Should ‘Stranger Things’ Start Killing Off Characters?

Hopper. Joyce. Eleven. Mike. Will. Lucas. Max. Dustin. Nancy. Jonathan. Steve. Robin. Erica. Can you spare any of the Stranger Things cast? Who would you pick to die? Millie Bobby Brown thinks that some of them need to go.

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Now that Season 4 of Stranger Things is out on Netflix and fans have finished – or maybe not finished – crying over the finale and the tragic deaths, we have time to analyze the ending of the season. Star of Stranger Things, Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Jane / Eleven, declares that Stranger Things should be more like Game of Thrones in getting rid of characters.

Stranger Things is not shy of killing off characters, but it does what a lot of shows do – kill of recurring or ‘main’ characters who are not ‘permanent’ additions to the main cast. The core cast of heroes have all survived and while some have died – Martin Brenner, Bob Newby, Sam Owens, Billy Hargrove, Eddie Munson and Barb, Nancy’s friend – the primary cast have all lived. The characters who have died are either antagonists or characters who have enough influence to impact the surviving characters, but are not main enough on their own.


In that regard, Millie Bobby Brown thinks that Stranger Things should be more like Game of Thrones, which has no qualms about killing off main characters. In an interview, she declared:

“Last night [at the season 4 premiere], we couldn’t even take one group picture because there were like 50 of us. I was like, ‘You need to start killing people off.’ The Duffer brothers are two sensitive Sallies that don’t want to kill anyone off. We need to be Game of Thrones.” 

One can assume that Brown was referring to some of the core main cast which includes herself, Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Noah Schnapp, Joe Keery, Sadie Sink, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson and Brett Gelman. The first eight have been in the main cast since the first season. The others joined them throughout the subsequent seasons.

However, Stranger Things co-creator Matt Duffer defended the show on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, saying that they’d understood Brown’s criticism, but were standing by their decisions.

He declared:

“What did Millie call us? She said we were ‘sensitive Sallies.’ She’s hilarious. Believe us, we’ve explored all options in the writing room. Just as a complete hypothetical, if you kill Mike, that’s depressing. We aren’t Game of Thrones. This is Hawkins, it’s not Westeros. The show becomes not Stranger Things anymore because you do have to treat it realistically, right?”


A lot of the characters are romantically involved with each other – Mike and Eleven (since Season 1), Hopper and Joyce (officially since Season 4), Nancy and Jonathan (since Season 2), Nancy and Steve (Season 1, with the potential to resume in Season 5…?), Lucas and Max (since Season 2) and it is heavily implied that Will has unrequited romantic feelings for Mike, despite the latter’s complete obliviousness.

Additionally, a lot of the characters are biologically related – Nancy and Mike are siblings, as are Lucas and Erica, while Joyce is the mother of both Jonathan and Will, and unofficially adopted Eleven. Hopper also adopted Eleven, to the point that she describes him as her hero. Mike, Will, Lucas and Dustin are all best friends and have been since youth. Steve and Robin also have a very close friendship.


It is clear that killing even one character would have serious repercussions for the ones left behind. To quote Duffer, it would be depressing to kill off a main character. But then again, it is also realistic to kill off main characters. If all the main characters survive, the story loses logic.

In the Season 3 finale, the show faked Hopper’s death, only to reveal that he had actually survived. With Season 4 ending with Max in a coma, possibly blind and with many limbs broken, it is clear that she is hanging on by a thread. But given the rate that Stranger Things is going, it appears that she’ll survive as well.

What theories do you have about the fifth and final season of Stranger Things? With the Duffer Brothers claiming that they are going to go in a complete circle and that Will will play a big role in the last season, does that mean he is on the chopping block? Seeing as El’s powers come from the Upside Down, does that put her in more jeopardy than anyone else? Will Max survive?

If Millie Bobby Brown has her way, there would undoubtedly be casualties in the final season, but we will not know that till the season airs, which will likely be in 2024 at the earliest. Until we can watch that fifth and final season, check out our recommendations for what books to read if you loved Stranger Things!