Not every character killed off in Stranger Things deserved to die as soon as they did. Some characters offer so much potential that viewers hope to see them with a longer arc. While the show has a lot of strengths, not every Stranger Things character introduced sticks around long enough to live up to their full potential.
Stranger Things introduces many characters each season, and even the show’s creators admit to killing off some of the new characters too soon. While some of these characters got some great moments, it would have been worth keeping them around to let them have a greater impact on the story and see them in some different settings. Here are the five Stranger Things characters that were killed off too soon, and the show wasted their potential.
Alexei (Alec Utgoff) was introduced in Stranger Things season 3 as the enemy, but he was killed later in the same season as one of the good guys. Viewers were drawn to Alexei as a character because he wasn’t too proud to admit that he needed to change sides to stay alive. Ultimately, giving up his position with the Soviets for the Americans didn’t pay off for him, but he was casual about it.
Alexei’s Stranger Things arc was far too short for several reasons. First, Alexei’s joy for the littlest things in life was contagious. He lived in the moment and brought joy to his new friends. Second, his scientific mind had the potential to prove useful to the Americans as the seasons progressed. He could have given them insight and knowledge into the Upside Down. Finally, Alexei and Murray’s friendship had the potential to grow into something lovely had Alexei not died alone while Murray sought help.
4. Chrissy Cunningham
Chrissy Cunningham (Grace Van Dien) first appeared in Stranger Things season 4 episode 1, and the character was killed in the same episode. Chrissy was down-to-earth and likable, and it seemed like she would be around for the long haul based on how much time, focus, and story was given to the teenager in one episode. Her death came as a shock, but keeping Chrissy on Stranger Things season 4 for at least a few more episodes would have had a lot more impact.
Her death came too soon in that it was sad, but it wasn’t the heartbreaking death that it might have been had she been around longer. Chrissy Cunningham was a character who, if she’d had a longer arc, could have changed the impact of not only her own death but also the death of Billy. Given that Chrissy’s death was the precursor to Billy’s death, a longer arc could have strengthened the emotional impact of both deaths. The character was given entirely too much depth for such a short arc.
3. Bob Newby
Stranger Things season 2 introduced Bob (Sean Astin) as Joyce Byer’s (Winona Ryder) boyfriend. Viewers felt that his death happened much too soon, but the show creator’s original plan was to kill him off even sooner. Bob’s likability is what kept the show creators from killing him in Stranger Things season 2 episode 3, but the character still did not make it out of season 2 alive.
Bob Newby’s character had long-term potential. Bob was the kind of guy who put everyone else before himself. Had his character not died so soon, there is a chance his selfless nature could have changed the game in Stranger Things season 4. The way Bob was willing to sacrifice his life for everyone else could have saved Hawkins from greater devastation in season 4.
2. Barbara Holland
Barb (Shannon Purser) was a supporting character in Stranger Things season 1. Barb’s personality was on the low-key side. Her loyalty to her best friend, Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), killed her. Viewers resonated with Barb because so much of what the character went through on television – minus the supernatural death – is similar to what many teens go through in the real world. Barb’s friend’s popularity grew, and Barb was an unwitting accomplice. She was the nerdy friend of the popular girl, and it put her in an awkward situation more than once.
Barb was not interested in being part of the cool crowd, but her best friend Nancy was. Barb didn’t want to lose her friend, but her friend’s rise to popularity in high school indirectly caused her friend’s demise. It is the age-old tale of a teen who ends up in a terrible situation trying to maintain a friendship that’s ultimately floundering. Viewers were shocked by Barb’s death. The character had the opportunity to change the course of Nancy’s life had she been given the opportunity to stick around for a few more seasons. It’s possible that keeping Barb around could have prevented many of the unfortunate events Nancy continued to go through.
1. Eddie Munson
Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) was introduced in Stranger Things season 4 and was taken out in the very same season. Munson is the kind of teenage boy that the average teenager relates to. He leans toward loud and obnoxious when he’s in a group, but Joseph Quinn’s Eddie is deceptively deep and introspective when he’s on his own. The character was self-effacing to a fault, and he regularly put the people he was closest to at the top of his priority list.
Stranger Things viewers related heavily to Eddie Munson, and the proof is in the fan clubs, accounts, and hashtags found on the internet with calls for Stranger Things to bring back Eddie. Eddie’s influence extended well beyond his on-screen friends. The character was the epitome of self-assurance, even though he sometimes felt like an outcast. Munson showed viewers that feeling like an outcast is something everyone goes through, even though they might be cool or likable, and that when people find the right friends, they no longer feel like an outcast. This character had a lot to teach everyone, and he had the potential to stick around and continue to teach these lessons through a character beloved by many.