Saturday, February 4, 2023

Stranger Things’ Eddie Munson: Everyone’s Favourite Metalhead

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The fourth season of Stranger Things was an absolute blast. If there is one word to describe it, it would be “epic”. The series saw the old heroes assemble once again on the screen but this time, there were some great additions to the cast. One of those was the character of Eddie Munson (portrayed by British actor Joseph Quinn). Eddie was an eccentric student of Hawkins High School who became great friends with Mike and Dustin. He shined throughout the season and when all was said and done, Eddie Munson emerged as one of the most beloved characters in TV show history. Let’s find out more.

Stranger Things’ Eddie Munson: The Dungeonmaster

Who is Eddie Munson?

When the fourth season of Stranger Things ended, it left its fair share of surprises in its wake. The new episodes had moments of victory and others of defeat, leaving the protagonists of the story at a point of no return.

One of the standout new characters was Eddie Munson, the eccentric president of the Hellfire Club, a small-time drug peddler and a devout metalhead. Played by British actor Joseph Quinn, the character became one of the season four favorites, so many fans were devastated to find out about Eddie’s fate in the finale.

What is the inspiration behind Eddie Munson’s character?

Parents in the 1980s boiled over into hysteria, accusing bands like KISS and Metallica of making “the devil’s music,” while some religious groups and leaders claimed that a harmless board game like Dungeons & Dragons was promoting witchcraft, suicide and influencing children to commit real life murder and other terrible crimes. 

The Parents Music Resource Centre (PMRC) released a list of songs they deemed extremely harmful for children (The Filthy 15). Most of these songs were by heavy metal bands, further tarnishing the image of the music and its fans. Such was the mass hysteria against the supposed “devil’s music” that many people were accused and convicted of crimes they did not commit.

All of this fear and paraphernalia is portrayed very well in Stranger Things, where we see Eddie’s character become a favorite target for bullies due to his long hair, rock aesthetic, and obsession with D&D. In Volume 1 of the fourth season, with the sinister deaths beginning to terrorize the town, the parents begin to show concern and quickly target the Hellfire Club, arguing that it is much more than a harmless group of friends who spend hours playing games. 

Among the recent revelations of the fourth season, it was confirmed that the character of Eddie Munson was inspired by a real case that shocked the United States. The character’s story was based on the documentary Paradise Lost, which documents the wrongful conviction of three teenagers from West Memphis, Arkansas for a crime they did not commit.

In 1994, Damien Echols, Jessie Miskelly Jr., and Jason Baldwin were wrongly accused of the triple homicide of three 8-year-old boys. The police had not been able to find the perpetrator of the act and due to the lack of evidence and the demand of the residents of the place to find a person responsible, the authorities decided to accuse the three young people of the act. While all three were eventually able to accept a guilty plea that led to their release, 30 years later they remain guilty in the eyes of the court.

In Stranger Things, the death of Chrissy at the hands of Vecna ​​in Eddie’s trailer made him the prime suspect. At the same time, Jason, the boyfriend of the murdered young woman, managed to convince the rest of the basketball team members and the people that the murder was part of a satanic ritual led by Eddie and they decide to hunt him down for revenge.

Jason’s belief in this supposed demon cult is so ingrained in him that when he bumped into Lucas, who is guarding Max at Creel House, he assumed that Lucas has used his “evil powers” to put her into a trance, and decided that the only logical thing is to beat Lucas to death.

Unfortunately, Eddie did not make it to the end of season four, giving his life for the good of the group and Hawkins. While Eddie ended up as the big hero of season four, the media and everyone else continued to paint him as the cult leader responsible for the Hawkins deaths. Similarly, Damien Echols, despite being sentenced to death in his hometown, continues to fight for evidence to be introduced into the case to finally bring the real killer to justice.

Why do fans love Eddie Munson so much?

Each season of Stranger Things has its star character: the first’s was Dustin, the second’s was Max (probably), the third’s was Robin, and the fourth’s… the fourth’s was Eddie Munson without a shadow of a doubt.

Joseph Quinn joined the Duffer brothers’ series to give life to a character that, in a way, is a cliché: the metalhead, “weird”, fond of geeky medieval fantasy games like Dungeons and Dragons.

In other words, what’s weird (and sad) is that we didn’t meet Eddie earlier in the series. Well, it’s never too late, if happiness is good.

The leader of the Hellfire Club is quite a figure who has won the hearts of fans of Stranger Things irremediably. But what makes Eddie Munson’s character so special?

If we opt for the easy answer, we could stick to that metal moment to the beat of Metallica’s Master of Puppets that has made even the Californian band rave about the Netflix series.

However, there is so much more to this Stranger Things character that we can empathize with. Beyond the Metallica moment, Eddie evokes that musical taste for 80s rock and metal that has a very devout set of followers. The “this is music” scene holding the Iron Maiden cassette has also become a meme.

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/rQcvu2w42JM

Ironically, while his passion while mastering Dungeons and Dragons is tremendously contagious, it’s the fact that that passion is a fundamental part of his life that makes us continually empathize with him. He appeals to the nerd inside everyone.

