Thank Goodness Steve and Robin’s Story Didn’t Go as Originally Planned on Stranger Things
**Spoilers for Stranger Things 3 to follow.**
One of the most beloved elements of Stranger Things’ third season was the friendship that bloomed between Scoops Troop teammates Robin and Steve. However, their relationship almost went a very different way, and in the original outline for the season, they became a romantic couple, rather than having Robin come out to Steve and the pair remain friends.
“Throughout filming, we started to feel like she and [Steve] shouldn’t get together, and that she’s gay. Even when I go back and watch earlier episodes, it just seems like the most obvious decision ever,” Maya Hawke told the Wall Street Journal, as reported by MTV News.
In another interview with Variety, Hawke said, “The Duffer brothers and I, and Shawn Levy, had a lot of conversations throughout shooting and it wasn’t really until we were shooting episode four and five, I think, that we made the final decision. It was kind of a collaborative conversation, and I’m really, really happy with the way that it went.”
It’s for the best that Robin ultimately did not end up with Steve, and that she came out as a lesbian. Stranger Things was sorely lacking in LGBTQ representation, even though the show has teased that Will Byers might be gay. Having Robin come out, and having her story not just be the “gay storyline,” but rather, a simple fact of her character that doesn’t define her, is an important step for representation within the series and in general, and her popularity ensures she’ll be a major player for seasons to come.
It’s also a relief that she and Steve didn’t end up together overall. It would’ve been too much to have yet another “boy meets girl, girl is snarky towards boys, but inevitably, boy and girl end up together” story. We have enough heterosexual pairings on Stranger Things already—Joyce and Hopper, Mike and Eleven, Nancy and Jonathan—that we didn’t need yet another somewhat forced pairing. Steve has always been more interesting when he’s interacting with his friends than when he was Nancy’s boyfriend in season one.
Having Robin come out and having her relationship with Steve remain platonic turns the tropes on their heads. Usually, the eighties movies Stranger Things plays on feature the guy winning the girl over, but here, the guy and the girl remain friends, and their relationship remains rich because of it. Robin and Steve are so much more interesting as best friends then they would be as boyfriend and girlfriend.
Hawke also had a poignant statement about the importance of representation: “Sometimes we can have empathy for people on screen that we wouldn’t normally have empathy for in real life. 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.”
She’s right—representation and inclusion in media is a learning tool to gain empathy. Robin being a lesbian makes the world of Hawkins a little more inclusive, and it, in turn, encourages empathy in the viewers. If viewers can love Robin, they should be able to love actual queer women in their lives, as well.
Let’s hope Robin continues to grow and be as key and important to Stranger Things in the future as she was for season three. She’s a welcome breath of fresh air, and perhaps the standout of the third season. Long live the Scoops Troop!
(via MTV News, image: Netflix)
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