Joseph Quinn Talks With Eddie Munson About Stranger Things Season 4

The standout bad guy from Stranger Things continues his conversation in Volume 2, discussing Metallica and Eddie Munson’s emotional core.

How metal was it that the Stranger Things conclusion used Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” as a weapon against the Upside Down, on a scale from one to Eddie Munson’s haircut (which, by the way, I’m convinced is a fusion of both Axl Rose and Slash’s flows)? (It was Nikki Sixx’s hair in the early ’80s.) You know the drill: just before he dies, Munson, the show’s newest deviant, jumps on his trailer and shreds his way to salvation.

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Joseph Quinn, who plays Munson in the show, describes the episode as “sort of mad.” “When the script finally arrived, at around three in the morning, I was far from home and wide awake. When I first heard it, my immediate thought was, “Who the fuck do they think they are coming up with something this good?!” To suggest that Season Four, Volume Two of Stranger Things, now available on Netflix, has an enormous amount of plot would be the understatement of the streaming era. Most chills were caused by Eddie Munson’s heroic performance. That’s right, tears as well.

There were a lot of tears. London-born Quinn, now 29, set herself apart from the rest of the Stranger Things cast by injecting Munson with a whirl of emotion, vulnerability, and total anarchy. It was a successful attempt. And in the end, Munson doesn’t run away, which ultimately results in his murder at the hands of genuine bats from hell. While Munson may be gone for good, we need Quinn to sing us one last tune. For the sake of length and clarity, this exchange has been slightly abridged.

Joseph Quinn Talks With Eddie Munson About Stranger Things Season 4

ESQUIRE: How Are You Celebrating Stranger Things Eve?

Quinn, Joseph: So, I’ve made my way to my dad’s place for the night. We’re going to watch [the finale] with my little sister and my dad’s wife tonight, I guess. I think it’s time for everything to be out in the open. I appreciate the fans’ endurance through the lengthy first seven episodes and their openness to Eddie’s inclusion in the series. Additionally, I have not yet watched Episode 9. I’m really curious to see how they’ve put it all together because it’s a pretty enormous project.

How many times would you guess you’ve listened to “Master of Puppets?”

To be honest, mate, I have no idea. Just heaps. For at least two years in a row, I suppose, that song was my Spotify all-time favorite. Okay then. I feel like I’ve lost my mind. It has to be in the hundreds at least. Oh right. Okay, that’s a lot. Lots and lots and lots and lots. In other words, it packs a serious punch.

Did You Foresee Eddie’s Death In This Season?

To be honest, I was totally unaware. I was aware there was no option for me. I suspected his storyline would conclude this year. Honestly, I had no idea he would depart in such a way, so I agree with you that it’s a bit strange. It has an unpleasant aftertaste. I’d want to visit the set again and catch up with the cast and crew. However, every once in a while, they’ll surprise you with a stunning plot twist, and he’s an empathetically written role like that. It’s like winning the lotto, and I’m very appreciative, but I’m sad that I can’t return. Onwards.

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Particularly in the passages with Gaten Matarazzo, Volume 2 is filled with touching and emotional high points. Tell me about your contributions to this season’s last act of Eddie’s development. The young man we meet at the start of Season One seems to be quite the performer and is quite precocious. He comes upon something terrible and is held responsible for it. And we, the viewer, should be invested. You won’t put forth any effort if you don’t care about him. After he’s accepted into the group, the ending reveals a touching brotherhood between the characters.

I mean, Gaten and I had a great time witnessing your impressive display of demonstration skills. It’s not always simple for guys, especially teenagers, to demonstrate the complexity of various forms of love. Always, there were older men who captivated me. And I’ve noticed a similar air of patronizing superiority among guys a little younger than myself. Furthermore, we aimed for maximum realism by including as many graphic details as possible.

I’ll tell you a secret: when I interviewed Gaten for Volume One, I finally felt my age in this line of work. To put it simply, I share your age bracket. You’re telling me! Okay, I get it. Then again, I suppose it’s because we were in a pretty strange place mentally before the pandemic hit. We made a lot of bad decisions while we were in our mid-20s and were just about to turn 30. Mindsets are drastically different.

Joseph Quinn Talks With Eddie Munson About Stranger Things Season 4

How Many Of The Last Exchanges With Gaten Were Improvised On The Spot?

