One of the more anticipated panels at Comic-Con Saturday was for “Stranger Things,” and it did not disappoint.
As fitting with the show, just before things were to begin, lights flickered in Hall H and a letter covered wall began bulging letting us know it was time. It began with a recap video of Season 1, and then moderator Patton Oswalt came on promising footage that had never been seen before.
The creators of “Stranger Things” premiered a trailer for the show’s second season at Comic-Con on Saturday that was so new, even the cast hadn’t seen it.
The Duffer Bros. were joined by director Shawn Levy and stars Millie Bobby Brown, Matthew Modine and the crew of young actors who play a group of friends searching for their buddy who mysteriously disappears.
Matt and Ross Duffer, along with Executive Producer Shawn Levy talked about the inspiration behind the show.
“What would be the ultimate movie? Spielberg directing a beefy Stephen King book with a John Carpenter soundtrack,” Matt Duffer said.
When Shawn Levy was first presented with the Stranger Things script, he could tell it was something great. “I knew that this combination of an 80’s backdrop, genre and character authenticity was going to be something special,” he shared. They continued by discussing the look and feel of the show, including the font choice for the opening titles and the synthesized sound heard on the series.
The trailer shows that Will Byers, who went missing in the first season, continues to be haunted by the experience.
“Will shows more bravery and you’ll definitely learn how the Upside Down affected Will and you’ll get more into his story line,” said Noah Schnapp, the 12-year-old actor who plays Will.
The Upside Down is an alternate dimension where Will spent time during his disappearance. It’s similar to the characters’ everyday world in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, except more creepy, rendered in grayscale and inhabited by a multi-limbed monster.
Three new cast members were introduced who are joining the second season of the show: Paul Reiser portrays a government official, 15-year-old Sadie Sink plays a character named Max who joins the group of young boys, and Dacre Montgomery takes on a character he described as “a human antagonist.”
“I hope I can be scary enough,” the actor said.
Thirteen-year-old Brown, who plays the scene-stealing Eleven, shared how challenging it is to play a character who speaks so little.
“It was difficult because obviously I had very few lines and I had to express everything with my face,” the actress said. “But it gets easier when you feel more comfortable with your character… It’s hard to keep a straight face with, you know, teen boys because they play pranks and they tell a lot of jokes when I’m doing an emotional scene.”
The camaraderie among the cast was clear as they watched the trailer for the new season. They craned their necks to see the giant screen from their position on the dais, then hugged afterward.
The sci-fi series is set to return to Netflix on Oct. 31.
Highlights from the Stranger Things Comic-Con panel:
- Noah Schnapp says that Will will show more bravery in Season 2, and “you’ll learn how the Upside Down affected Will.” Beyond that, though, he was limited as to what he could say, because spoilers.
- Finn Wolfhard doesn’t think Mike realizes that he’s smarter than the rest of the kids. “I think he’s oblivious to everything,” he said.
- Here’s a secret: Caleb McLaughlin wasn’t always a master of a slingshot. The young actor held it wrong in the beginning, so he had to teach himself how to do it right, with the help of the Duffers to learn how to do it right.
- It takes time for Millie Bobby Brown to get in the zone of crying, but it gets easier. What might not be so easy is the influence from her young co-stars “It’s hard to keep a straight face with teen boys because they play pranks and they tell a lot of jokes when I’m doing an emotional scene.”
- The actors playing new Season 2 characters then came out – Billy, Max’s older stepbrother as played by Dacre Montgomery; Max aka “Mad Max” as played by Sadie Sink; and Dr. Owens who will be played by Paul Reiser.
- David Harbour asked the audience if they’re ready for a trailer. You can imagine the response. You can see the trailer here. The reaction to the trailer seemed to echo the reaction to Season 1, with fans particularly being responsive to 1980’s references and the first sighting of Eleven in the reel.
- “Dropping a little bit of spice is an honor. It’s been a lot of fun,” Dacre Montgomery says about what he’ll add to the show.
- “I come in from the government to clean Brenner’s mess, and certain things happen,” Paul Reiser said of his character.
- Newcomer Sadie Sink already knew her costars Caleb McLaughlin and Gaten Matarazzo, as they worked on Broadway together. Her character “Mad Max” moves to town with question.
- A surprise guest started the Q&A with a question for the cast, asking if Barb would be in Stranger Things Season 2. The question came from Shannon Purser, the actress who played Barb, who was able to go to the podium on stage to ask the question to her former co-stars. Alas, it’s not happening. “But it would be Justice for Barb,” David Harbour said. “Barb will be avenged.”
Here’s “Stranger Things” official synopsis and timeline:
It’s 1984 and the citizens of Hawkins, Indiana are still reeling from the horrors of the demagorgon and the secrets of Hawkins Lab. Will Byers has been rescued from the Upside Down but a bigger, sinister entity still threatens those who survived.
1953, date unknown – MKUltra comes to Hawkins and begins experimentation
1979 – Police Chief Jim Hopper returns to Hawkins
1983, November 6 – The vanishing of Will Byers
1983, November 8 – The vanishing of Barbara Holland
2016, July 15 – Part 1
2017, October 27 – Part 2