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Stranger Things' Maya Hawke hopes Robin fandom translates to real-life empathy
Maya Hawke’s Robin was the breakout sensation of Stranger Things’ third season. The sassy, fun foil to and Scoops Ahoy! co-worker of Steve Harrington, Robin won fans over with her humor, brains, and outfits — not to mention the season’s best-acted scene, in which she comes out as a lesbian to Steve while both are under the effects of a Russian truth serum. Now Hawke has had some time to see the fan reaction to her performance — and has some thoughts on where it could lead.
Speaking with Variety, Hawke explained how the response to Robin, and the character’s queerness, could help inspire acceptance among those that may previously have felt less than positive about LGBTQ+ people.
“Sometimes we can have empathy for people on screen that we wouldn’t normally have empathy for in real life,” Hawke said. “If I can hope for anything it’s that maybe some people fell in love with Robin and that helped them fall in love with girls who love girls and boys who love boys.”
While Hawke “wanted people to love” Robin, she knew that introducing a new character into the main cast three seasons in was always a tricky proposition — especially when that character has such an involved emotional arc. She said that while “it’s very rare that it’s received that well,” she’s “so grateful that people fell in love with Robin the way that I did.”
The actress also revealed that the coming-out scene wasn’t fully finalized until midway through the season. “It wasn’t until we were shooting episodes four and five that we made the final decision,” she said. “It was kind of a collaborative conversation and I’m really happy with how it went.” And while she’s the first to admit that she’s not active on social media, Hawke emphasized how important is was to her that queer youths had a relatable character on one of the most popular shows in America.
Stranger Things 3 is available on Netflix now.