“Stranger Things” producer Shawn Levy has spoken out recently, opposing the possibility of the series being turned into a long-running, spin-off filled Netflix franchise.
In the same breath, though, the producer of the hit Eighties nostalgia show have admitted that this decision isn’t necessarily within his control.
Speaking with Comic Book, Levy noted that the current focus is on making a solid, temporary show, but that things might change in the future:
“The notion of a franchise didn’t exist at Netflix before ‘Stranger Things’. And we’ve certainly seen our growth as we move into merchandising, as we move into partnerships, and promotional partnerships. We don’t speak of it as [a] franchise. We definitely want to do several more seasons. Beyond that, certainly this has become one of the flagship brands of Netflix. And they would like to see us telling these stories in whatever ways, and for as many years as possible.”
As much as Levy is eager to insist that nobody’s planning to franchise out “Stranger Things”, the fact that he’s even discussing this probably suggests that he’s heard rumblings within the company of a potential larger branding push in the future.
Netflix already happily made a second show for “Stranger Things” season two; an aftershow entitled “Beyond Stranger Things”, which probably did fairly well for the streaming service (although official figures are rarely released for this kind of thing).
It stands to reason that, in the long term, Netflix’s bigwigs will want to find a way to keep the show relevant once Millie Bobby Brown gets too expensive to hire. It’s only a matter of time.
The Duffer Brothers may have created this show, but there’s a lot of wiggle room to tell stories that don’t involve the core cast of characters from Hawkins, Indiana.
For example, we could have a prequel, detailing the experiments that created Eleven, or giving more details on her mother’s quest to find her.
Alternatively, what about a show about journalist-cum-private eye Murray Bauman, travelling the world investigating spooky events, and convincing teenagers to fornicate?
Or, the idea that jumps off the page the easiest: a show about Kali Prasad, Eleven’s sister, and her band of outlaw misfits?
This kind of show would go some way to retroactively justifying the seventh episode of season two, which many people were annoyed at because it didn’t seem to fit the flow of the season up to that point.
So the big question isn’t whether or not a shared “Stranger Things” universe would work, but whether it should happen.
Considering the fact that one of the big strengths of “Stranger Things” is its tight narrative, would additional shows and stories simply end up bloating this universe?
It likely all depends on the way it’s laid out. In theory, a “Stranger Things” spin-off could help to make this world feel even more rich and interesting – so long as it’s handled in a way that’s more than just a cynical attempt to keep people watching Netflix for longer periods.
Netflix has been struggling with content quality as of late, so if this spin-off is to happen, the service will need to make sure that it’s well built and rewarding for existing fans of the “Stranger Things” universe.
As such, don’t expect it to show up any time soon – for now, the platform is better off relying on the main “Stranger Things” series, and using a spin-off as an emergency back up plan in a few years’ time if it gets more difficult to compete with whatever streaming service Disney is gearing up to launch.