“Stranger Things 3” was chock-full of explosive rats surprises. But one turn no one predicted was a sweet coming-out story.
And according to Maya Hawke, who portrayed Robin — the first character to verbalize their LGBTQ identity on the Netflix show — it happened in part because she spoke up.
Hawke told Variety and The Wall Street Journal in recent interviews that Robin and fan favorite Steve (Joe Keery) were originally supposed to become a couple. But Hawke felt that wasn’t the right direction for either of the characters.
“Throughout filming, we started to feel like she and [Steve] shouldn’t get together, and that she’s gay,” the actress told The Wall Street Journal. “Even when I go back and watch earlier episodes, it just seems like the most obvious decision ever.”
During Season 3, Steve and Robin bond while working banal summer jobs scooping ice cream and then discovering there’s a mysterious Russian lab located in the depths of their town’s new mall. Their chemistry is palpable, to say the least.
Steve eventually develops romantic feelings for Robin, and during a memorable scene in a movie theater bathroom, he confesses his affection — only to have Robin inform him that she’s gay. In response, a maturing Steve shows Robin love and acceptance, and a close platonic relationship is cemented between the two, making for one of the most interesting dynamics in the show’s third season.
Fans absolutely loved the compassion-filled curveball.
Hawke told Variety that showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer were pretty receptive to the idea, too, and that they worked together to create a new relationship between Robin and Steve.
“The Duffer brothers and I, and [executive producer] Shawn Levy, had a lot of conversations throughout shooting and it wasn’t really until we were shooting episode four and five, I think, that we made the final decision,” she said. “It was a collaborative conversation, and I’m really, really happy with the way that it went.”
Hawke added that she’s “so grateful” that fans responded well to her character and that she hopes Robin’s story can help people “fall in love with girls who love girls and boys who love boys.”