‘Stranger Things’ Almost Killed Off Max: Duffers ‘Just Don’t Know’ If She Will Make It

Ross Duffer revealed that Sadie Sink's character was supposed to be permanently killed at the end of "Stranger Things 4" — but her fate is still unknown going into the final season.
Sadie Sink, Stranger Things
"Stranger Things 4"
Courtesy of Netflix

[Warnings: The below contains spoilers for the “Stranger Things 4” finale.]

Seems like Millie Bobby Brown may finally get her wish: There might have been one less “Stranger Things” teen heading into the fifth and final season.

Ross Duffer revealed on the “Stranger Things After Show” that originally Max Mayfield, played by Sadie Sink, was supposed to be killed off by the end of “Stranger Things 4.” While Max (Sink) does appear to die briefly before Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) revives her (partially, she’s still in a coma), the showrunners teased that Max may not be out of the clear just yet since the original ending was supposed to have Max dying by the hands of Vecna.

“It was discussed as a possibility,” Ross Duffer explained about Sink getting the boot. “For a while, that is what was going to happen. But we ended up in this… We wanted to end it with a little more of a question at the end of the season. It’s still really dark, and if Max is going to be OK, we just don’t really know. We wanted to leave it up in the air moving forward into Season 5.”

That means Max’s strength may not be enough to bridge the gap between seasons. Matt Duffer compared “Stranger Things 4” to “Empire Strikes Back” in the sense that the teens “actually lose” and have real stakes at risk.

“We wanted our characters to experience what that felt like. That was the big idea coming into Season 4, that they were going to lose,” Duffer said. “We were going to introduce Vecna and they were going to lose to him. That sets our characters up for what will be the ultimate final confrontation with Vecna and with the Upside Down in Season 5.”

Caleb McLaughlin spoke to IndieWire recently about the emotional moment when Max appears to be dead.

“I feel like Lucas still feels like she died, honestly. People think that she didn’t. I’ve seen people who were like, ‘Um, Max didn’t die, guys, relax,’ but she’s not the same. She’s in a coma; would you want to see your loved one or your family member in that state? Her eyes were about to be sucked into her head, all her bones are broken. She could be there, but she may not be there. She’s not the same anymore. They were supposed to go to the movie on Friday, and I don’t think they will.”

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