One of the most delightful cast additions to this season of Stranger Things was the character of Robin (Maya Hawke), Steve Harrington’s co-worker at the Scoops Ahoy ice cream shop. Towards the end of the season, Robin reveals to Steve (Joe Keery) that she’s a lesbian, in a scene echoing Molly Ringwald’s revelation of her crush on the high school heartthrob in Sixteen Candles. But instead of revealing her crush was Steve Harrington (as he expected), she tells him it was with another girl in class. But according to a report in the Wall Street Journal (via io9), Robin being LGBTQ was a late addition.
It turns out that series creators the Duffer Brothers didn’t have this character reveal in mind when they started work on the season. As probably much of the audience expected when Robin was introduced, she was originally meant to get together with Steve. After Nancy dumped him, Steve was left without a love interest. So the audience expectation was the cool new girl in his life would automatically jump in his arms. But when the actors realized the energy between them was more friendly than romantic, Maya Hawke suggested they just bite the bullet and reveal that Robin is gay.
Hawke said, “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”. It will be interesting to see how the show deals with this reveal moving into season four. Remember, this is 1985 Indiana. Attitudes were very different then in the American Midwest, and expecting all the people of Hawkins to be totally cool with Robin being LGBTQ seems like a bit of a stretch.
And it also remains to be seen if she’s the only LGBTQ character on the series. Will Byers has been hinted as gay as far back as season one’s first episode. But again, given the time period the show is set it, it seems unlikely a 15 year-old Will would ever come out till after high school. But not to be too punny about, stranger things have happened.