Stranger Things star Gaten Matarazzo has a very morbid request when it comes to the show’s fifth and final season.
“It might sound messed up, but we should kill more people,” Matarazzo, 21, shared during a recent MegaCon Orlando panel, according to CBR. “This show would be so much better if the stakes were much higher, like at any moment any of these kids can kick it. I feel like we’re all too safe.”
Matarazzo has starred on the Netflix hit as Dustin Henderson since its premiere in 2016. The first four seasons follow Dustin and his friends through 1980s Indiana as they discover a hostile alternate dimension known as the Upside Down, endless supernatural forces and secret government exploits.
Season 4 premiered in two installments in May 2022 and widened the show’s scope with the introduction of supervillain Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower). Despite Matarazzo’s demands for more violence, the season saw a slew of bloodshed that left one of Dustin’s best friends Max (Sadie Sink) in a coma, while another, Eddie (Joseph Quinn), was brutally mauled to death by Demobats.
Eddie isn’t the first character to be killed off the series. Barb, played by Shannon Purser, met her demise via Demagorgon in season 1, resulting in a “Justice for Barb” campaign online. Season 2 saw matriarch Joyce’s boyfriend, Bob (Sean Astin), get eaten alive by Demodogs, while resident bad boy Billy (Dacre Montgomery) sacrificed himself in season 3 to save his sister, Max. David Harbour’s Jim Hopper even seemingly died at the end of season 3 only to be brought back for a surprise return in season 4.
Still, Matarazzo isn’t the only Stranger Things star who believes creators Ross and Matt Duffer have held back when it comes to killing off their increasingly large cast. Millie Bobby Brown, who portrays Eleven on the sci-fi series, called the brothers “two sensitive Sallies that don’t want to kill anyone off” during a May 2022 interview with The Wrap.
“We need to have the mindset of Game of Thrones,” she added. “Kill me off! They tried killing David off and they brought him back!”
The Duffers, however, disagree. Opening up about their choices during a 2023 episode of the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast, the siblings shared how the need to push the story forward — and keep the characters grounded — stops them from offing their major players.
“Believe us, we’ve explored all options in the writing room,” they explained. “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.”
That said, the Duffers noted that there are more deaths “on the table” for season 5, which will be the show’s final installment. Production officially kicked off last month after initially being put on hold in May 2023 amid the dual WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Now that filming has begun, the cast and crew are working in overdrive to deliver Stranger Things’ last chapter to fans.
“I feel like a horse getting ready and the gates are about to open, there’s all of this drive and all this passion to do it,” Harbour, 48, told The Hollywood Reporter in a November 2023 interview. “We have a while to shoot and to edit but we’re going to work as hard and as fast as we possibly can to get it to people because I know they love the show as much as we do, and I can’t wait for them to see what’s up next, it’s really exciting stuff. The scripts are great.”
Three months prior, Harbour teased that he knows what the end of the series will bring, hinting on a “Happy Sad Confused” episode that it will be a very “moving” goodbye for the monster-fighting crew. He also suggested that season 5 won’t pick up directly after the events of season 4, which saw the gang reeling as the Upside Down began to take over the town of Hawkins.
“After where season 4 ended — when you watch us on that hill looking at the ash and the smoke fires — we’re going to start somewhere after that,” he explained. “So you’ve gotta imagine the world is a different place.”