“Stranger Things” fans waited a torturous three years for Season 4 of the series to drop on Netflix, and it’s pretty safe to say that they got more than they bargained for when Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) came across their screens. We mean that in the best way possible. Quinn instantly drew attention as Eddie, whose enigmatic flair for the freakish instantly made him a fan-favorite character.
In fact, Eddie Munson is arguably the best part of Season 4 of “Stranger Things,” with the character basically taking over one corner of TikTok with appreciative and adoring fan-made videos. It’s as if Eddie is no longer a mere character, but a cross-generational phenomenon — brand-spanking new, but oddly vintage at the same time.
In honor of Eddie Munson and his many dramatics, we’ve done a deep dive into the character and found all the little pieces that make him Eddie. Here’s the fascinating, untold truth of Eddie Munson that fans may not know just by watching “Stranger Things.”
WARNING: If you have yet to see Season 4 of “Stranger Things,” read no further because the following article contains major spoilers.
Considering that he rises to main character status in his very first episode of Season 4 despite appearing alongside “Stranger Things” characters who have been on the show since Season 1, you would think Eddie Munson would require a considerable amount of screentime for viewers to get to know him. You would be wrong, though, as the metalhead dungeon master actually shows up in just over 5% of Season 4, which translates to about 42 minutes spanning nine episodes.
A decent portion of this time on screen takes place in the very first Season 4 episode where Eddie is introduced, and the Vecna-induced psychosis starts hitting the metaphorical fan. Considering that Season 4 is partially centered on Eddie and his “banishment,” the time spent introducing him is vital for making fans feel a sense of attachment toward him. While Joseph Quinn and the Duffer Brothers seemingly did a stellar job of that, it’s certainly an accomplishment that they pulled it off within the fraction of Episode 1’s 78 minutes when Eddie gets to show his face.
As much of a bummer it may be for fans that Eddie doesn’t get more screentime, it makes sense. “Stranger Things” has a ton of prominent characters and Season 4 is split between three main groups; Eddie even spends a sizable amount of the season hiding out. Logical or not, it is still wildly impressive that Eddie has such a hold on fans after only appearing for a short amount of time.
Good things come in small packages. Although Eddie Munson doesn’t have nearly enough screentime for fans’ satisfaction, his role is an important one. That’s why it’s surprising that Joseph Quinn secured the role by simply sending in a couple of self-taped audition videos. “No meetings, no chemistry reads, no protracted process,” he told The Guardian. “It was pretty unusual and very disarming.”
While it may have been a little unorthodox for the Duffer Brothers to cast such an important and central role remotely off of a couple of videos, it certainly worked out for the best and we can see why they felt comfortable enough to commit to Quinn. In the same interview, Quinn reveals that his audition tape consists of Eddie’s introductory speech where he dramatically jumps on a cafeteria table and addresses the many high school cliques about his perceived villainous freakishness. If Quinn’s audition tape was anything like what made it on screen, we imagine casting him was a no-brainer.
Despite a not inconsiderable portion of the world bonding over their love for Eddie Munson, Joseph Quinn apparently thought his casting was a mistake. After breaking down the process of his casting, he expressed to The Guardian that he was waiting for the other shoe to drop and for the Duffers to “realize they had made a mistake.”
There is no mistaking that Quinn was meant to play Eddie, though, but Quinn would probably never be caught saying that. In fact, he seems to be taking in his newfound superstardom with gratitude and a whole lot of modesty. “I think about characters that I loved when I was growing up and now to think that someone out there feels like that about a character that I played is a kind of mental thing,” Quinn told The LA Times. “It’s humbling and something I never expected to feel.”
Why do the Duffer Brothers have to build us up just to break us down? That’s basically what they did when creating Eddie Munson and his tragic storyline; they gave fans a character to root for and get attached to just to rip him away right after a redemption of massive proportions and a truly righteous concert in the freakin’ Upside Down.
Well, fans are just not having any of Eddie’s death — a Change.org petition for the Duffer Brothers to revive him in Season 5 has made its rounds on the internet. The petition smartly specifies that fans will not be satisfied with a simple flashback appearance from Eddie; instead, he needs to be fully brought back into the series. With over 85,000 signatures backing the petition with more likely on the way, the Duffer Brothers have quite the force weighing on their creative process for the upcoming “Stranger Things” season.
