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Warning: This article contains spoilers from Stranger Things season 4, Volume 2.
Joseph Quinn, the actor behind new Stranger Things fan-favorite Eddie Munson, hadn't been optioned for another season past his appearance in season 4, which already made him suspicious.
He figured that if he worked hard enough in his role, Netflix and series creators Matt and Ross Duffer might decide to bring him back for season 5. Quinn admits in an interview with EW that he was "a little gutted" to find out that Eddie would not be making it out of the penultimate season alive. (That's not to say the Duffers won't bring him back. Dacre Montgomery, who was killed off in the third season, made a brief reprisal as Billy Mayfield this time around.)
Still, the 29-year-old British actor is more of a glass half-full guy. "To be part of it in any capacity is still pretty great," Quinn says.
Eddie died in the arms of his best younger bud, Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), in the Stranger Things season 4 finale, which dropped on Netflix with the rest of Volume 2 Friday. The Hawkins crew devised a plan to destroy Vecna/Henry/One (Jamie Campbell Bower). Max (Sadie Sink), under the protection of Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Erica (Priah Ferguson), went to the Creel House to lure Vecna into attacking her. Meanwhile, the others snuck into the Upside Down to attack Vecna's defenseless body.
Steve (Joe Keery), Robin (Maya Hawke), and Nancy (Natalia Dyer) were on the offense, while Eddie and Dustin needed to distract all the demo-bats from alerting Vecna. So Dustin literally amped up Eddie (you know, with an amp), while the Hellfire Club dungeon master shredded guitar to the sounds of Metallica's "Master of Puppets." Eddie met his end after the demo-bats swarmed him later on.
Quinn speaks with EW about filming his death sequence with tennis balls doubling as demo-bats, the first thing he did when he finished the season 4 shoot, and what's next for the actor.
Netflix Robin (Maya Hawke), Steve (Joe Keery), and Eddie (Joe Quinn) ride again in 'Stranger Things' season 4.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you know going into this that your stint on Stranger Things was finite?
JOSEPH QUINN: I didn't know for certain. I wasn't optioned for another season, so I had a suspicion that they had something planned. I was a little gutted 'cause I thought that if I worked hard enough they might bring me back for another season, but that didn't work. So, yeah, I was kind of gutted that I was only there for one season, but to be part of it in any capacity is still pretty great.
We did see Dacre Montgomery come back, even though Billy got killed off in season 3. Does that give you a little bit of hope that maybe there is some room for Eddie down the line?
Yeah. There might be a little something. We'll see.
Did knowing your character's ultimate fate affect the way that you wanted to approach certain emotional beats in the lead-up to Eddie's death?
Yeah, definitely. You wanna be as informed as you can be when you are in your performance. Knowing everything definitely meant that you could lean into certain things or bend it certain ways that maybe I wouldn't have had I not known his ultimate fate.
Are there any specific emotional beats that stick out in your mind?
I think the relationship with Gaten. We wanted to make it as brotherly and love-packed as possible in order to make that final moment more profound. It's kind of awful dissecting your own work. The reason you're pressing certain buttons you just find with your intuition.
Are you sad to be hanging up your '80s wig ?
I became pretty fond of it by the end, just 'cause it is a silly thing. But I won't miss it. It itched, so I won't miss that.
Tina Rowden/Netflix Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) is ready to raise some Hellfire.
Your big moment at the end where Eddie is getting swarmed by all these demo-bats. What do you remember from actually filming it?
Those demo-bats. They were difficult to work with. They weren't there, so that was quite funny. It was lots of vibrating on the floor and swinging midair, which makes you feel a bit stupid, but it was great fun. I remember thinking that you don't get to do this all the time in this life. So I felt very lucky. Felt very tired. It was a series of night shoots. We'd start at 8 [p.m.] when it got dark and then we'd finish at 6 [a.m.] when it would get light. I remember it being very thrilling. We were very pressed for time, so I remember being pretty adrenalized and quite caffeinated.
