'Stranger Things 2' Creators: 'We Wanted To Raise The Stakes'
Things are about to get even stranger in Hawkins, Ind.
That's the small town the Netflix series Stranger Things is set in. The second season of the instant cult classic set in the 1980s is released Friday, and it picks up about a year after the first adventure into the Upside Down, the defeat of the Demogorgon monster and Eleven's apparent disappearance.
Stranger Things is the brainchild of twin brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, who said that their tastes are very similar — but that they fight all the time. It's mostly about writing.
"Any other part of the process is, you have your blueprint," Ross says. "But when you're just staring at the blank page, doesn't matter — it's always terrifying."
"Every writer you meet, at least in Hollywood, is miserable," Matt says.
Now the show's central group of kids — Dustin, Lucas, Mike and Will — are a year older, and in this season you get a sense that they're growing up. Their story lines start to diverge and expand.
"It's fun, because we're able to balance different genres," Ross says. "I can do teen romance, and then I can jump to these little kids messing around to just the mom crying — an emotional scene. I like that we can jump around to different genres, but it's always a struggle, structurally, to get it to build the way we want it to."
They spoke in NPR's studio in Culver City, Calif.
On the character Eleven's new role
Matt Duffer: So that's probably the biggest difference for this season, in that Eleven is not with the boys, really. I mean, you know, there were conversations with Netflix. Everyone was nervous about it just because a lot of the success of the first season came from her interaction with the boys — the chemistry between them. And then immediately, you're kind of taking away that safety net. And I think that part of that was just to challenge ourselves. We really wanted to not do the same thing again. ... I wanted her to have her own journey, separate from the boys.
On the more sinister and threatening feel to Stranger Things 2
Ross Duffer: Well, yeah, I guess the first season was very focused on just Will and saving him. We wanted to raise the stakes — even though Will plays a central role — that it really puts everyone in danger moving forward.
Matt: Well, it's a cliché sequel thing: like, bigger and darker.
On the pressure to deliver a good sequel
Ross: I always say that it evens out in terms of just how scared I am about the whole thing. 'Cause season one, you're just scared that people might not like it, and even worse, that no one's gonna watch it. So season one was really scary in a lot of ways. And then this season's a very different feeling, which is: We know we're gonna have these people watching it, but yeah, they have expectations now. And that's always the balancing act, 'cause you don't want to just give people exactly what is expected. You want to surprise them a little bit.
On the fate of the character Barb
Matt: I think we resolve it.
Patrick Jarenwattananon adapted this interview for the Web.