If the revelation that Robin is queer was a happy surprise for fans of Stranger Things, it was for the actress who plays her, too.
Maya Hawke, indisputably the breakout star of the Netflix phenonemon's third season, sat down with BuzzFeed this week to discuss her character, who initially appears to be introduced as a love interest for Steve. But eventually, Robin confesses to Steve -- with whom she works at the mall ice cream parlor -- that she's always admired him from afar for an entirely different reason than wanting to get in his pants.
"It's because she wouldn't stop staring at you," Robin says, referring to her Hawkins High crush, Tammy Thompson. "I wanted her to look at me. But she couldn't pull her eyes away from you and your stupid hair."
When Hawke auditioned for the role, she told BuzzFeed she was not aware that this was where Robin's storyline was headed.
"I learned while filming," she said. "It was amazing. I was proud to play an [LGBTQ+] character on such a mainstream show that people all over the world, all over our country, and in red and blue states watch. I love her, it felt true to her, and I'm really glad that we did it."
"I know that people seem to like her," said the 21-year-old actress, who is the daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke. "That's in my wildest dreams all I could want -- for them to fall in love with her the way that I did."
Hawke has previously said her character's sexual orientation wasn't a part of the script at all, suggesting she was originally intended to end up with Steve.
"Throughout filming, we started to feel like she and [Steve] shouldn't get together, and that she's gay," she told IndieWire, claiming the official decision was made around the fourth or fifth episode of Stranger Things' well-received third season. "Even when I go back and watch earlier episodes, it just seems like the most obvious decision ever."
Hawke added that it was a "collaborative conversation" and "really, really happy with the way that it went."
Oddly enough, the slow build to revealing Robin's queerness is the opposite of the approachStranger Things has taken to Will (Noah Schnapp), whose mysterious disappearance anchors its first season. In the original series bible, Will was described as "a sweet, sensitive kid with sexual identity issues," but aside from some brief hints the character might be gay, that storyline has yet to be explored by the show.