.
Ross Duffer told The Hollywood Reporter, “Steve was meant to be this jock douchebag, and Joe was so much more than that.” The Duffers discovered a completely new character in Keery where they had originally created a flat and stereotypical one.
Keery was too charismatic to kill off
After Keery broke up with Nancy, the writers and directors of “Stranger Things” intended to “utilise” him but “didn’t know just what to do with him.” Executive producer of the show Shawn Levy said, “The plot of Steve Harrington in the second part of season 2 was absolutely unforeseen in the blueprints for this season. Levy was pleased to make the changes because he loves Steve so much. Levy said to TVLine, “The day Steve Harrington passes away is the day I leave this show.”
Steve “shouldn’t be a lead in season 4,” according to Matt Duffer of “Stranger Things,” but Keery inspired them to completely rework the character and the entire show in order to better accommodate him (via Netflix). The actor is immensely endearing and contributes moments of humour and heartfelt honesty to the progressively gloomy story. A show that examines science fiction and fantasy needs to be grounded in reality, and Keery does just that.
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