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‘Winona Brings an Entirely New Flavor’: Stranger Things Creators Reveal Winona Ryder’s the Reason Why They Didn’t Make Joyce a ‘Damsel in Distress’

Starring in one of the most lucrative and popular shows of the last decade, Winona Ryder has brought a well-needed change to the representation of female characters. With Season 4 of Stranger Things coming to an end, the Alien 4 actress has witnessed a major comeback.

Related: ‘The Kiss Wasn’t Scripted’: Stranger Things Writers Reveal Joyce and Hopper’s Intimate Scene Was Entirely Improvised

Known for its monster of the series and 80s nostalgia, the show has won the hearts of many fans as evil characters are redeemed and old pop songs are revived. The shoe was created by the Duffer brothers, Matt and Ross Duffer.

Matt and Ross Duffer
Creators of Stranger Things: Matt and Ross Duffer

Winona Ryder and Joyce Byers:

The showrunners confirmed that originally Winona Ryder’s character, Joyce Byers, was supposed to be just a strong, devoted, and worried mother, but the actress convinced them otherwise. they stated in an interview to HarpersBazaar:

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“But then suddenly Winona brings an entirely new flavor to it, and we just thought about how much fun we could have with her, getting involved in the supernatural…. The more we’ve worked with her, we’ve discovered how funny she can be”

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Winona Ryder
Joyce Byer’s actress Winona Ryder

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While further brainstorming on Winona Ryder’s character, the showrunners stated that Joyce Byers became a rounded character. Eventually, the character became an essential member of the plot and steered the ship. Matt Duffer pointed out how Winona Ryder’s presence on the set inspired the young cast to bring their ‘A-game, he said:


“Winona brings it 100 percent every time… I think that makes a big difference to the other actors, especially when she’s working with the kids.”

Stranger Things
A poster of Stranger Things 4 showcasing the cast

On the set with Winona Ryder:

Being thrust into stardom at a young age too, Winona Ryder was cast in her first movie at the age of 13, in the rom-com Lucas (1986). The showrunners indicated that she is very empathetic to the young cast of Stranger Things and is always ready to guide them, they said:

“She’s talked to the kids about what celebrity is like and how the press can be and the anxiety and confusion that comes along with celebrity…. I think she’s really helped them. I know she’s specifically helped Millie [Bobby Brown] a lot to work through that”

Also read: “It was real satisfying”: Fans Celebrate One Major Death in Stranger Things Season 4 Finale

Witnessing plenty of success, Millie Bobby Brown has gone on to star in the Monsterverse and is working on multiple projects at the moment, including the sequel to Harry Bradbeer‘s Enola Holmes. Further commenting on how Winona Ryder has utilized her experience to aid her co-stars, they state:

“….that’s something that no one else can help with, really, because so few people have experienced it. It’s not something I understand. It’s not something that, you know, even a parent would understand.”

Millie Bobby Brown
Millie Bobby Brown’s Eleven and season 4 monster Vecna

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Later in the interview, Ross Duffer described the down-to-earth nature of Winona Ryder, he asserted that it doesn’t matter who she’s interacting with, whether it’s a co-star or the PA getting her water, she just loves getting to know people and talking to them.

Stranger Things Season 4 is now streaming on Netflix.

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Written by Nikhil Makwana

Nikhil Makwana is a writer for FandomWire, with interests in DC comics, anime, indie films, independent films, and Nicolas Cage. He’s pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in BBA,LLB from IFIM Law School. When he’s not writing, he reads books such as the classic Dune series and existential essays from Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre.