Stranger Things has been on Netflix for less than a month, but already fans are itching for a second season.
Set in small-town Indiana in the 1980s, the series follows Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) as she searches for her missing son after he disappears under mysterious circumstances. She enlists the help of local authorities in her quest to locate the boy, though she uncovers a series of government experiments and supernatural forces along the way.
Big spoiler alert: (Skip this paragraph if you haven’t watched the finale!) Her son, Will (Noah Schnapp) is saved in the end, but there’s somewhat of a lingering question as to how his time in the Upside-Down dimension has affected him.
But fans may be waiting a while to find out what’s next. Netflix did not officially announce a second season during the Television Critics Association’s press tour on Wednesday. “We always want to take some time to be thoughtful on the process,” Netflix chief Ted Sarandos said. “When we first come out of the gate with something, we have an idea where it’s going to go, but it’s sensible for us to let the show breathe.”
In the meantime, executive producers Matt and Ross Duffer already have ideas about season 2. “We hint at where we might go at the end of the season,” Matt Duffer said. “Will was living in this Upside-Down, this other dimension, for about a week, so the repercussions of that can’t be good. [The] inter-dimensional rift is still very much open, so that also can’t be good… There’s a bigger mythology behind what happened. It’s open-ended in a way that if people wanted it, if Netflix wanted it, we could explore and continue this storyline.”
Reiterating their plans for season 2 to be a sequel, Ross Duffer explained: “It’s like Carol Anne goes missing in Poltergeist. You get Carol Anne back. That, to me, feels like a movie. In the sequels, you’re still following that family as terrible things happen. It’s a different tension and characters are dealing with different things.”
“There’s another main tension and that season will be entirely about resolving that tension,” Matt Duffer added. “It’s going to have a different structure… We want to retain the tone, but all our favorite sequels feel a little different. It’s not about just taking another monster and it’s a bigger, badder monster. We want it to feel a little bit different, maybe a little bit darker, but still have the sense of fun that we had.”
But it won’t have a different cast — for now. “We realized that we were falling in love with these characters and that the audience would fall in love with these characters, so the plan would be to treat it like a sequel, where there’s a different tension, but at the same time staying with these characters for a little bit longer,” Ross Duffer said. “You’ll reach a point eventually where you’re like, ‘Why don’t these people just leave this town?’ I don’t know how long.”
“We’re TV fans,” Matt Duffer added. “There are shows you fall in love with and at a certain point they lose you. That’s my nightmare. ‘Stranger Things was really great the first two seasons and then I stopped watching it.’ That’s what I’m terrified of. The idea would be do it as long as it feels natural and organic to tell the story. When it feels like [we] should bring it to a close, I think Netflix would support that.”
Whatever the new tension may be, it will provide a crescendo of intensity in season 2, whereas the first season kicked off on a heightened note. “In terms of this season, Will is taken within the first 10 minutes,” Ross Duffer said. “The first scene with Joyce, with Winona, is she realizes her son’s gone. We’re excited, if we get a chance to go back, that [we] could ramp up more and more. Joyce isn’t at an 11 from the beginning. We’re excited about the possibilities.”
When Netflix does decide to renew the series, Ross Duffer promised they’ll “move as fast as we can” to get it to the fans. “The challenge is that it’s such a small group of us that were making it,” he said. “We try to make it as much like a movie as possible. We have ideas, but we just finished the series. It’s not like it was a two month delay after we finished. We were doing visual effects shots up until last minute and then it went on Netflix right after we finished and people watched it. It was a crazy whirlwind.”
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