The long-awaited return of Stranger Things introduced fans to a bunch of new characters to the franchise, including new party member Max (Sadie Sink) and her awful older brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery).
And while Stranger Things 2 has been praised for pushing the horror and mystery of Hawkins, Indiana, in new and interesting ways, Billy has been derided among fans of the series. But Montgomery defended his character after the series premiere, discussing Billy's thought process with Huffington Post.
"When I first started reading the description between Billy and Lucas, I was like, 'Oh, you know, he's a racist dick," admitted Montgomery, referring to a scene in the series when Billy sees his little sister hanging out with Lucas.
"There are certain type of people in this world that you stay away from, and that kid, Max, that kid is one of them," Billy says. "You stay away from him, you hear me? Stay away."
Though the racist implications are far from subtle, Montgomery's opinion on the character changed.
"I think he feels threatened. Like I said, these male figures in his life, whether it's Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Steve (Joe Keery), his dad (Will Chase), whoever these different characters that embody his world are ... if Max is that one constant, he knows he needs to drop off and look after [her].
"If any of these characters object with that person and his relationship with that person, it's a threatened kind of behavior," Montgomery said. "It's that animalistic side of like, 'You're threatening my sibling, my world. What are you doing? Who is this boy who’s trying to weave his way into my life through my sister?'"
The Duffer Brothers have stated they wanted to introduce a new human antagonist unrelated to the issues of the Upside Down or the Hawkins Lab. Montgomery, no matter what fans think of the character he plays, definitely fits that bill, though the show does try to flesh out his character later on in a scene with his abusive father.
"There's also a far more sinister side to where everything is going through Billy in the future that we've only had very small discussions about, aside from his dad and maybe what it has truly turned him into [...] There’s something far more sinister going on with Billy. We'll see how that unfolds," Montgomery said.
We'll see if the show continues down that path when the show returns for its inevitable third season.
Stranger Things 2 is now streaming on Netflix.