While Eddie Munson stole plenty of hearts in his introductory episode, one major highlight of “Stranger Things” Season 4 happens in the last episode when he puts on a one-man concert in the Upside Down to distract Vecna’s mind meanies. The unforgettable “Master of Puppets” scene becomes even cooler when you take into account the effort that went into it.
That righteous guitar scene in the episode titled “Piggyback” is very real — at least as far as the playing is concerned. In an exclusive interview with Radio Times, Joseph Quinn revealed that he actually learned how to play the majority of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” — a famously difficult song — and that he really is playing the guitar in the episode. While he “had a stab at” the song, production edited in a master guitarist to get the intricate and wildly fast chorus down. Even so, it’s pretty sweet that Quinn would take the time and commit to learning how to play the song, and it makes the scene that much more special.
Chances are anyone who considers themselves a metalhead had a familiarity with Metallica ahead of watching Eddie Munson shred on top of a trailer in the Upside Down. “Stranger Things” fans and lovers of heavy metal are not one in the same, though, and there are probably plenty of Eddie lovers who are of a younger generation and had never heard of Metallica or their iconic song “Master of Puppets.”
Watching Eddie quite literally raise hell with the song hits just right, though, and Metallica enjoyed a resurgence in mainstream relevancy thanks to the scene. After the episode dropped on Netflix, the nearly 40-year-old song “Master of Puppets” rose to the top spot-on iTunes’ rock chart and seemingly has a new generation discovering the groundbreaking metal band.
After “Stranger Things” paid tribute to Metallica and brought them a new wave of attention, they responded in kind. According to Billboard, the metal band honored Eddie during their set at Lollapalooza by projecting his image on the backdrop of the stage during their performance of “Master of Puppets.” Whereas Eddie’s Metallica fandom borders on worship, the sentiment Metallica sent back his way is much closer to respect.
Eddie Munson screeches “This is music!” when the Hawkins gang is desperately searching through the character’s many metal albums in order to find something Max can listen to in order to bring her down to Earth. Heavy metal is a huge part of Eddie’s personality and image; he’s even the guitarist in a metal band. Naturally, Joseph Quinn needed to listen to some metal to get into Eddie’s headspace.
And by “some” we mean “as much as possible.” In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Quinn revealed that it wasn’t Eddie Munson’s love of Dungeons & Dragons that got him into character, but it was listening to a whole bunch of ’80s metal. “I listened to a lot of heavy metal,” says the star when talking about how he got to know the mind of Eddie. “And that was my… God, it’s impossible to not sound pretentious when you say it, but, yeah, that was my way in.”
Worn over the now iconic Hellfire Club shirt, Eddie Munson’s battle vest sports odes to metal bands like Motörhead and W.A.S.P., both bands who were active in the early ’80s. Battle vests are typically built upon over time by the wearer and become perpetually decked out. There’s plenty of room on Eddie’s vest for other patches and band memorabilia, which makes his death that much more hard-hitting.
Interestingly enough, Joseph Quinn physically playing “Master of Puppets” is not the only authentic part of Eddie’s love of all things heavy metal. His battle vest is also very real, having been designed with elements that belonged to former Black Sabbath member and vocalist to his own namesake band, Ronnie James Dio. Eddie’s vest has Dio’s second album cover as the back patch, which was apparently donated to the production of “Stranger Things” by Dio’s estate.
In an interview with Netflix, “Stranger Things” costume designer Amy Parris reveals that Eddie loves thrash metal and, in turn, Dio. Wanting to make the costumes for the ’80s-based series as authentic as possible, they reached out to Dio’s estate about donating some old band shirts to use for Eddie’s outfit, and the late Dio’s wife was happy to oblige.
