Stranger Things’ writers reveal two of season 4 volume II’s most emotional lines were improvised by Joseph Quinn and Caleb McLaughlin.
This article contains spoilers for Stranger Things season 4.
Two of the most emotional lines in Stranger Things season 4 volume II were improvised by Joseph Quinn and Caleb McLaughlin. The final two episodes of Netflix’s most-watched season of Stranger Things (or any English-language show) premiered just in time for a 4th of July weekend binge. “Chapter Eight: Papa” and “Chapter Nine: The Piggyback” wrapped up the penultimate season in a fashion similar to George Lucas’ The Empire Strikes Back, with big losses attached to emotional and memorable quotes.
Volume II’s two-hour and 19-minute finale sees Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Steve (Joe Keery), and Robin (Maya Hawke) head into the Upside Down to kill Vecna. Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Eddie (Quinn) distract his bat-like creatures with a rendition of Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’ and Max (Sadie Sink) acts as bait with Lucas (McLaughlin) by her side and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) helping from a far-away pizza place. On the other side of the world, Hopper (David Harbour), Joyce (Winona Ryder), and Murray (Brett Gelman) head back to Kamchatka’s prison to wipe out the Demogorgons, damage the hive mind, and buy their kids some time. Unfortunately, Eddie and Max sustain fatal injuries after sacrificing themselves to the bats and Vecna, respectively—which results in some of the series’ most devastating lines. While the episode was written by Ross and Matt Duffer, two of those lines were improvised by the actors.
The official account for Stranger Things’ writers’ room (@strangerwriters) recently shared a pair of posts revealing moments that were improvised by Quinn and McLaughlin. The first occurs as Eddie is dying in Dustin’s arms and says, “I think it’s my year, Henderson. I think it’s finally my year” before adding an “I love you man.” The second happens when Lucas desperately yells “Erica, help” after telling his sister to call an ambulance and begging Max to “hold on.” Check out the posts below:
A fan went on to ask the writers if Quinn also improvised Eddie’s line “don’t you, big boy?” to Steve in the camper van—to which the Duffers replied, “Yes.” They then made an additional post explaining how volume II’s kiss between Hopper and Joyce was something Harbour and Ryder added on the day, capitalizing on six years’ worth of romantic tension. Although Stranger Things is one of the best-written shows on television, its ensemble transcends the medium. Stranger Things continuously casts performers who elevate supporting players. Furthermore, the series’ regulars bring the best of themselves to characters they’ve embodied for years. While lines like “I love you man” and “Erica, help” won’t break any semantic barriers, the rawness of their delivery has broken the hearts of audiences around the world.
Stranger Things season 4 justifies its super-sized final episodes by doing right by its ensemble and giving everyone their moment—from Eddie and Dustin’s heart-wrenching goodbye to Lucas reassuring a dying Max. While Vecna/Henry/One succeeds in creating enough gates so the Upside Down can overwhelm Hawkins, Max’s body is brought back to life thanks to Eleven piggybacking abilities. Given that Eleven is seen alone in a void, Max’s consciousness appears to have been absorbed by the Upside Down’s big bad, who narrowly escaped Steve, Nancy, and Robin. It might be two years before Stranger Things‘ fifth and final season premieres on Netflix. It took nearly three for season 4 to arrive, and if its viewership records are any indication, it was worth the wait.
More: What Happened To Hawkins In Stranger Things Season 4, Volume 2
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