Amy L. Forsythe, one of the lead makeup artists on Stranger Things, says Nancy and Robin's academic disguises almost looked very different. Stranger Things first premiered on Netflix in 2016, and has since grown to become one of the streaming service's flagship series. Having received mass critical acclaim and a slew of awards, including 51 Emmy nominations and seven wins, Stranger Things has gone on to become a huge franchise of its own, with a book series, graphic novels, and games. There is also talk of potential spinoffs.
First introduced in Stranger Things season 3, Robin Buckley (Maya Hawke) was quick to become a fan-favorite character for her quirky personality. Season 4 saw Robin teaming up with Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), in a partnership that was eagerly awaited by fans. Though their dynamic got off to a rocky start, with Nancy's no-nonsense personality clashing with Robin's more clumsy, eager one, the pair had some impressive scenes throughout Stranger Things season 4. Episode 4, "Dear Billy," saw Nancy and Robin disguising themselves as prim and proper college students in an attempt to get an audience with Victor Creel, much to Robin's chagrin. However, that wasn't always the costume design for the pivotal scene.
In an interview with Insider, makeup artist Forsythe says that the original plan wasn't to make the girls look academic, but "hotter." Forsythe says that the original script had Nancy and Robin looking more "aged up," rather than looking like professional academics. Read Forsythe's comment below:
"Natalia, Maya, Devin, and I played around a lot. We were trying to find what these girls would do when they're trying to age up. So it was scripted that they were hotter, I guess. But then that version went away and it became more academic."
Stranger Things' Forsythe (who recently discussed Eddie Munson's tattoos) also says that, while they wanted Nancy and Robin to look older, it was important that they didn't look "modern and who they are on Instagram." While one might wonder what those alternate undercover costumes might've looked like, it is safe to say that Stranger Things went in the right direction. The main goal was to make Nancy and Robin look more mature, and that was achieved with their academic outfits. That fits with Stranger Things' overall themes as well; while the series has put its younger characters into dark, heavy situations, it has always maintained that they remain kids. Therefore, Nancy and Robin shouldn't have needed to unnecessarily age themselves up in a provocative way.
Though the idea of Nancy and Robin needing to appear more mature remained the same, making the girls appear more academic than simply "hotter" certainly shifted the tone of the scene. Rather than being about their looks, Stranger Things season 4 focused on their smarts and wits. Making Nancy and Robin look older by sexualizing them doesn't fit with either characters' personalities, especially given Robin's speech in episode 4 about sexism. In the end, putting the pair in academic costuming made the scene more comedic and innocently charming, and has firmly secured the scene as a memorable Stranger Things moment.