The Starcourt from Stranger Things 3 is an ACTUAL mall
[SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED STRANGER THINGS 3!]
One of the biggest scene-stealers of Stranger Things 3 isn’t human at all. The Starcourt Mall features prominently into the plot of ST3 both above ground (Steve works at the ice cream shop Scoops Ahoy) and below (The Russians have a secret base underneath Starcourt).
While typically something like the Starcourt would be created on a soundstage, the production team on ST3 actually used a real-life mall. “We found a half abandoned mall on the outskirts of Atlanta that allowed us to literally take over the entire mall, reface its outside, rebuild its innards,” explains executive producer Shawn Levy “So we would be shooting in this massive wing. Everything you see in season 3 is real, which allowed for big, long continuous takes from outside to inside, et cetera. But if you walked 50 yards in one direction, there were actual real 2019 people shopping at contemporary stores. So it was very surreal.” Sadly, the food court, including Orange Julius, was not operational. Says star Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin, “It’s all vintage props. I wouldn’t want to drink anything that was made out of those machines.”
The security and secrecy on the Stranger Things set is always government-secrets-level so it’s a true surprise that filming this close to everyday citizens didn’t bring about any leaks. “Everything about secrecy on this show is a challenge. Civilians and non-show people were not allowed to walk into our wing, but the truth is that we were there for months and months and months, and the amount of spoiler risks that were there everyday. Frankly, I’m knocking on wood very hard that we’ve made it to opening without spoiling much at all.”
Please let this now bring about an Orange Julius renaissance.