Stranger Things’ Joseph Quinn talks Eddie’s season 4 journey: "I’m delighted"
Exclusive: We caught up with the breakout star of Stranger Things 4 to break down the biggest moments his hard-rocking character faced in the final two episodes.
While Stranger Things 4 has plenty of fun new characters joining the fight against Vecna, there’s no doubt that one has captured fans’ heart more than any other – Joseph Quinn’s Eddie Munson, an anti-authoritarian rocker and Dungeons and Dragons expert who ends up in the frame for murder and on the run from Hawkins’ own gang of vigilantes.
Over the course of Stranger Things 4 fans were charmed by Eddie’s surprisingly warm heart, Quinn’s own charisma in the role (he rolled well on that one) as well as the character’s sweet relationship with protegé Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) – and after a seriously epic storyline for Eddie in the season’s final episodes, we decided it was high time we caught up with Quinn to see what he made of the fan reaction to all the drama.
Check our our exclusive chat below, but watch out – we’re delving straight into spoilers for Stranger Things 4’s final episodes from the start of this interview, so look away now if you’ve not caught up yet.
Still here? Then you’ll know we’re just about ready to pump Quinn for all the information we can about that epic guitar solo, sharing sad scenes with Dustin, his bromance with Joe Keery’s Steve and – of course – Eddie’s heroic last stand and death.
Prepare the tissues…
Hi Joseph – this must be a pretty big week for you, right?
I think it's a big week for all of us. It's just lovely to kind of get it out there. And we've been working on this season for a number of years now. It's nice for us to hand it over, nice that the fans will be able to kind of... get some closure.
Have you seen any of the any of the first reactions to the finale online?
No, I don't go anywhere near that.
Well, I'd say some people are very heartbroken. Some fans are in floods of tears about what happens to Eddie, which must be gratifying in a way.
I guess so. Yeah. I mean, we don't want to upset anyone! I didn't write it. I got a text from the Duffers a couple of weeks ago saying that they were bracing themselves for… something!
But I'm delighted that people have responded in the way that they have done to Eddie, so if they're missing him, then that's a lovely thing.
When the first seven episodes of Stranger Things 4 came out, Eddie became a breakout hit, in some ways to your surprise I think. When that happened, were you already thinking ahead about how they might react to his death?
I had no expectations. There's a lot of emotions in the show. People really care about the characters, and the fact that they’ve found space in their hearts for a new character, and also the character that I play, feels kind of surreal.
It feels very gratifying – but I think there's a great beginning, there's a great middle and a great end for the character. And as an actor you want characters with those kind of arcs.
So whilst it would have been great to come back for another season and get together with all those lovely people again, I think it was a brilliantly realised ending for a brilliantly written character.
Did you know how it was going to play out when you first signed on to play Eddie?
Well, I wasn't optioned. An option is when you're kind of asked to come back for numerous seasons. So I knew that I was only in one season.
But I thought there might be potential to come back if the character worked in that world. Joe Keery, I remember talking to him about it, he wasn't optioned in the first season, but they started writing more for him.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't have half an eye on maybe trying to crowbar my way back in! But no, I think they had a pretty clear idea of what they wanted to do for the end of the season. And the fact that I was able to be part of it is a real privilege.
When did they tell you how Eddie was going to die?
It was during the pandemic, they texted me and they said, like, ‘Can you play the guitar?’ I said, 'Yes'. And then that was about two months into the pandemic, and then a month later, they sent me the last script. And I was like 'Are you serious?' They were like, ‘Yeah.’ And I was like ‘Okay.’
So I went and bought a guitar and then practised manically for months until we ended up shooting the thing.
I was gonna ask if you really learned that guitar solo – is it all you?
It's mostly me. Yeah. I was kind of trying to be realistic with what I could do. I've been playing since I was a kid but I'm no virtuoso.
So I had most of the song down but for the solo we had to fly someone, a black belt metal guitarist to help with that. The rest of it? I had a stab at it, yeah.
We’ve had beloved characters die in Stranger Things before, but it feels like Eddie has a particularly epic exit. Like he says, it's the most metal concert ever. Was it nice to get that huge send-off for the character?
Absolutely it was. It was so thrilling to do on the day– me and Gaten [Matarazzo, who plays Dustin] were on top of the caravan in the middle of the Upside Down playing Metallica. It was great fun.
And also, I think the timing of it was brilliant. For the whole crew, it felt like the first time that people had been in a kind of live music situation since the pandemic, so it was a joyous celebration on the day. It's a fantastic conclusion to the character and yeah, I feel very very lucky.
If they did ask you return in some way would you come back?
Come onnnn. Obviously, yeah!
Maybe ghost Eddie could come back with ghost Barb.
Maybe! Yeah, I don't know, I was thinking… me and Joe Keery were discussing ways in which I could [come back]. Maybe I'd be a figment of Gaten's imagination or something like that, if there could be some room for something a bit supernatural.
But my suspicion is that Eddie has done what he needed to do for the Brothers.
Speaking of Gaten, there’s some very moving scenes between you two in these last episodes. What were those like to film?
Well, I've waxed lyrically about that boy in various interviews, and I never get bored of it really. He is an extraordinarily talented young man. I think he has grown so much during the filming of all of these seasons, and especially this season. His playfulness, his timing… and in this season, we get to see his depth, the depth of his humanity.
He's just extraordinary. And being near that, especially in someone so young is a really thrilling thing. I had so much fun getting into that stuff with him. I'm so excited to see what he's going to do with his career.
There was also a lot of love for Eddie and Steve's bromance. Some even wanted it to be a romance. I don't know if you saw any of that online. Did you?
Yeah, well, all I can say is... how did they know?
It’s all subtext.
Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, just… people can dream, I guess. I dunno! I don't really know what to say to that.
I guess in another world, maybe that would have played out in Stranger Things 5.
Maybe! Maybe, maybe, maybe? Yeah.
Eddie has that big exit, and then there’s this coda where Dustin tells his uncle what really happened, despite the town still hating him. Would you like to see Eddie’s name cleared in season five?
I think that would be satisfying for the audience. I think Eddie made the ultimate sacrifice for a town that thought he was a monster, which is a level of heroism that's kind of hard to comprehend.
So I think it would be nice for him to have his name cleared. But as I said, I'm not allowed in the writers' room, so we'll see what the grown-ups think.
You've joined the ranks of these untimely fan-favourite deaths in Stranger Things – Barb in season one, Bob in season two, Alexei last time. Now, Eddie! Are you happy to continue that tradition of breaking fans hearts?
I don't know about breaking fans' hearts! I feel incredibly honoured to be a part of a show that has a fanbase as devoted as this one.
It comes around once in a career really, or kind of once in a generation, but it’s something that touches so many people's hearts of all different generations. It's a very rare thing to be a part of it. I just feel extremely lucky.
And to any fans mourning, do you have any words of comfort?
Hey, well – thank you, for having Eddie while he was here.
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