‘Stranger Things’ Director Talks Season Two, Will Byers, and the Future of the Series

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Netflix)

Stranger Things was the enormous surprise hit of last year’s Netflix season. After taking the world by storm with its creepy eighties nostalgia vibe, the show’s return in October is one of the most anticipated events on the pop-culture calendar.

Apparently, though, we can’t expect a nice, neatly tied up story this time around. While the first season had a more or less self-contained story that only left a few questions unanswered, this time around the Duffer Brothers’ ideas are simply too big, too grand, to be told in a mere nine episode run.

At least, that’s what executive producer and director Shawn Levy claims, having spoken about the show at a recent Netflix event:

“As the episodes were written by the Duffers, they realized that there was too much story for nine episodes. So it forced us to be judicious in which stories we tell this season,” Levy pointed out. “So one of the surprises was, not all of our grand ideas are going to be serviced in one season… If we had 40 ideas going into the season, 30 [we] are going to pick, and the rest go in the back of our head for, hopefully, future chapters.”

There’s some good and bad to this announcement.

On the downside, this means that once October rolls around, we’ll only have a few short hours of Stranger Things bliss before what will likely be a cliffhanger ending of Empire Strikes Back proportions, and the wait for new episodes will begin all over again.

Source: Netflix

On the plus side, though, the fact that the Duffer Brothers are already planning a third season (whether or not Netlflix has officially greenlit the project, but let’s face it, of course they will), means that the writers will be able to slip in a lot more clever references, foreshadowing, and hints at the future.

Speaking further, Levy expressed his utter amazement at the skill that the young stars of the show are showing – not least the face of Will Byers, who’ll have a far larger role this time around:

“When we cast the kids, we cast Noah Schnapp as Will Byers knowing that he was only in a small amount of Season 1 because he was missing. And we cast him because we knew that kid was special. Even if we weren’t going to call on his full reservoir of abilities in Season 1,” Levy said. “Will Byers is very much at the center of Season 2. Noah steps up in the most staggering way. The Duffers and I, depending on who’s directing when, we keep sending texts to each other going, ‘holy shit, Noah is crushing it’ and we knew he had it in him, and it’s really now to get in that moment, and put him firmly in the thick of story.”

Finally, while Levy hesitated at suggesting that the show will become political, he did suggest that the underdog vibe of the first season has been amplified somewhat thanks to the results of last year’s presidential election:

“The truth is, a lot of us have strong feelings. We’re wary about using Stranger Things, popular as it is, as some kind of soapbox or pulpit. There’s no question that at the bedrock of Stranger Things has always been this theme of the ones on the margin. The kids, the teens, the adults, everyone’s a little bruised — no one quite fits in, in a “normal” mainstream, popular way,” he noted. “I think the reason you have the show embraced, the way you have Barb embraced, is because everyone feels a little bit like that outcast, and our [series] shows the heroic in the difference. I love that about our show. That isn’t necessarily a literal commentary on things we see going on, but if it’s an unintentional commentary on our times, I’m thrilled by that.”

So it sounds like work on Stranger Things’ second season is progressing well, and that, if we’re very lucky, this next season will be even better than what we got the first time around.

It’s such a shame we have to wait all the way until October!

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