Stranger Things season 2 will not bring Barb back, but it will address her murder and introduce her parents as they – as well as Nancy – are still coping with her disappearance. The first season of Stranger Things focused on the search and rescue of Will Byers, the mystery surrounding Hawkins National Laboratory, and the creatures from an unexplored dimension named “the Upside Down." However, while the characters on the series focused on those aforementioned elements, fans turned their attention to the murder of Nancy’s best friend, Barb (Shannon Purser).
Fans didn’t let go of Barb’s death and lack of justice for her character, hence creating #JusticeForBarb, demanding an explanation or even her return to the series as another survivor of the Upside Down (just like Will). The Duffer Brothers and even cast members like David Harbour (who plays Sheriff Jim Hopper) have stated multiple times that Barb is gone for good. However, the characters are still coming to terms with her disappearance, and season 2 will address her murder and even introduce her parents.
In an interview with EW, Natalia Dyer – who plays Barb’s best friend, Nancy Wheeler – shared that her character is dealing with guilt over the loss, and this will play a big part in her storyline.
“Especially this season, Barb’s a big part of Nancy’s storyline and that drive to – I don’t know how to say it otherwise – to find justice. There are a lot of loose ends there that Nancy feels need to be addressed."
Co-creator Ross Duffer added that they want to show that Barb’s death is something Nancy “didn’t really deal with last year," as she spent the last part of the season hunting the Demogorgon alongside Jonathan Byers. While Barb won’t appear in season 2, Matt Duffer revealed that her parents will be part of the story – and they are not happy with the way Sheriff Hopper has handled the disappearance of their daughter.
“You met her mom briefly last year but we introduce her dad. The only thing that bothered me about the Barb criticism was people saying her parents didn’t care about her – of course they care. In their mind, Hopper has been slacking off and he’s a joke of a chief."
Clearly, Barb’s popularity and the #JusticeForBarb movement was something the Duffer brothers were not expecting when bringing Stranger Things to life, but they have listened to fans and will bring the closure that they have been demanding for the character. Barb will not physically come back, but her presence will be felt throughout the season – who knows, it might even bring some clues on what goes on in the Upside Down and the Demogorgon.