Like the first three seasons of the Netflix series, Stranger Things 4introduced a new character that stole the hearts of fans. This time, it didn’t take long for audiences to fall in love with Eddie, an older high school student who finds himself the suspect in Hawkins’ mysterious murder cases. And like Barb (Shannon Purser), Bob (Sean Astin) and Alexei (Alec Utgoff) before him, fans were devastated when Eddie, played by Joseph Quinn, was killed off before the end of the latest epic season.
Of the intense fandom and reactions to his character, Quinn tells ET's Will Marfuggi, “It’s a completely overwhelming feeling... It’s so lovely, like, the devotion that fans have for this show and how they’ve found space in their heart for a new character… It’s just so heartwarming.”
Prior to the Duffer Brothers series, the 29 year-old British actor previously appeared on HBO’s Game of Thrones and Catherine the Great. While he’s been on big shows before, Quinn previously described the experience of joining Stranger Things as “daunting.” Though, something that he was completely “grateful” for.
“It’s incredibly gratifying,” Quinn says now, reflecting on the massive season that was filmed and produced during the pandemic. “This season, the scale of it is enormous. And then the ambition is kind of ridiculous. So, there was no way that it couldn’t be this kind of mammoth process. And, you know, everyone worked so hard on it.”
“But the fact we put it out there and it’s been so well received and, obviously, personally, like, for the character that I played, for people to be so welcoming, it feels like a big exhale,” he continues.
First introduced as the leader of the school’s Dungeons and Dragons club and a heavy metal fan, it’s not surprising that the more popular kids stereotype him as a burnout responsible for Chrissy’s (Grace Van Dien) death. Realizing he’s innocent, however, the gang helps protect Eddie from Jason (Mason Dye) and others before Eddie eventually teams up with Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Steve (Joe Keery), Robin (Maya Hawke) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and the rest of Hawkins' heroes as they take on Vecna and the Upside Down.
In the finale, sadly, Eddie’s time on the series is cut short when he and Dustin find themselves surrounded by demobats. In an effort to save Dusin -- as well as the others -- Eddie sacrifices himself as he takes on the creatures, fighting back with an epic Metallica guitar solo. The evils of the Upside Down prove to be too powerful, leaving the D&D master dying on the ground.
“I didn’t run this time, right?” Eddie says before succumbing to his injuries. Later, Dustin tells Eddie’s uncle, who continues to proclaim his nephew’s innocence, that he died a hero.
While fans were crushed by Eddie’s heroic death, Quinn says it couldn’t have happened any other way. “It feels like the perfect crescendo to this kind of crazy sequence,” he says of the way things played out in the finale. “The inventiveness to come up with that and the bravery to put it in is kind of, it’s well done by the Duffer Brothers.”
Luckily for the actor, he knew how to play the guitar, so when it came to that Metallica moment, Quinn was able to make it look believable on screen. “I’ve played guitar since I was quite young. So, I had the foundations to take most of it,” he shares. “But yeah, it’s great fun. Who wouldn’t wanna kind of be a rockstar for an afternoon?”
As for Dustin’s scene with Eddie’s uncle, Quinn says “it’s so beautiful.”
“I think that they both did that scene so delicately and it was gorgeous,” he says of his co-stars. “The pill that people are kind of finding hard to swallow is the fact that people don’t know that he dies a hero. He dies a villain and I think the kind of tenderness in the fact that Eddie’s uncle knows that he wasn’t that person is very touching.”
Although Quinn’s time on the series is over, he’s come out of it with great experiences and a newfound family. “They’re really nice people, and it was everything that you’d expect,” he said of his new co-stars. “It’s a good thing to go somewhere strange with a bunch of strangers and then leave that place with really dear friends.”