Here's How That Epic Stranger Things 4 Guitar Scene Came Together

"Stranger Things" season 4, volume 2 is finally out on Netflix. If you haven't watched the last two episodes (or at least an hour into episode 9), look away. There are spoilers ahead. You have been warned, so don't send a Demodog after me or anything. 

/Film participated in a roundtable interview with Joseph Quinn who plays Eddie Munson in the series, who told us how the whole guitar scene came together. If you haven't watched and don't care about spoilers, here's the deal. Eddie and Dustin (the cutest pairing after Steve and Dustin) have put nails in trash can lids to make spiked shields and gathered weapons ... including his ax. Guitar, I mean. 

As part of a four-phase plan to defeat Vecna, Eddie and Dustin are charged with distracting the bat monsters while Nancy, Steve, and Robin hunt down and kill the otherworldly villain. Max plans to act as Vecna bait while Lucas guards her and Erica coordinates the teams. Standing on top of Eddie's Upside Down trailer, Dustin plugs in the amp and keeps an eye on the approaching Demobats while Eddie absolutely shreds Metallica's "Master of Puppets." I'm talking serious guitar here, and I live with a guitar player who shreds, so I know of what I speak. 

Quinn recalled that he read the scripts for volume 1 and got a couple of "quite elusive texts" from showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer, asking if he played guitar. He replied yes, but they didn't message back. Then he got the scripts for the final episodes, and he read them ... and then went out and bought a guitar to start "practicing a lot."

One hell of a solo

Quinn revealed that this was the first scene they shot when they got back after the Christmas break, adding:

"We were still quite deep in the throes of the pandemic and it still felt a little scary. I remember it was a really lovely atmosphere on set, because it felt like the first time that the crew and myself had been in an environment where there was live music being played and it was great fun and everyone was quite excited to be there."

Remember concerts? Sigh. The before times. Watching felt a little like going back to one, complete with bat monsters. He continued:

"The scale of it was just hilarious. We had these drone shots and we were playing 'Master of Puppets' in the Upside Down. That doesn't happen every day and so it felt very fun. I was overwhelmed by just the inventiveness of that whole sequence and their brilliance to put that in. I don't think there's very many worlds where a Metallica concert wouldn't feel ridiculous as a crescendo to a season. It feels totally earned and it feels silly, but it feels right and it feels just inspired and I felt so lucky to be able to have a [part of it]."

Fortunately, Metallica are Stranger Things fans

Wanting to stage an epic moment around a particular song is one thing, but actually getting the clearance to use the song is another. Nora Felder, the music supervisor for "Stranger Things," has previously said that she had to put together a detailed breakdown of the scenes in which she wanted to feature Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill," because the artist is very selective about licensing her music.

Speaking to Variety, Felder said that she was more confident about getting clearance to use "Master of Puppets" for Eddie's guitar solo, since they had learned while clearing the use of "The Four Horsemen" in season 2 that Metallica are fans of "Stranger Things." In fact, the Duffer Brothers had even woven that specific song into the script during pre-production. Felder explained:

"It was another one of those 'it has to be this song,' moments. This part of the story was anticipated to be a pivotal and especially hair-raising scene in which Eddie heroically stood tall for the fight of his life. I believe the Duffer Brothers felt that playing 'Master of Puppets' throughout the extended scene was the clear choice. No other song was discussed further, and we jumped in to clear it straight away."

Needless to say, Metallica saw the epic potential of the sequence and signed off on the use of "Master of Puppets." Though it's not actually Joseph Quinn you hear playing in the show, he did have to learn to play the song so his performance looked convincing. "Joseph did take time to learn the guitar riff and was actually playing along to a guide track," Felder confirmed. "Everyone thought he did a great job."

"Stranger Things" season 4 is now streaming on Netflix.