Sorry, Max, Billy, and Dustin’s new hairdo — the real breakout star of Stranger Things 2 is Erica Sinclair, the He-Man-stealing, syrup-loving younger sister of Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), who proved to be scarier, sassier, and cuter than any demogorgon.
Played by 11-year-old Priah Ferguson, the character became an instant fan favorite thanks to her hilarious (to us, probably not so much to Lucas) tormenting of her older brother. “I can’t believe it,” she tells EW of the positive reaction. “I knew people would be excited, but I didn’t think it would be like this.”
The Atlanta native, whose biggest pre-Stranger credit was fittingly a small guest role on FX’s Atlanta, knew little of the Netflix hit before she was cast, and got some guidance from her family of “horror fans.” Among them was her own little sister, which means Ferguson is no stranger to sibling dynamics. But despite Erica and Lucas’ antagonistic relationship, Ferguson enjoyed her time on set with the 16-year-old McLaughlin, whom she adorably describes as an “amazing gentleman.”
As much as she loved Erica taunting her brother, it was picking on Lucas’ partner in crime that was Ferguson’s favorite moment of the season. “The walkie-talkie one was super-fun to me,” she says of the scene where Dustin’s (Gaten Matarazzo) desperate attempts to get in touch with Lucas for a “code red” are thwarted by Erica retorting with a “code shut your mouth.”
“I thought that was so hysterical,” she says. “Filming that scene was so much fun.” While it may seem that Erica has it out for Lucas and his friends, Ferguson believes she’d get along great with Eleven and Max “because [Lucas] is finally hanging out with a girl.”
Ferguson may only be 11, but when asked if she’ll be back for Stranger Things 3, she’s an old pro, responding with a laugh, “I don’t know anything, so you might want to talk to the Duffer Brothers” (Matt and Ross, the show’s creators). And yet, that lack of knowledge doesn’t mean she hasn’t come up with her own ideas for what Erica could be up to in the next installment.
“It would be cool if I were back, and maybe also get into fighting the demogorgons, because my response from when I was looking through Lucas’ room for He-Man, I think is a little clue that Erica may be sneaky and may find something from the demogorgon,” she theorizes. But how would her feisty character react upon encountering a creature that has caused so much damage to her hometown? “She’ll probably be like, ‘What the heck?!'”
And if the brief history of Stranger Things tells us anything, it’s that an extreme passion for breakfast foods is key to taking down monsters.
Strangers Things 2 is now streaming on Netflix.