Stranger Things has easily become the biggest breakout TV series of 2016. As most of us are still struggling to come to terms with the fact that we have no more episodes of Netflix’s brilliant nostalgia-fueled adventure to binge on, we’re hungry for any news of the show’s impending second season. We’ve already heard from creators Matt and Ross Duffer about how the next season will be taking a page out of Harry Potter’s book – no, Eleven and the gang are not suddenly going to be enrolled in Hogwarts, but rather we will be following these kids as they grow up.
And chatting to IGN, Matt elaborated on it, explaining that they’re going to be jumping forward a year, but also explaining why this time jump is physically necessary.
“Yeah, you have to do the Harry Potter thing. You have to jump a year. Because like Gaten Matarazzo [who plays Dustin], 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.”
Besides for just giving them a way out of having to explain why they kids are suddenly a whole lot more grown-up now, the Duffer brothers also commented on how a one year time jump actually offers up some intriguing narrative possibilities.
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. … And how have these characters moved on with their lives and not just in the plot and supernatural [aspect] but also just in terms of their characters and what have they done to fill that time?”
Matt: “We like that they’ve all had a very traumatic, nightmare experience together and after it’s over they kind of try to sweep it all under the rug. Season 2 would be very differently, structurally. It would be that everything seems great on the surface, and then there are hints that things aren’t okay or that there are lingering effects from what happened last year. The initial instinct is to push that back and sweep that crap back under the rug but eventually it becomes impossible to ignore and so they have to confront the repercussions of everything they’ve experienced. I like to think about Stephen King’s It too. — that’s a big time jump. They jump like thirty years. But the idea that the evil is still there and comes back to haunt them and one of the characters finds out about it and kills themselves immediately. That image always stuck with me.”
Side-note: Stranger Things also has another cool connection to Stephen King’s It. As you may have heard, a new movie reboot is on the way. Originally, True Detective‘s Cary Fukunaga was developing it, but after ages in pre-production his version fell apart. Eventually though the project was revived with Mama‘s Andy Muschietti helming with a brand new script and cast. The one element that did transition from Fukunaga’s version to Muschietti’s though? Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike in Stranger Thing, has also been cast in It.
Matt: “It’s so weird!”
Ross: “But the weirder thing is that when we found him, we were like “this is Mike. This is our lead boy.” We were so excited and then we get a call from someone that’s like “So bad news, Cary Fukunaga is making a movie version of It and he cast Finn in it” and they were ahead of us by a month or so, so we lost him. We were excited for Cary’s movie but we were devastated to lose Finn. Then that of course fell apart, so we got Finn back. We shot this, that movie came back and then they took Finn again.”
Matt: “I think Finn is the only kid from Cary’s movie that got recast in this new version of It.”
Ross: “He’s going to have locked down that 80s kid dealing with monster thing. He’s going to have that in the bag.”
Matt: “It’s very weird that they bumped it and moved it to the 80s. That’s why it’s going to seem extra weird.
Ross: “But I also think it goes to show how few kids there are at this level. We didn’t know Cary was trying to cast. You just bump into them because you see 600 boys and the one we happened to pick was also in this.”
Matt: “It’s not a coincidence. There’s like ten kids that can operate at this level.”
How cool is that link? But back to that one-year gap… How will they fill it? Will we be getting some flashbacks, or maybe just hints dropped in the show? IGN suggested to the Duffers that a comic book would be a great way of telling that story, but the brothers have a MUUUUCH better idea of what they would like to see happen.
Ross: “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.”
8-Bit video game art is of course no the only way in which fans have responded, as the show has rapidly built up an almost fanatical following overnight since it debuted a few weeks back. And that was quite the pleasant surprise for the Duffers.
Ross: “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.”
One of the things that fans like myself have loved the most are all the homages and references to classic 1980’s movies and TV series. That’s something that the Duffers didn’t expect to become as big a deal as it did.
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.”
And just in case you forgot that the world is filled with people who wouldn’t know a good idea if it ran up to them and broke their arm with its telekinetic powers, the Duffer brothers revealed to Rolling Stone that before they found a home for the series at Netflix, it was either rejected A LOT or people wanted to remove all the best bits.
Matt estimates the brothers were rejected 15 to 20 times by various networks, while other execs had balked at the idea that the show featured four kids as lead characters but that it wasn’t TV for children. “You either gotta make it into a kids show or make it about this Hopper [detective] character investigating paranormal activity around town,” one told them. Matt recalls replying, “Then we lose everything interesting about the show.” Some other people they knew in the industry understood their vision and helped connect them with Netflix. “There was a week where we were like, ‘This isn’t going to work because people don’t get it,’” Matt says.
Luckily, people eventually got it. And now we’re just frantically counting down the days until we can get more of it.
Last Updated: August 11, 2016