[SPOILERS for Stranger Things 2 ahead.]
It turns out that Bob's (Sean Astin) death on Stranger Things 2 was originally going to be much darker and more shocking. Stranger Things is without a doubt one of the most popular Netflix original shows the streaming service has ever produced. With its second season, viewers were brought back into the strange world of Hawkins, Indiana and caught up with the adventures of their favorite characters all over again, with some new faces thrown into the mix across nine compelling episodes. One of those episodes broke the hearts of the millions watching however, when fans saw one particular character killed off in gruesome fashion.
Though Bob was always intended to die, Sean Astin’s performance in the role resulted in his character being kept around for much longer during season 2 than was originally planned. Serving as the love interest for Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), he quickly worked his way into the hearts of everybody who met him in Hawkins, as well as those watching the show at home. Unfortunately, after serving as a hero for characters who ended up stuck in Hawkins Lab, he would become the next meal for the forever-hungry Demo-Dogs that had found their way out of the Upside Down and invaded the town.
In an interview with Collider, Stranger Things executive producer and director Shawn Levy revealed how Bob was originally going to die. While his death on the series was a violent one, it could have been much, much darker:
“[Killing a main character] was never on the table. We had talked about the death of some major characters, that may or may not happen in the future near or far. But that was never part of the discussion for Season 2. The death of Bob was initially much earlier. In fact, in an early outline, Evil Will [killed] him in like Episode 3.”
Exactly how Will would have gotten rid of his mother’s love interest wasn’t revealed, but Levy went on to reveal that “Will just straight-up murders Bob in that car,” when Bob is dishing out advice on how to deal with nightmares.
Though he was always going to die, it’s clear that Astin’s performance as Bob is something that not only earned him more time on the series, but allowed the viewing public to really invest in his character and become attached. We’re also not sure how Will murdering Bob in episode 3 would have worked in the grand scheme of things, as the Smoke Monster aka. the Mind Flayer hadn’t yet ‘fused’ with Will by that point in the show (at least, the version that ended up onscreen).
Whilst it certainly would have been interesting to see ‘Evil Will’ unveiled so early on in Stranger Things 2, and to see how his family and friends would have dealt with the ramifications of that, the slow burn on just how nasty he could become after his possession seems to have been the best direction for the show to take. When Will lured a bunch of scientists at Hawkins Lab to their graves, it was a moment that viewers were allowed to work out and discover along with the characters; an effective group of scenes that wouldn’t have felt the same with an ‘Evil Will’ reveal in episode 3.
Stranger Things seasons 1-2 are available now on Netflix.