Why Billy Warned Max to Stay Away from Lucas

If you found yourself waiting for Stranger Things 2’s Billy to hurl a racial insult at Lucas, you weren’t alone. Dacre Montgomery, the actor who plays Billy, initially had the same impression when he first read the script. However, Billy’s character evolved as Montgomery gained a deeper understanding.

Billy’s treatment of Max, warning her to stay away from Lucas, reveals his true colors. He looms over Max, adopting a menacing and familiar tone that resonates with many viewers. “Stay away from him, you hear me? Stay away,” he commands. Simply put, Billy is not a pleasant person. In Episode 8, “The Mind Flayer,” we learn why: his father is abusive, homophobic, and an even bigger jerk than Billy himself. Nevertheless, this explanation does not excuse or justify his behavior. Billy remains an unpleasant character, driven by toxic masculinity. Consequently, many fans questioned whether he is also racist.

In Episode 9, when Billy storms into the Byer house to confront “King” Steve Harrington and forcibly take Max home, you might have cringed, especially when he forcefully pushes Lucas against a bookcase and screams in his face. Like many others, you may have expected Billy to use a racial slur during this outburst.

Montgomery himself anticipated this when he first read the script. In an interview with the Huffington Post, he admitted, “When I first started reading the scenes between Billy and Lucas, I thought, ‘Oh, he’s a racist jerk.'”

However, as Montgomery delved deeper into the character, his perspective changed.

He described the language used by Billy and his father as “extremely jarring” and revealed that some of it was toned down or removed from the final cut. However, in the case of his father’s homophobic slur, Montgomery believed it was necessary to retain it in the script.

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“This one instance in the episode really needed to be left in,” he explained. “It communicates so much about the time and how this particular character freely uses this word. It speaks volumes beyond just how awful my character’s father is. It’s the start of something bigger. Matt and Ross Duffer [the creators of Stranger Things] and I discussed the importance of humanizing the villain and portraying Billy as a real person.”

Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean we should sympathize with Billy. In fact, Montgomery hinted at a much darker side to Billy’s character in the upcoming season, saying, “There’s something far more sinister going on with Billy. We’ll see how that unfolds.”

Interested in catching up on Stranger Things? Season 2 is now available to stream on Netflix.

Billy and Lucas

Billy and Max

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