Stranger Things has always had a body count, but Millie Bobby Brown has accused the Duffer Brothers of being “sensitive Sallies” for not axing anyone from the main cast. While it’s true that our heroes from Hawkins have survived an improbable amount of supernatural disasters (like the Hopper explosion-to-Russian-prison fake out), they haven’t exactly been living in comfort and safety, either!
Take young Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink), who—amidst some tough competition—definitely had it the worst in the fourth season. By the finale, Vecna has reduced her to a literal broken, empty shell, with no consciousness to be found. But hey, at least she’s still alive, because the Duffers almost got rid of her.
“It was discussed as a possibility,” Ross Duffer says in the Stranger Things aftershow. “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, where 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 five.”
Matt Duffer adds that he “can’t really get into the details, but it is important that she is” in a coma, explaining that the character’s condition isn’t just a “cheat” to keep her in the cast but is actually “incredibly relevant” and will have “a major effect on [season] five.”
It doesn’t sound like they’ve yet clued in Sadie Sink on Max’s ultimate fate. “I just hope that she’s able to do anything, I guess,” she says when asked about her hopes for the character in the final season. “Yeah, I have no clue what is going on just with her in general… Hopefully she’s out of the hospital… out of the full body cast, that would be great.”