You may not know that Stranger Things 4 Fan-Favorite character Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) was inspired by a real person named Damien Echols, who got entangled in a tragic real-life Satanic Panic witch hunt. Echols was one of the West Memphis Three, three teens who were wrongfully convicted for the homicide of three eight-year-old boys in 1994.
Stranger Things co-creator Ross Duffer talked about this in an interview with Netflix, saying: “Something we really wanted to get into this year was the satanic panic. So that brought us back to the Paradise Lost documentary series with the [West] Memphis Three, and it brought us back to Damien Echols. We really wanted that character who’s a metal head, he’s into Dungeons & Dragons, he’s ultimately a true nerd at heart. But from an outsider’s point of view, they may go, ‘This is someone that is scary.'”
Echols has now delivered his reaction and opinions on the character that he inspired sharing the following tweet: “In case anyone else is wondering, I was tremendously honored by it. And I greatly appreciate all the new eyes and hearts it has brought to our fight. I was watching it at 3 am in the morning, and when I heard the very first chords from ‘Master of Puppets’, my heart exploded.”
Echols was released from prison in 2011, and since then, has been working as an artist and campaigner. He and his co-defendants, Jessie Misskelley Jr., and Jason Baldwin were also released after spending 18 years in prison. They were told that the only way they would be released is if they decided on an Alford plea. This permitted them to maintain their innocence while admitting there was evidence to convict them. However, they are still working on obtaining a full exoneration for the offenses.