Spoiler Alert: This article contains mild spoilers about Stranger Things 2.
Stranger Things 2 was full of surprises, but one of the biggest revelations was that Steve Harrington is not a complete tool. One year after Joe Keery debuted his big-haired, high school bully character on Stranger Things, fans have had a change of heart about Steve—and it started with the Duffer Brothers’ change in attitude about the character. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Stranger Things executive producer Shawn Levy said the character’s evolution came from a place of not wanting Joe Keery “to play the sad sack beat for nine episodes.”
While the first season of Stranger Things had Joe Keery’s character veering towards maturity by season’s end, it was the second season of the Netflix hit that solidified Steve Harrington as a good guy with an unexpected wingman.
“We love Joe,” Stranger Things creator Ross Duffer told THR of the actor.
“We fell in love with him during the making of season one, which is why we ended up writing that arc for him…Steve was supposed to be this jocky douche bag, and Joe was so much more than that. We knew moving into season two we really wanted to utilize him, but we didn’t actually know how to do it — especially once Nancy moves on. We didn’t know quite what to do with him.”
Surprisingly, Steve Harrington’s storyline took an unexpected turn midway through the writing process for Stranger Things 2, with Levy admitting writers didn’t anticipate the change for the character. Stranger Things 2 creators Ross and Matt Duffer ultimately changed the game plan for episodes five through nine.
Stranger Things 2 fans were surprised when high school senior Steve and middle schooler Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo) teamed up to track rogue “pollywog,” Dart. Midway through the scripts, producers decided to rethink their writing timeline and pair the odd couple, who were both suffering heartbreaks due to separate love triangles.
“It was very much in the middle of the season — we’re talking about months into the writing — that we decided to put these two characters together,” Duffer told THR, before adding the unexpected bromance became a highlight of the season.
Joe Keery told Esquire that while he barely crossed paths with him in Season 1, his favorite scenes to film were the Stranger Things 2 scenes with Gaten Matarazzo and their characters’ unlikely friendship.
“The characters kind of come together because they’re both kind of left in the dust,” Keery said.
“They find what they need in each other. It ends up helping both of them and they learn from it.”
Joey Keery said the catalyst for the change in his character is the fact that him and his ex, Nancy (Natalie Dyer) dealt with the aftermath of the events from Season 1 in a different way. As for Steve’s “action hero” stunts in the Stranger Things 2 junkyard scene, Keery told Entertainment Weekly filming it was like a dream, and some of it was even ad-libbed.
Keery also teased that for Stranger Things Season 3, he’s not exactly sure where his character will land. It sounds like even more changes could be in store for the ever-changing Steve.
“Obviously, he’s going to have trouble getting into college,” Joe told Esquire. “Who knows if he’ll even get in. His entire social climate has changed. The friends that he had—he doesn’t really have them anymore. He’s really kind of in this limbo, and he could go a ton of different ways. The Duffer Brothers and I have discussed a few things, but I’ll keep those secret in case any of those actually happen.”
Take a look at Joe Keery and Gaten Matarazzo as unlikely pals Steve and Dustin in the Stranger Things 2 scene below.
[Featured Image by Netflix]