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Without a doubt, one of the most anticipated returns this fall is the second installment of Netflix’s Stranger Things. The new season, which hits the streaming service next month, once again finds the small town of Hawkins, Indiana, under siege from an interdimensional threat and Will (Noah Schnapp) dealing with PTSD-like visions of the Upside Down.
But in between the scares, the core friends — Will, Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) — visit their local arcade The Palace. This is 1984, after all.
Series creators Matt and Ross Duffer gave EW an exclusive peak at a script (along with their own annotations) from Things 2, featuring The Palace and the introduction of one of the second season’s most important new characters, Max (Sadie Sink).
1. “Our very first idea for season 2 was to introduce a local arcade (named The Palace, in a nod to WarGames!). We love board games but in truth have spent more time playing videogames (too much time, our mom might say), so we wanted to weave them into the fabric of the show. An added bonus: every game in the arcade worked, so we got to play between takes!”
2. “Keith is a new character who works at The Palace. He’s several years older than our boys, but he’s somehow less mature. The only thing he likes more than Cheetos is Nancy.”
3. “We always try to make sure that — when faced with a dilemma — our boys have different perspectives and solutions. This makes for fun conflict and helps further define their characters. The problem they’re facing in this scene is not exactly life or death: Are they willing to hook Keith up with Nancy in exchange for Mad Max’s identity? We like that Mike stands up for Nancy here; he may be a jerk to her in person, but deep down, he’s very protective of his sister. We feel this is very typical sibling behavior. Not that we would know anything about that….”
4. “The slang ‘wastoid’ became popular after The Breakfast Club, which was released February 1985, four months after our new season takes place. But it’s such a great insult that we couldn’t help but fudge history a bit here. It was also a fun way for us to tip our hat to the great John Hughes.”
5. “‘Focus our attention on Will’ is really a sign of things to come this season, as our main storyline centers on Will and his recovery. Just because Will was rescued from the Upside Down doesn’t mean he’s safe…”
Stranger Things 2 arrives on Netflix on Oct. 27.