Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Stranger Things Season 4.Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer (The Duffer Brothers) responded to star Millie Bobby Brown‘s early criticism regarding the series’ low stakes. Talking about Season 4 of Netflix’s hit series on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, the Duffer Brothers revealed they were aware of Brown’s comments, and they didn’t sound too happy about it.
At the time of Stranger Things Season 4’s premiere on Netflix, by the end of last May, Brown talked with The Wrap about the series’ low stakes. As Brown pointed out at the time, the core cast of Stranger Things seems untouchable by Vecna and his army of monsters, making everything less dramatic. As Brown jokingly explained it:
“Last night [at the premiere], we couldn’t even take one group picture because there were like 50 of us. I was like, ‘You need to start killing people off.’ The Duffer brothers are two sensitive Sallies that don’t want to kill anyone off. We need to be ‘Game of Thrones.”
While we could argue that Stranger Things doesn’t need a Red Wedding, Brown’s complaints reflect something long-term fans of the show have been thinking for a while. Season 4, in particular, has put the core cast of Stranger Things face to face with some of the series’ most scary monsters ever. And at the end of the day, everyone got out alive. Sure, the best new side character for Season 4 met a gruesome end, and one of the core children of the series didn’t get out unscathed. Even so, if we are always sure the heroes will survive every encounter with the forces of evil, the story does lose a bit of its dramatic weight.
The Duffer Brothers don’t quite agree with the criticism, though, and they didn’t sound too amused with Brown’s comment. As Matt Duffer said in the podcast:
“What did Millie call us? She said we were ‘sensitive Sallies.’ She’s hilarious. Believe us, we’ve explored all options in the writing room. Just as a complete hypothetical, if you kill Mike, that’s depressing. We aren’t ‘Game of Thrones.’ This is Hawkins, it’s not Westeros. The show becomes not ‘Stranger Things’ anymore because you do have to treat it realistically, right?”
Matt Duffer then explained in length how Barb’s (Shannon Purser) death affected everyone in the first season. But that might not have been the best example. So far, Stranger Things has featured many casualties, but the victims are often supporting characters that don’t last more than a single season. However, since Season 5 is not yet written, things could change in the near future since Matt Duffer says more deaths are “on the table.” The creator ends his thought on a bitter note by saying:
“This is me basically defending myself against these Millie Bobby Brown accusations and explaining that there are lives behind it, and it’s nothing to do with my sensitivity. So there you go, Millie.”
We wouldn’t call Brown’s comments an “accusation.” But maybe the public discussion does lead to some higher stakes in Season 5. And who knows, after this comment, perhaps the Duffer Brothers will even think about offing Brown’s Eleven.
Season 4 of Stranger Things is available on Netflix right now. While we wait for Season 5, check out our latest video about why THAT character had to die this season: