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You can’t talk about Stranger Things’ third season without mentioning its best newcomer, Robin (Maya Hawke). The new teen at the mall had a much bigger role to play in Season 3 than simply being someone for the main cast to work alongside or have a crush on. Hawke's role became one of the show's best and gave her moments that made her an immediate fan favorite — including one storyline that was planned from the very beginning.
** This highly classified article contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 3! Turn back now if you haven't watched it yet. **
In the sideways world of Hawkins, Indiana, Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer brought everything an ‘80s nostalgic could want: New Coke, neon, absurd fashion and hair, and Dungeons & Dragons. But why was it so straight? The ‘80s certainly had its share of homophobia that Indiana was right in the heart of — and, with Indiana native Ryan White as the poster child for understanding and destigmatizing AIDS, the state was certainly a hotbed of LGBTQ discussion. But the show lacked any LGBTQ characters.
The Duffer brothers knew that Stranger Things 3 was going to change all that thanks to Robin: The Hawkins newcomer, a lesbian, is the show's first LGBTQ character and gets a long and emotional scene in which she wins all of our hearts.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Hawke explained that the coming-out scene was definitely going to happen, it was just a matter of when. “We were talking about it throughout [shooting],” Hawke said. “It wasn’t definitive. It was a kind of discussion between myself and the writers’ room and the Duffer brothers and [executive producer] Shawn [Levy]. We were trying to find what was right for Robin and right for the journey and right for the show. But that ended up being my favorite scene to film.”
The scene, in "Chapter Seven: The Bite,” ended up being between Robin and her friend/co-worker Steve Harrington (Joe Keery). Both are drugged-up on the good stuff (Russian truth serum) from the previous episode and having a heart-to-heart, in which she explains how she was actually obsessing over a girl ... who was obsessing over Steve. And fans loved it.
“I think that to have that scene [set] in the ’80s, and to have that scene on TV in general, I feel really honored to have got to be a part of it,” Hawke said, “and I’m really grateful that the Duffer brothers wrote it.” That scene is also set in the middle of an action-packed episode, as Hawke points out to The Hollywood Reporter, which all comes to a halt in order for these two friends to have a discussion with equal stakes.
“That’s what’s fun about TV: You can put on the brakes for a second and explore these characters and miss all this other blockbuster action playing out,” Ross Duffer told EW. “Maya and Joe spent a long time rehearsing it, not with us,” Matt Duffer noted. "And then they came and delivered.” In fact, they didn’t cut any of Hawke’s dialogue — not a line.
Also speaking to EW, Keery said that Maya “was the first to come in" to read with him for the role of Robin, “and it was just pretty clear immediately that there was chemistry.” The actor confirmed that the coming-out was a plan from the very beginning stages. “That was something I had heard about earlier on,” Keery said. “But man, that scene might be one of my favorites of the entire season to shoot, just because they handled shooting it with such tenderness.”
The popular jerk becomes a nice guy while the outcast becomes accepted, all during the same conversation. And for the future of the show, Hawke hopes that the character gets as much development as Steve: “I hope Robin gets more and more comfortable in her own skin."
Fans are hoping for the same thing, as the outpouring of affection for Robin was immediate and has continued long since the show's premiere:
Stranger Things 3 is streamable now.