Warning: This story contains spoilers from Stranger Things season 3.
Long live, Bob Newby! The character, played by The Goonies’ alum Sean Astin, was a large part of Stranger Things season 2, as a dorky yet sweet love interest for Joyce (Winona Ryder), much to the chagrin of Hopper (David Harbour). Astin exited the show, however, when Bob was killed in an effort to be the hero.
And that he was. In the first episode of season 3, Joyce realizes her magnets fell off the refrigerator along with Will’s (Noah Schnapp) drawing from season 2 of “BOB NEWBY, SUPERHERO.” Joyce looks at the drawing before putting it back on display.
Later in the episode, after she turns down Hopper for a dinner date because she has “plans,” she warms up a microwave dinner and sits in front of the TV to watch Cheers, alone. With that, she remembers. Bob shows up sitting next to her, with his arm around her, as they watch the show together and laugh at the dialogue between Sam and Diane.
“Ah, they’re funny don’t you think?” he asks her. “I just wish they’d get back together again already!” She answers, “Me too,” and kisses him. However, Joyce then snaps back to reality as she’s alone in her living room.
Bob appears again in episode 3, when Joyce and Hopper return to the place he was killed. While walking in a dark room, she sees his death — attack by demodog — happen all over again, in front of her eyes.
It was an unexpected treat to see Astin, 48, again in season 3 after he quickly became a fan-favorite in season 2 — something the actor never thought would happen.
“The Duffers and [director] Shawn Levy were so insistent that you have no idea how much people are going to like Bob. I’ve been around a long time, and I’ve done a lot of things, and sometimes things hit when you don’t realize it and sometimes things you think are going to hit don’t,” the Rudy vet told Variety in 2017. “The positive response to Bob has been heartwarming for me, but it also kind of forced me to think about what it was that they liked so much. And what I’ve kind of appreciated way more after watching the response is how much people want and need for there to be nice, decent people in the world. And that a stepfather or a wannabe stepdad who can come into your life and may be a little bit awkward but just wants to make it work — there’s no hesitation from Bob. Bob isn’t questioning where the relationship is going. Bob is all in.”
Astin also added that there was no need for a “#JusticeforBob” campaign, like there was for Barb after season 1, because he got justice.
“He died in the line of duty. Bob had a skill set equal to the moment, and he did his job to save his girl and her family because he knew how, so that’s it. It’s a sad, tragic death,” the Academy Award nominee added. “It might be nice to have a little moment for him, but they gave him that, too — that little drawing that Will does of Bob Newby, Superhero. That’s a better hashtag than #JusticeforBob. Everybody knows what Bob did, and Bob died heroically.”
Stranger Things season 3 is now streaming on Netflix.
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