The conversation at the beginning of the season with his antithesis, Chrissy, the “perfect cheerleader”, denoted a magnificent chemistry that, due to plot requirements, lasted less than candy at the door of a school. Even the Duffer brothers lamented about that afterwards.

Finally, and without wanting to go any further, Eddie embodies the role of the victim in a plot that, unfortunately, is very real: the collective hysteria and “religious fervour” that many players of Dungeons and Dragons and similar games suffered for considering themselves “satanic”.

Is Eddie Munson still alive?

Just as the Duffer Brothers promised, season four was devastating, mostly because of the death of a character who won our hearts: Eddie Munson. However, as it is with all beloved characters, there are theories among fans that claim that Eddie Munson is still alive.

Although somehow his death was already predicted, in the end, he managed to become a hero. Some fans still don’t understand the reason for her sacrificing him, however, Dustin made it pretty clear. Saving the people of Hawkins led him to die most cruelly at the hands of Vecna’s ​​army of demon bats.

“This is my year, Dustin”, with that phrase the teenager played by Joseph Quinn said goodbye to us forever, right? While we are in denial, there is still hope. Here we present all the theories that would allow us to bring Eddie back in the next installment of the iconic series.

Upside down doesn’t follow real-world time

The first theory created by fans warns that the timing of the Upside Down could be in favor of Eddie. Since this one doesn’t correspond to the one on the other side, he would be stuck in the past; if Eleven defeats Vecna ​​it would be possible that his death never happened.

This would have to be the case for each of the boys whose souls were stolen by Vecna (so Max would also come back from the coma). Also, some claim that the Demobats’ venom did not harm Steve (who was bitten by them in volume 1), the substance just made him sleepy, did the same happen with Munson?

Of course, Steve was not attacked by as many specimens as Eddie, so the collateral damage was not as great. But if Hopper survived an explosion, anything is possible in Stranger Things.

Eddie Munson is Vecna’s ally

Since the monsters in the title are based on the famous role-playing video game, Dungeons, and Dragons, the community believes that Munson will return as a vampire. This character would be inspired by Kas, an enemy of Vecna ​​who succumbed to the bites of his bats.

He revives after a while as a being from beyond the grave who loyally serves our villain. Although he would be his ally, the original story states that he, seduced by his sword, usurps the power of his master to kill him, turning him into Kas the Destroyer.

This version of Kas is very different from the one indicated at the beginning since there is a “False Kas”, who wishes to redeem himself for his betrayal and serves the deity of the Upside Down. So, if this thesis is taken up, it would be interesting if everyone’s favourite metalhead was resurrected as a villain, so we could go from love to hate or even feel both.

Eddie Munson is 010

The latest theory was among the voices thanks to a conversation that Eddie had with Chrissy. As they chat in the woods, he mentions that when he was younger he had shaved his head, which set off fans’ alarm bells.

Although we saw 010 dead in Brenner’s arms, some believe that he was able to survive and escape Project Indigo. This would explain why he is not surprised when Dustin, Robin, Max, and Steve tell him that they have a friend with “superpowers”.

However, of all the assumptions, this is probably the least credible. It would be great if this allowed Eddie to come back and defeat Vecna, but the comment is not enough to ensure that his identity is completely different. In the same way, he was not surprised because after what he witnessed, everything was already possible.

What have the showrunners said about Eddie’s return?

We can’t trust everything the writers tell us, since they can’t tell us what they want us to see. After the fourth season, Matt and Ross Duffer confirmed many events that we did not see in action, an example of which is that they had ensured the participation of Joseph in future chapters, but recently declared otherwise.

After asking Ross Duffer if Eddie was dead in an interview, his response was “unfortunately yes. ” With this, the only opportunity we have to see it once more is through memories of the protagonists or flashbacks; the latter would make sense if a time jump is made as promised.

Even Joseph Quinn believes that Eddie is gone for good:

“I had a feeling that we would finish his story arc this season. I couldn’t imagine the way he would go, but I did expect it, although I think it’s kind of strange. It’s a bit bittersweet. I would love to go back to that set and see all those people again… It’s kind of like a lottery ticket and I feel incredibly grateful, but it’s a shame not to be able to go back. We must move forward”,

To this, he added that he has talked with the producers about a more supernatural return, although he made it clear that Munson had fulfilled his goal in the series. Like the public, Quinn also wants his name to be vindicated to give him a fairer closure:

“I think it would be good for him to have his name cleared. I think it would be satisfying for the audience. I think Eddie made the ultimate sacrifice for a town that thought he was a monster, which is a level of heroism that’s kind of hard to fathom. But like I said, I’m not allowed in the writers’ room, so we’ll see what the adults think.”

This stigma is still present in certain circles today, although the “normalization” of the geek thanks to cinema, television and the Internet has contributed to making it less intense than it was decades ago.

Eddie Munson was a brilliantly written character who was brought to life on screen by Joseph Quinn’s masterful performance. Everyone loves Eddie and would love to see him back on the screen. While it is quite unlikely that he will return, fans will still hold onto hope. As we all know, stranger things have happened on shows before.

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