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Warning: Full spoilers for Stranger Things: Season 1 follow.
Officially, Stranger Things hasn’t been renewed for Season 2 by Netflix, but don\'t worry, it will be.
The streaming service didn’t announce the show would return at their TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour day last week, despite doing a panel for the series. But all you need to do is see the incredibly positive response the show is getting -- and the fact that Netflix has, so far, brought back every one of their original live-action series for a second season -- to know Season 2 is inevitable.
Shortly after the panel, I sat down with the creators of Stranger Things, brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, to talk about the reaction the series is getting and where Season 2 could go, in the wake of how the first season ended.
Note: Some quotes from this interview were recently used in a piece on Stranger Things\' unanswered questions.
And just in case, here’s one more big spoiler warning for the first season!
IGN: You work on the show for a long time and then it all goes up at once, which I assume is both exciting and nerve-racking. It’s gotten such positive response, though. Is it just like “okay, we can breathe now?”
Ross Duffer: Yes. It’s a relief. We’ve never had anything go into the world like this. We just finished it, and I think like two days later reviews started coming out. We turned in the last visual effects shot, walked away and then reviews and then a week later, it was all on [Netflix] and everybody was watching it. I remember waking up Friday morning to all these tweets of people that had finished the show already. It’s been a whirlwind for sure and I think it’s bizarre, but in the best way. When we made the show and came up with it we were like “If we could make any show we wanted to see, what would it be?” This is what we came up with but it was always very personal and catered to our own taste and so it’s such a relief and so exciting that it appealed to all these other people. It’s been amazing. Because really, we were such a small bubble and it was such a small team that was making the show. It wasn’t a big machine. So it’s just exciting and crazy that people responded like they did.
IGN: The inclusion of the homages and references has gone over so well, but of course it\'s a fine line. There’s the other version where people are like “it’s just an echo,” but it didn’t feel that way. Was it hard for you guys to make sure you had those references but were also telling your story?
Matt Duffer: This is probably just us being naive but I wasn’t expecting so much of the focus to be on the references. I didn’t realize that was going to happen until that first trailer came out. And it was really cool but also really scary because then you’re being compared to stuff that is iconic. It’s good and bad. When we were writing it, honestly, we weren’t thinking about it so much. It was like “We love Stephen King and we love Spielberg and John Carpenter and we love Silent Hill” and so we were trying to infuse it with all the things that we love. I was thinking a lot about -- it was funny because I went a month or so ago and saw Midnight Special, which Jeff Nichols did, and I was thinking about that because it was weird - he has a child with powers and nosebleeds and we were doing the same thing simultaneously. He was obviously very much inspired by the same guys we were. But when it’s filtered through Jeff Nichols so it’s unmistakably a Jeff Nichols movie. It feels like he’s all over that. So even though he was inspired by that, it’s very unique to him. The hope is that we have very specific sensibilities and things we like and don’t like and a specific way we write dialogue and specific pacing that we like so that it feels unique enough to people and doesn’t just feel like mimicry which would be the worst thing.
IGN: They didn’t announce Season 2 today… even though it’s coming.
Matt: I know, I know! It didn’t happen today!
IGN: Netflix the same thing last year with Sense 8. They had a panel here and didn’t announce the renewal and then a few weeks later they did. Regadless, let me ask you some ‘where you might go’ questions. Where do you see the show picking up, timeline-wise? Of course, you have to deal with the kids clearly getting older.
Matt: Yeah, you have to do the Harry Potter thing. You have to jump a year. Because like Gaten [Matarazzo], his voice has already dropped quite a bit, to the point where we couldn’t even do ADR with him. We had to pitch it way up. It’s dropped. He’s grown. As much as I would love to have it be Christmas right after that, it’s just not feasible, so we’re going to skip a year. They’ll be a year older and all their changes they’re going through, we’ll take that into account and kind of work that into the show.
Ross: It’s also just exciting having these initial conversations about it because the jump allows us to say “what happened in that year?” It actually opens up a lot more storytelling possibilities. These characters have changed and the audience has to sort of fill in those gaps of what went on in that year. To us, it’s exciting. So the fact that we have to make this jump, because of the kids, we’re trying to use that to our advantage.
IGN: You could have a comic book of the year in between.
Ross Duffer: That’s a great idea! But what I really want is a video game.
Matt: Like an 8-bit… These fans, a lot of them have done this 8-bit video game art that’s blowing my mind.
IGN: I did tweet today that you guys have to do merchandise.
Matt: I agree! I was talking to Netflix about it today. I was pushing it, like “get the soundtrack out.” They haven’t done a lot of it in the past but I’m hoping that they do for this show.
Ross Duffer: If they don’t do it, other people are already doing it.
Matt: They’re selling T-shirts! It’s like “You’re losing money! Let’s make some cool s**t!”
IGN: What can you say about where Eleven is? That’s a very open question, of course, since there are different worlds you’re dealing with here.
Ross: It is. We wanted to leave it purposefully ambiguous. We always, from the very beginning, liked this sort of childlike idea that this escapee from this facility with these amazing powers would be able to just move into MIke’s basement and they’d have this wonderful life together and she’d go to school. It’s not that simple. The goal is to make it as complicated as possible, and without going into too much detail, to really tear them apart at the end of that season, to make things much more difficult. But we love Eleven.
Matt: But the great thing about having a portal to another dimension is that you’re not boxed in, narratively. There’s a lot we can do.
Ross: What did James Cameron say? No one’s ever dead in sci-fi.
Continue on as the Duffer Brothers talk about how characters have been affected by the Upside Down and viewer reaction to Barb\'s death.
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