The world was almost deprived of Punk Eleven and Babysitter Steve in Stranger Things season 2, according to an official tie-in book, which reveals that both characters were originally supposed be killed off in season 1. The 1980s-set sci-fi show debuted on Netflix in 2016 and quickly became one of the platform's most talked-about shows, with a second season arriving in 2017 and season 3 set for release in summer 2019.
At the center of Stranger Things' story is Eleven, a girl with powerful psychic abilities whom scientists had been using in experiments related to another dimension - the Upside-Down. Season 1 ended with Eleven facing off against one of the Upside-Down's most terrifying denizens: a beast called the Demogorgon. At first it seemed that Eleven had sacrificed her own life in order to take out the Demogorgon, and apparently that was the original plan.
Per Heroic Hollywood, the official tie-in book Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down includes an intriguing outline of the original plan for the show from co-creator Ross Duffer. Stranger Things was originally conceived as a miniseries, so early versions of the story were designed to offer finality - including the death of Eleven:
"Eleven was going to sacrifice herself to save the day. That was always the end game. But once we realised that the show was potentially going to go on longer than one season, we needed to leave it more up in the air, because deep down we knew the show just wouldn’t really work without Eleven. And at that point, we knew how special Millie was. If there was going to be more Stranger Things, Eleven had to come back."
Steve Harrington's arc from a blowhard and bully in season 1 to "Dad Steve" - a role model and protector (well, sort of) for the group of younger kids - in season 2 was one of the most highly-praised elements of Stranger Things' sophomore outing. But Duffer says that Steve was originally supposed to be the kind of character who could be killed off without causing the audience to shed too many tears: "This Steve character, he was just supposed to be this giant douchebag."
Stranger Things season 3 is currently filming and expected to wrap production in November. A promo video for the upcoming season hilariously revealed Steve's new job at Scoops Ahoy, an ice-cream parlor in Hawkins' brand new Starcourt Mall. Meanwhile, Eleven and the other the younger kids are going through the "final summer of their childhood" - a summer that will be complicated by the return of the terrifying Mind Flayer. It looks like Steve's babysitting skills may get called upon again, so it's just as well that neither he nor Eleven were actually killed off in season 1.
Stranger Things season 3 will premiere in summer 2019.
Source: Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down (via Heroic Hollywood)