"Stranger Things," the nostalgia-spinning Netflix series that won the hearts and Twitter accounts of many, could be back for another season. And the creators, the Duffer brothers, already have a plan for what's next should Netflix give them the green light.
The 2016 Television Critics Assn. summer press tour reunited "Stranger Things" creators Matt and Ross Duffer with cast members Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Millie Bobby Brown and Winona Ryder onstage to talk fan theories, inter-dimensional rifts and sweet, sweet nostalgia.
The series, streaming now, is about a group of kids who encounter a monster that abducts one of their friends. This spurs the kid gang into action. Walkie-talkies, midnight bike rides, knee-high athletic socks and government conspiracies abound. It's "E.T." meets "Goonies" meets "Stand by Me" and all that other fun, old-time sentimentality that hits at the heart of the Internet. And now the world wants more, and the Duffer brothers are ready to give it to them, as long as Netflix says that's OK.
Almost immediately the brothers were asked about their plans for Season 2, and after some seriously adorable moments from the kid cast remembering the antiquated gadgetry from the '80s — actress Millie Bobby Brown (who plays the mysterious Eleven) had never seen a record player before — the Duffer brothers spilled a few details.
"We thought about a lot of it," Matt Duffer said in the post-panel scrum of a potential Season 2 — which they are also referring to as a sequel.
"We kind of hint about where we might go at the end of the season," he said. "Will was living in this upside-down other dimension for about a week. The repercussions of that can't be good. And the inter-dimensional rift— at least how we left it— is still very much open. So that also can't be good. So it's exploring that. We want to retain the tone. But I think all our favorite sequels feel a little different. It's not about just another monster comes 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."
But don't expect the same kind of fast-paced feel in the hoped-for "Stranger Things 2." "[In the first season] Will is taken within the first 10 minutes. In the first scene with Joyce, she realizes her son is gone. We're excited about that, if we get the chance to go back, the idea of where you can sort of ramp up more and more and more. Where Joyce isn't at an 11 from the beginning," said brother Ross.
"It's going to have a very different structure," Matt said.
The duo stressed the new feel but insisted that, despite their plans for a tonal change-up, they haven't started writing the new episodes yet.
However, there are two things the creators wish to keep consistent from season to season. First, the number of episodes: "Stranger Things" consisted of only eight installments, each with a running time of 45 to 55 minutes. "Eight feels manageable, and it feels more like a movie," Matt said. "We don't feel like we have to tread water."
The second is the adorable kid cast. "This was something we even talked to Netflix about when we first pitched it to them," said Ross. "We realized that we were falling in love with these characters and that the audience would fall in love with these characters. The plan would be to treat it like a sequel, where maybe there's different tension, of course, but at the same time staying with these characters for a little bit longer. I think you'll reach a point eventually where you're saying 'Why don't these people leave this town?' " he said with a laugh.
As for the sudden success of "Stranger Things," both of the Duffers remain a bit shocked. Especially since they worked down to the wire.
"It's not like there was a two-month delay after we finished it. We were doing visual effects shots up until the last minute," Ross said. "And then it went on Netflix right after we finished, and people watched it."
"It was really scary because we finished it, and suddenly there were reviews," Matt agreed. "When the first wave of reviews came in positive, I was crying. It was unbelievable."
As for the plot for the next "Stranger Things," the twosome would prefer to call it a sequel rather than a second season, and they used a classic Amblin horror movie to explain why.
"Will goes missing is like [when] Carol Anne goes missing in 'Poltergeist' and then you get Carol Anne back," Ross said. "That feels like a movie. In the sequels, you're still following that family as terrible things happen, but it's a different tension and characters are dealing with other things."
So what will this new, terrible, big bad be? And how can it possibly be as scary as the tooth-faced being from another dimension that that killed poor, sweet Barb?
And speaking of the unfortunate Barb (played by Shannon Purser), Ross Duffer has seen the fan outrage, calling for justice for Barb.