Sadly, Barb will not be returning in Stranger Things season 2. In season 1 of Stranger Things, Barb (Shannon Purser) was dragged to the Upside Down and unceremoniously killed by the Demogorgon after being left alone by the pool when Nancy left a party with Steve. The short-lived character proved popular with audiences when none of the other kids or adults seemed particularly bothered that Barb had just disappeared into thin air. Even Will didn't offer any explanation if he knew where she was or if she'd died.
The #JusticeForBarb trend did the rounds on Twitter in the wake of Stranger Things' premiere, with thousands of fans all calling for the writers to deal with the death in season 2. Purser gained a huge amount of popularity thanks to her appearance on the show and because of the outrage of fans. She was recently featured in a supporting role on Riverdale as Ethel Muggs. Luckily, she hasn't been killed off - yet - although there is a line from Veronica Lodge at one point: "Justice for Ethel." Just a small nod to the Stranger Things fans.
During the Stranger Things panel at SDCC, the first question put to the cast was "Will Barb be in season 2?" - asked by none other than Purser herself. And unfortunately, the response was very swift: "She's not." However, they did go on to say that there will be justice for Barb, and that she'll be avenged in some way.
Hopefully that means closure for her family and close friends. Although Nancy didn't seem too affected by her friend going missing, Barb seemed like an afterthought to her. But then, she was a little bit preoccupied hunting the Demogorgon with Jonathan Byers.
There are a few fans hoping this is all an elaborate plan to trick audiences into thinking she won't return, and that the Duffer Brothers have a few tricks up their sleeves. Maybe she'll come back in a similar state to Will, coughing up slugs and having hallucinations of the Upside Down every so often. Or, perhaps her body will be used as a host for some kind of monster or parasite. That would give the Duffer brothers plenty of horror material to play with, especially since they clearly like to homage the sci-fi genre. It could be a brilliant Invasion of the Body Snatchers or Night of the Living Dead reference. There is another possibility though: Barb is actually dead and she won't be returning to Stranger Things season 2. Unfortunately, that looks more likely.