When Stranger Things season 2 returns this fall, it's going to look a whole lot darker. The show's team has been vocal that its second outing will be "bigger" and "more horror oriented," though the first run wasn't light on scare factor, either. In season 1, small town pre-teen Will Byers was abducted by the monstrous Demogorgon and forced to hole up in the otherworldly Upside Down. Meanwhile Eleven, a young, telekinetic girl who was being held as part of a scientific experiment, befriended Will's pals on their hunt to find him and ultimately sacrificed herself to save them all.
We already know several details about where season 2 will pick up. Will, who was seen vomiting slugs in the Stranger Things season 1 finale, will still be struggling with the effects of his time in the Upside Down; Eleven will be alive, but hiding; Barb will get justice; and The Hawkins National Laboratory will be under new, but likely no less sinister, management.
In an interview with YouTube's GoldDerby, executive producer Shawn Levy stressed that this time around, the story will be far more dangerous. In fact, Levy said the new big bad (or bads, as the case may be) will put the original Demogorgon to shame:
“Will Byers is very much at the center of several intersecting challenges, threats in season two and I think overall the forces of evil that are inherent in season two make that Demogorgon look quaint in retrospect.”
Levy also spoke to the growing cast list, which will bring a number of new faces to Hawkins, Indiana, saying that Stranger Things season 2 will feature a more diverse array of characters:
“I think you’ll see more and more certainly in the movies that we are producing at 21 Laps and even in season two of Stranger Things — an increased diversity, not because anyone is telling us it needs to happen but because that is the world we live in, that is the mindset we try and kind of relate to others and the world around us with, so more and more I think you’re going to see that reflected in the content.”
And finally, Levy explained that while the first season was helmed entirely by him and Stranger Things creators the Duffer Brothers, they did open the chair to a couple new directors, including Andrew Stanton (Finding Dory, WALL-E) and Rebecca Thomas (Electrick Children):
“That’s been the difference this year. Last year we were very, very protective. In our first meeting with Netflix they were like ‘so what kinds of directors are you going to get for the show?’ and I was like ‘it’s going to be the brothers or me. That’s it. No one from the outside.’ I think it’s why season one has a real consistency to the tone, and to the look, and to the vision. This year, we’ve had two other directors come in and do episodes: Andrew Stanton and Rebecca Thomas and those episodes are turning out great.”
When Stranger Things first debuted, it was an unanticipated sleeper hit, but now that its found such a rabid fan base, it seems the team felt they had more room to up the stakes. That should make for a compelling and heart-pounding watch, but Stranger Things shines whens it balances the sentimental with the wicked. There's been a lot of focus on the evil at work, and rightfully so, but hopefully they'll also include some of the lighter moments that make the series so charming.
Stranger Things season 2 arrives on Netflix in time for Halloween 2017.