Stranger Things S4's Most Intense Scene Was Just As Grueling to Film

Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Stranger Things season 4 finale.

Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin revealed that season 4's most intense scene needed a lot of takes. Set six months after the Battle of Starcourt where the teenage heroes of Hawkins, Indiana, defeated the Mind Flayer, the group finds themselves battling another demonic presence from the hostile parallel dimension known as the Upside Down. However, Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink) finds herself still reeling from the death of her brother, Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery). Tormented by the trauma and her guilt, she has separated from her boyfriend, Lucas Sinclair (McLaughlin), leaving her alone.


Through Max's pain, the inter-dimensional being Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower) invades her mind and marks her for death. When her time comes to be killed, Max manages to escape with the help of her friends and her favorite song, Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill." However, their actions did not rid Max of the curse. In a daring attempt to destroy Vecna, Max allowed Vecna to return to her mind with the hope that her compatriots could kill the telepathic monster. However, their attack came moments too late as Max was killed by Vecna, leaving her lifeless body in the arms of a devastated Lucas.

Related: Max's Horrifying Stranger Things 4 Ending Was The Right Choice

THR caught up with McLaughlin, who discussed the difficulties of shooting Max's intense death scene. According to the actor, he did not even know that he was going to be filming that particular scene that day. When asked how many takes he did of the moment, the actor revealed that he had shot a lot. Read what McLaughlin said about shooting the scene below.

"A lot. (Laughs.) They did close-ups on me and then close-ups on Sadie and then wide angles of us together. And each time, I really had to keep the emotion of the scene. And then, two weeks later, we had to do it again because Millie [Bobby Brown] had to be in the scene for The Void. And we were in the cold water — such cold water — and I had to cry again. It was really exhausting, but it was great."

Eleven Brings Max Back To Life

Although it is typical for a scene to be shot many times, McLaughlin had the unique experience of shooting the scene in the Creel House set as well as in The Void due to the fact that Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) had to telepathically enter Max's mind from over 1,000 miles away to assist her fight. To film the scene multiple times while attempting to tap into a heightened emotional state must have been tough for the young actor. Although Sink was included in the scene, her performance required less effort as a lifeless body while McLaughlin needed to relive the moment of Max's death again and again.

The heart-wrenching scene proved to be one of the season's most powerful. But in a hopeful move, as the finale later insinuated, Eleven managed to restart Max's heart, bringing her friend back to life. However, the Duffer brothers confirmed that Max is brain-dead and blind following her battle with Vecna. With Lucas holding on to hope for Max's further resurrection, Eleven faces a nearly insurmountable challenge to completely revive her when Stranger Things returns for season 5.