So you filmed this on location. It wasn't on a sound stage.
No, no, no, no. All of that stuff was in the trailer park, which was great fun. It's way better to be outside with that stuff.
Were there tennis balls for reference for all these demo-bats?
Oh! Yeah. There were bits with contact with the shield and stuff. There would be someone with a stick and a tennis ball hitting me, which felt funny. But for the most part, it was just [me] going crazy, trying out different dance moves. It was good fun.
What makes the best kind of death scene, when you think about your favorite ones from movies and TV shows?
It's a bit of a fine line, really, because it's a movie cliche, isn't it? You are very mindful of not trying to put too many udders on it and just milk the s--- out of it. You want it to feel truthful, but I guess it's everything that happens around the death that makes the death scene cool. I think that the Duffers have played a blinder with this one. Also, having Max's brush with death straight after, it's a real double jab.
It felt very poignant that Eddie takes his last breath in the arms of Dustin. What was it like working with Gaten on that final scene with Eddie?
Just a treat. What was weird about that scene was we shot my coverage just before the sun went down on that night that I spoke about previously. Then later on, because we didn't have time to do Gaten's coverage, we went back. So we shot Gaten's stuff, I think, months later. It felt quite weird having that length of time between turning around. But I think we were both very glad to get that monkey off our back. Working with Gaten has been such a joyous experience. He's a brilliant person and a wonderful actor. I was spoiled to have the amount of stuff that I got to do with him.
What was the first thing that you did when you were finished shooting such a long shoot that was the entirety of season 4?
I had a shot of tequila in the camera truck, and I went home and I cried my eyes out. I had a sleep, and then we had dinner the next day and then I went to New York pretty quickly.
Music has been such a big part of Stranger Things in general but this season specifically. You have this really killer guitar moment. Were you a big fan of Metallica coming into this?
The Black Album was an album that I loved growing up, but I wasn't a huge metalhead. The new metal bands were ones like Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, like those bands I was aware of but not mad on. Then I, obviously, familiarized myself with Black Sabbath and Metallica and Slayer and those kind of guys in preparation for this role. It's been an interesting foray.
Netflix Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Mike (Finn Wolfhard) with the leader of the Hellfire Club, Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn).
One of my colleagues did some research and found out that Metallica's "Master of Puppets" came out three weeks before the events of Stranger Things. It felt so perfect that, of course, Eddie would be able to get his hands on this album so early on.
It's one of those weird life things, isn't it? We were talking about that during [the shoot] 'cause we were checking like, does this all check out? Does this song work? And this came out so soon. It just felt like, yeah, obviously Eddie got his finger on the pulses of the heavy metal world. It was the perfect song for it.
You play guitar too, right?
I've played since I was young, but I don't play every day. But I can play, yeah.
Did you record any of the guitar riffs yourself for the "Master of Puppets" moment?
Nothing that you hear, but I was playing it on the day. We had a backing track and I was playing along with it. I wouldn't wanna mess with what they've already got, but it was very useful to be able to play along character-wise. It's a pretty adolescent fantasy to be a rockstar, isn't it? I felt like one for a night. It was great having Gaten up there with me. They really turned it up when they played "Master of Puppets" and the whole crew were there. It was the first time that everyone felt like they were seeing live music — I say "live music" — since the pandemic. So it felt like a real celebration.
You have a film coming up called Hoard. What can you tell me about that project?
It's an independent film set in Southeast London. It's directed by an extraordinary young director called Luna Carmoon, who I think is going to do some pretty special things. She's got something about her. There's a brilliant actress called Hayley Squires, who is in a film called I, Daniel Blake, and then a new actress called Saura Lightfoot Leon. It's mental. I've got a good feeling about it, I say cautiously.
EW's Ultimate Guide to Stranger Things is available online or wherever magazines are sold.