Apparently, the Duffer Brothers designed Eddie Munson with tragedy in mind, basing the character on a real-life horror story. According to Netflix Geeked (via Entertainment Daily), Eddie is loosely based on Damien Echols. Along with two other teens in the early ’90s, Echols was convicted of killing three young boys in the small town of West Memphis, Arkansas. To make a long story short for the sake of this article, many people suspect that Echols and his supposed co-conspirators — dubbed the “West Memphis Three” — were innocent and had been persecuted because of their interest in heavy metal music. The West Memphis Three — who were released in 2011, following nearly two decades in prison – are now widely considered victims of what is referred to as “Satanic Panic” of the ’80s, which is fictionalized in “Stranger Things” through the witch hunt for Eddie. Like Echols, Eddie has a slight criminal history, was outcast by mainstream society, and enjoys both Dungeons & Dragons and heavy metal music. Because of this, they were easy targets to blame when tragedy struck a small community.
Since being convicted, the West Memphis Three have all been released as a part of a plea deal. However, as a result of a convoluted legal process, technically they have not been fully exonerated for their supposed crimes. Damien Echols still strives to fully clear his name. Echols regularly updates his Twitter with what’s going on with his case and he even responded to a follower’s question about Eddie Munson in a Tweet, saying that he “was tremendously honored by [Eddie]” and his “heart exploded” when he saw the “Master of Puppets” scene.
Season 4 of “Stranger Things” did more than just honor Echols, though. The immense popularity of Eddie Munson has brought attention to Echols’ ongoing quest to get his name officially cleared. In another Tweet, the writer and activist gave credit to the Netflix series for bringing “a whole new wave of awareness” to his fight for justice.
Damien Echols has been documenting his process of fighting for exoneration and apparently, he has been getting some push back from the powers that be. It appears that he is hoping that the new attention his case has gained thanks to “Stranger Things” will further his case and force officials to do right by him.
Despite the character’s tragic on-screen tale, apparently there are some perks to playing Eddie Munson. In his first ever talk show interview on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” Joseph Quinn explains how he, a British actor, was held in immigration while on his way to appear on the talk show. According to him, the officer holding him didn’t believe he was actually on his way to meet Jimmy Fallon until another officer called out, “Leave Eddie alone!” After the second officer explained that Quinn played Eddie on “Stranger Things,” he was let go — but not before the officer made it clear that Quinn better return as Eddie in Season 5.
While giving actors special treatment at immigration might not be the best look, his association with an instantly iconic character sure helped Quinn get out of the real-life dungeon that is the immigration waiting room at the airport. If that officer hadn’t recognized him, the world may have been deprived of the actor’s talk show debut, which would have certainly been a loss for his many fans.
Netflix has been, of course, very excited about Eddie Munson’s rise to fame. The character has seemingly made a Netflix subscription a little more worthwhile for viewers, and the platform paid tribute to its misunderstood hero in an appropriately stranger than usual way.
Somewhere in rural Indiana, there was a real-life crop circle in the image of Eddie in his devil horns pose. Netflix uploaded a YouTube video on their “Stranger Things” account that shows a drone flying over a field that is marked with the tribute design of Eddie’s face etched into an acre of land. The video is to the tune of “Master of Puppets” and viewers can see the phrase “Eddie Munson 4ever” around the portrait.
The design was created by painter and muralist Stan Herd, who captured Eddie’s likeness wonderfully, and the tribute is a testament of how beloved the character is.
Eddie Munson speaks very briefly about his band Corroded Coffin when he is chatting and reminiscing with Chrissy in Episode 1, but it sounds like the group is a significant part of his life. Apparently a little more thought went into Corroded Coffin than just one little mention, at least where actor Joseph Quinn is concerned.
In an interview with Metal Hammer, Quinn joked that he would love for Foo Fighters leading man Dave Grohl to write some music for his character’s fictional band. It turns out that he thought a little more in depth about what the band would really sound like. “Oh, thrash,” Quinn told the metal publication when asked about what he thinks Corroded Coffin would sound like. “Really fast, really evil.” While the team-up between Eddie Munson and Dave Grohl may just be a pipe dream of Quinn’s, it could also be a perfect fit. Grohl has apparently recorded a thrash metal album, and with the popularity of Munson seeming to stick around, it may not be a bad idea for fiction to meet reality where Eddie’s Corroded Coffin is concerned.