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Entertainment Weekly

How [spoiler] was originally supposed to die in Stranger Things

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There were nine hour-long episodes of Stranger Things 2, the sequel to the Duffer Brothers’ runaway Netflix hit from last year, but for the avid binge-watchers who managed to consume them in a single marathon session, that’s just not enough. Enter Beyond Stranger Things, an aftershow on Netflix hosted by writer and actor Jim Rash. Featuring interviews with the Duffers, the cast of Stranger Things 2, and director Shawn Levy, Beyond Stranger Things provides behind-the-scenes secrets — and a glimpse at what changed from the season’s earliest scripts to what actually ended up appearing on our screens. Spoilers follow.

1. Will almost killed Joyce’s lovable boyfriend Bob (Sean Astin) in the car as Bob was giving advice on how to stand up to bullies

In the show, Bob drives Will to school and tells him about standing up to the terrifying clown Mr. Baldo in his dreams. An early draft of the script had Will — in a moment in which he’s completely overtaken by the Mind Flayer — kill Bob. The Duffer Brothers loved working with Sean Astin so much and were so impressed by the depth he brought to the character that they decided to keep him around longer. Astin also insisted that if Bob were to die, it would have to be heroic. Fortunately — or unfortunately — he got his wish.

2. Mike and Eleven weren’t going to reunite until the Snow Ball

The season’s final scene has the entire gang coming together for a school dance in their gymnasium. Originally, the dance was going to be when best friends Eleven and Mike would see each other for the first time, but ultimately the team decided to have that happen an episode earlier with, as director Shawn Levy calls it, the “awesome, badass entrance of Eleven.”

3. The Duffer Brothers began writing the second season before the first season had even been released

Even though they hadn’t gotten an official green light, Netflix wanted them to put a writers’ room together to begin to generate ideas without the baggage of expectations or what fans might want.

4. In the script, the Upside Down is actually called the Nether

The characters call it the Upside Down, but while they were filming the first season, the cast always thought of it as the Nether.

5. The arcade games the characters play set up the thematic arc of the season

Just as Dungeons & Dragons foreshadowed what would happen in the first Stranger Things, the video games that they play in Stranger Things 2 have some sneaky metaphorical importance. Dig Dug is meant to evoke the tunnels below Hawkins that Will draws, and Dragon’s Lair set up the love triangle between Dustin and Lucas, arguing about who would rescue “Princess Daphne,” a.k.a. Max.

6. Ghostbusters is more than just a Halloween costume theme

Lucas’ line in episode 8 about “Judgment Day” is an intentional reference to the 1984 film — a standout serious scene in an overwhelmingly comedic movie where Winston discusses the idea of Judgment Day to Ray.

7. The real basketball coach who trained Dacre Montgomery and Joe Keery is dressed as the basketball coach during their characters’ game at school

Montgomery (who plays Billy) had no idea how to play basketball before this show, and even surprised himself when he was able to make the under-the-leg basket.

8. The Duffer Brothers were originally going to kill Eleven at the end of the first season

Okay, so this isn’t from Beyond Stranger Things, but during a Q&A at Chapman University, Ross Duffer explained that the show could have ended very differently: “Maybe I shouldn’t say this because I like to pretend that it was all planned out, but it was originally pitched as a limited series. So it was like, Eleven was gonna sacrifice herself and save the world and then that was gonna be it, because there was a moment where limited series were a big deal.”

Beyond Stranger Things and Stranger Things 2 are both streaming on Netflix.

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