[Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for season 1 of Stranger Things.]
Netflix nostalgic series Stranger Things blossomed into an internet sensation. While the series is laced with weird science and occult connections, it owes much of its popularity to a compelling cast of characters. The adventures of El (Millie Bobby Brown), Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and his gaggle of goonies, as well as the struggles of his sister Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) elevated the drama beyond the trappings of genre TV and homage into a genuinely compelling show.
Aside from the impressive main group, the secondary cast was filled with talent as well. Nancy’s curious friend Barb (played by Shannon Purser) and the malevolent Dr. Brenner (Mathew Modine) enriched the tapestry of Hawkins, Indiana. Both players also met seemingly certain fates after Stranger Things’s conclusion.
Chatting with IGN, Matt and Ross Duffer, the creative force behind Stranger Things, explored the impact of the show, especially on its popular second-stringers. Although nothing is set in stone, a second season does look like a solid prospect, at least according to Netflix. However, after likely fatal encounters with the Demogorgon, will fans get to see any more of Barb or Dr. Brenner? Matt Duffer delves into a possible return for Nancy’s cautious comrade. He says:
“I can’t see it happening. But Barb will not be forgotten. We’ll make sure there’s some justice for Barb. People get very frustrated, understandably, that the town doesn’t seem to be really dealing with Barb. That stuff is all happening. We’re just not spending any screen time on it.”
While it doesn’t look good for the popular player, the series' co-creator does explain part of the reason why her passing wasn’t addressed during the first run. Duffer says:
"It’s not like her parents are like ‘Oh Barb left. She died!’ Season One actually takes place over the course of six or seven days – it’s a really short period of time. So part of what we want to do with hypothetical Season 2 is to explore the repercussions of everything that happened.”
Barb devotees may not be happy with her absence next season, but at least there her demise will be addressed on the show. In a similar fashion, psychotic psychologist Dr. Brenner may have met his monster, but viewers weren’t treated to his onscreen comeuppance. Matt further explores the fate of Modine’s mad doctor:
“I would say that if we were going to kill Brenner… as an audience member watching the show, if that was his death, that would be very unsatisfying to me – when the monster jumps on him and we cut away. He would deserve much more than that as an ending. So yes, there’s a possibility of seeing him again.”
It’s safe to assume that Netflix will pick up the show for another round. If and when this occurs, fans may find some answers to the many mysteries remaining from season 1. It will be interesting to see how Dr. Brenner escaped the clutches of the Demogorgon, and if he did, whether he was dragged into the Upside Down. Also, assuming he survived relatively intact and in this world, where will he hide, and what further horrors will he perpetuate for his brand of science?
After the waffle-teaser outro to the first season, it’s also difficult to believe that we’ve seen the last of El or the Upside Down she accidentally discovered. Hopefully, Stranger Things season 2 will dig deeper into the bizarre realm or perhaps ones with horrors even more twisted than the Demogorgon. In addition, many fans would love to learn what happened to the other (at least) 10 tormented souls who came before Eleven. We’ll keep you posted on further details about the breakout Netflix series.
Stanger Things season 1 is currently available on Netflix.