The first thing you said is something we wanted to play off of, and so was the idea of wrestling as a way for men to express themselves physically. The whole dying sequence was insane. It was the last scene of a very long night shoot, and we were able to get it done in about 15 or 20 minutes. Sadly, we were only able to get my coverage for that one night. About three weeks later, we shot all of Gaten’s material in the studio. It felt really out of place to perform that part and then revisit it afterward. To be so close to someone so young and yet witness such brilliance was truly astonishing. You’re going to have to take after those little sheep for me.

Doesn’t Sound Too Good, Does It?

To lighten the mood, let’s discuss the guitar solo. So, how did you get ready for that?

I went out and purchased a guitar and started strumming away like crazy. I just remember being just kind of dumbstruck at the kind of… there is a very specific environment in which anything like that could exist. Furthermore, [series creators Matt and Ross Duffer] have built a setting in which this seems natural and not at all out of place.

I suppose it was the first scene that I shot coming back from Christmas break. I and Gaten had the finest time ever when we finally made it to the top. The crew that day ended up being fairly sizable. In addition, it seemed like the first time many folks had heard live music in quite some time. No one would want to hear [I perform it live], but I practiced, and I learned the song. We were all just fucking jammin’ to a backing track and having a great time. I know that I am really fortunate.

Do You Mean You Mastered The Full Song Or Just Parts Of It?

Yeah. I’ve been playing guitars since I was a youngster, which is great news, but I haven’t been consistent about it. That gave me a head start, but I still had to go study the rest on my own. I work in the acting industry. The heavy metal genre is not one in which I am proficient. So I let Aiden, the excellent guitarist, handle the more intricate fingerwork. Yes, I did the rest of it. I gave it a shot. Who wouldn’t want to spend a day feeling like a celebrity?

Why Do You Think Eddie Becomes A Hero Towards The End Of The Series?

That said, I find it to be a moving examination of second chances. I believe that his heroism stems from the fact that he was willing to put himself last and dedicate his life to a cause greater than himself. That’s really brave of you. I believe that humans are primarily motivated by our need for recognition, success, and social standing. Giving one’s life for a cause greater than oneself, for the sake of others, is something that has been seen as heroic at least since the Bible’s time.

There’s a beautiful, profound, and poetic allegory at the heart of Eddie’s narrative. It’s interesting how Eddie seems like a goalless individual at first, but turns out to be searching for something deeper in life, perhaps love. Once the decision to sacrifice oneself has been made, the narrative shifts to that decisive moment. Well, everything was very performative at that age—nihilism, a heavy metal movement at that time. Everything felt very anti-establishment and non-traditional. However, cohesion exists within that.

To rebel against something, one must first submit to it. When I was 18, I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about, so I don’t believe that says much for someone that young. I long for the 29-year-old me who knew a little more and felt a lot less but was considerably more confident in nothing. My point is that at that age, you start to believe a lot of rubbish about yourself. I think you nailed on why people really adore Stranger Things. It brings back the memory of what it was like to experience sensations at their full intensity.

It’s really tribal if you ask me. You spend a lot of time searching for your people, and when you do, the friendships you forge will be worth more than money at this point in your life. Aging brings about culling, separation, and a general tightening of the reins. These days, I put far more effort into a smaller number of relationships. However, it appears that Eddie acts in an inverse manner. He’s so militant in how much he wants to be different from the herd. But I don’t know if I buy that totally from him—which we ultimately see, you know? 

In the last episode, Eleven is shown to have the ability to resurrect dead people with near-divine efficiency. Is there any chance we see Eddie in Season Five? Feels a little handy, doesn’t it at the moment? I’ve got no idea. I mean, I’m as clueless as the rest of us.

Would You Be Open To It? 

I mean, duh. He is a lot of fun to play with, and so are they. So sure, I would be up for going back, but it feels like his story’s been told, slightly, to me. Man, the only other thing I have is that the Michael Myers mask during the van theft was a good touch. Yeah, it’s pretty amusing, right? My friend Bec watched it lately. She has a type of unreasonable fear—I’m not going to say insane. Mike Myers is a dangerous guy. She finds him incredibly horrifying. A great touch, anyhow.