‘Stranger Things’ Should ‘Kill More People,’ Says Gaten Matarazzo: ‘The Show Would Be So Much Better if the Stakes Were Much Higher’

“Stranger Things” is heading into its fifth and final season, which likely won’t premiere on Netflix until sometime in 2025. Cast member Gaten Matarazzo recently appeared at MegaCon Orlando (via CBR) and was asked if there were any changes he would make to the show’s first four seasons, to which the actor didn’t hesitate to say that more characters should’ve been killed off. Heading into the show’s final season, original cast members like Matarazzo, Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton and Noah Schnapp are all returning.

“It might sound messed up but we should kill more people,” Matarazzo said. “This show would be so much better if the stakes were much higher, like at any moment any of these kids can kick it. I feel like we’re all too safe.”

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Creators Matt and Ross Duffer have long defended the show for not killing off its main characters in the same way HBO’s “Game of Thrones” became infamous for doing during its run. In a 2022 interview on the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast, the Duffer brothers addressed Millie Bobby Brown’s comments about how “Stranger Things” needs to “have the mindset” of “Thrones” when it comes to killing characters.

“Believe us, we’ve explored all options in the writing room,” Matt said. “Just as a complete hypothetical, if you kill Mike, it’s like. … That’s depressing. … We aren’t ‘Game of Thrones.’ This is Hawkins, it’s not Westeros. The show becomes not ‘Stranger Things’ anymore, because you do have to treat it realistically, right?”

Ross Duffer said on a “Stranger Things” after show in 2022 that the show got close to permanently killing off Sadie Sink’s Max, who became a series regular in Season 2. The fan-favorite character ended Season 4 in a coma with her bones broken and eyes blinded at the hands of Vecna. Max technically died for one whole minute before Brown’s Eleven revived her friend, but Eleven’s powers weren’t enough to bring Max fully back to life.

“[Killing her] was discussed as a possibility,” Ross Duffer said. “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 okay, we just don’t really know. We wanted to leave it up in the air moving forward into Season 5.”

“Stranger Things 5” is now in production.

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