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iFeature | STRANGER THINGS Have Happened

An Original Series Feature

The Next Season of Netflix’s hit homage to the 80s sci-fi/horror genre may be delayed for the moment, but here is your chance to dive into this nostalgia-filled freak feast that does it all so well even while standing upside down!

If Netflix hadn’t scooped up Stranger Things after it was pitched to the streaming service by its creators The Duffer Brothers, Matt and Ross, it’s very difficult to imagine how the entertainment landscape would have evolved. In 2015, when the streaming titan ordered a first season, based on the first script, the series wasn’t even named “Stranger Things”. It was only after the creative got the green light to proceed that they determined the series’ working title, “Montauk” wasn’t going to fly.

The brothers had initially envisioned their supernatural science-fiction story in a quaint coastal burg somewhere on Long Island, New York. And when the logistics of shooting in that location, based on the set-up didn’t connect, they decided they needed to take a slight detour. Inspired by some of their favorite films, including Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind which begins in Indiana, their small “anywhere in America” suburb of Hawkins, would also be located in Indiana and serve as “Ground Zero” for the startling plot lines of Stranger Things.

When the series premiered on July 15, 2016, it immediately garnered incredible attention from critics and audiences alike. It portrayed an all-too-familiar feel of 80s genre feels that the Duffer Brothers derived their inspiration from, and benefitted from spreading out its mythological story arc over the course of multi-episode acts (or chapters) while maintaining an authentically cinematic look. At the center of Stranger Things are a series of intersecting storylines that all get jumpstarted when Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) goes missing after gathering with his group of friends for a game of D&D.

The swords & sorcery role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons was a popular past time for friends in the 80s, and the Stranger Things core group are the quintessential campaigners led by the Dungeon Master, Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), and include the aforementioned Will Byers, the magical Mage among them, Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), the self-proclaimed Thief, and Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin) the honor bound Fighter. When Will mysteriously vanishes, the even-more mysterious Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) comes into their circle wielding a dangerous secret!

There’s No Place Like Home

Among the greatest assets that build on Stranger Things added authenticity is the Indiana burg of Hawkins that our characters all inhabit. There’s no place like home, and there’s possibly nothing more terrifying than if a clandestine government-funded sinister black ops syndicate is conducting experiments in your proverbial backyard — and even worse inadvertently tear an inter-dimensional hole to an alternate dimension full of monsters! Drawing on The Goonies and Stand By Me the series mimics the feel of those films and the families at the heart of Stranger Things.

The setting is as important and textured as its characters, both our heroes and villains — and even the terrifying creatures that emerge from the netherworld alternate-universe that is immediately categorized as the “Upside Down”. Published in 2018 Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down the official behind-the-scenes companion, reveals the creative process taken by The Duffer Brothers to bring their vision to the screen, along with the enthusiastic contribution of executive producers Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen. The book encapsulates the making of the original series into the phenomenon.

The series’ Fourth Season was the most consequential in its run, and the most expansive, introducing a “big bad” that is as powerful as Eleven and has potentially been pulling the strings from the Upside Down all along. The new season was in full swing and in pre-production when everything was shut down due to the Writers and Actors Strike, and fans are hopeful that once the issues with the studios on streaming negotiations are resolved, Stranger Things 5 will resume and premiere early in 2024. No other series finale is more anticipated.

Get your #FansEyeView of “The Scariest Stranger Things Moments” here:

STRANGER THINGS | created by The Duffer Brothers and executive produced by Shawn Levy is available now to experience, Seasons 1 - 4 on Netflix, with the Fifth and Final Season resuming production soon.

STRANGER THINGS: Worlds Turned Upside Down - The Official Behind The Scenes Companion | by Gina McIntyre is available now to purchase on most major bookstore retailers including Amazon at the link here.


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