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  • Acting for Two: By technicality; in Season 3, Dacre Montgomery plays both Billy and the Mind Flayer speaking through Billy's body.
  • Acting in the Dark:
    • The cast members were given the scripts episode by episode, and had little idea about the fate of their characters.
    • David Harbour claims to have not been told whether Hopper survived Season 3 and is the "American" referred to in The Stinger, though there's a lot of speculation that he's just taking the piss with the fans.
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  • Actor-Inspired Element: According to Joe Keery (Steve) and Maya Hawke (Robin), nobody was particularly excited for the Foregone Conclusion of their characters winding up together, not even the Duffer Brothers. When the actors suggested that Robin should instead come out to Steve, the creators were more than happy to oblige.
  • Actor-Inspired Heroism:
  • Actor-Shared Background: All the pictures of Barb in the Season 2 premiere are actually from Shannon Purser's childhood.
  • California Doubling:
    • Jackson, Georgia, a small town between Atlanta and Macon, stands in for Hawkins, Indiana. The gorge that Troy tells Mike to jump in is the same gorge that appears in the first season of The Walking Dead, which was also filmed in the Atlanta area. To the production team's credit, they do manage to make the town look remarkably Midwestern.
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    • Portions of the largely vacant Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth, Georgia stands in for the Starcourt Mall. Incidentally, Gwinnett Place actually opened in 1984.
  • Career Resurrection: For Winona Ryder. After taking a few years off from acting while she was on probation for shoplifting from Saks Fifth Avenue, she starred in a film rendition of Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly, which was critically acclaimed. From there, she would manage to pop up in acclaimed independent projects (Black Swan, Experimenter, Show Me a Hero) and occasionally have small parts in more high-budget features (Star Trek, Frankenweenie). However, her comeback really seemed to take hold in a higher profile when she accepted the role of single mother Joyce Byers in Stranger Things, earning much press and support upon the show's release and even earning nominations for a Golden Globe and a SAG.
  • Cast the Runner-Up:
    • According to an interview of LA Times, Noah Schnapp originally auditioned for Mike Wheeler.
    • Joe Keery originally auditioned to be Jonathan Byers before being cast as Steve Harrington.
  • The Cast Showoff: The final episode of Season 3 has Gaten Matarazzo show off his singing voice. Ironically, while he does sing professionally in musical theatre, he's not as well-known for it like fellow cast members Joe Keery (who performs as both Djo and plays guitar in Post Animal) or Finn Wolfhard (who is the lead singer and guitarist for Calpurnia).
  • Character-Specific Pages: Eleven
  • Creator Backlash: Noah Schnapp absolutely despises Will's bowl cut and has repeatedly asked the creators to change it to a different '80s hairstyle.
  • Crossdressing Voices: The boys are voiced by women in the French dub. Subverted with Lucas in season 2, when Jennifer Fauveau was replaced by Thomas Sagols.
  • Dawson Casting: Done with most of the teen characters to some extent: they're all older than high school age, though in some cases just barely. When Season 1 came out in 2016, Natalia Dyer (Nancy) was 19, Shannon Purser (Barb) was 20, Charlie Heaton (Jonathan) was 22, Chelsea Talmadge (Carol) was 22, and Joe Keery (Steve) was 24. In season 2, Dacre Montgomery (Billy) also pushes it a bit at 22. The younger kids are mostly a year or two older than they should be as well, as middle schoolers, though Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven) was pretty spot-on at 12 in Season 1 and 13 in Season 2, and Noah Schnapp (Will) was actually younger than his character during filming of the first two seasons. However, the age gap between the younger actors and their characters has grown as the real-life time between each season has grown longer: season 3 was released almost two years after season 2, but is set only nine months later. Season 3's new additions pretty much averted this entirely, as the presumably 18-year-old Robin (Steve mentions that she's still in high school, but they shared a class so she's likely a senior) is played by Maya Hawke, who was 19 when cast in the role and turned 20 shortly after season 3's filming began. Erica's 10 years old, but 11 year old Priah Ferguson certainly doesn't stick out in the role.
  • Defictionalization:
    • In the run-up to the release of the third season, Wizards of the Coast collaborated with Netflix on a Stranger Things themed Dungeons & Dragons starter kit which added the Thessalhydra & the show’s version of the Demogorgon to Fifth Edition, and also came packaged with the adventure the boys were playing through in the first episode of the show.
    • In Starcourt Mall, there is a store called "Scoops Ahoy", which is clearly an analog for Baskin-Robbins. Thusly, in addition to tie-in ice cream flavors, B-R took a California location and converted it into a real-life Scoops Ahoy; other locations use an older Baskin Robbins logo to fit with the retro 80s theme.
  • Disabled Character, Disabled Actor:
    • Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson) suffers from cleidocranial dysplasia. The condition was written into his character.
    • Averted with Aimee Mullins (a double amputee who has given TED talks about prostheses). She plays Terry Ives, who is disabled in a completely different way but (presumably) has both of her natural legs.
  • Dueling Works: The OA, which premiered on Netflix later in the year, has drawn comparisons to Stranger Things for having a vaguely similar premise involving the supernatural, although anyone who's watched both shows will know that the two are very different, with OA championing its own brand of Sundance-film affectations and trippy New-Agey weirdness.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven, had long hair that had been growing for her entire life. For season 1, she had it all buzz cut, though only after being shown a picture of Charlize Theron as Furiosa.
  • Enforced Method Acting: During Steve and Billy's big fight scene, Joe Keery really was hurt by the breakaway plate due to it landing in an awkward place on his head. The shot ended up being used as he didn't want to do it again.
  • Fake American: Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven) and Charlie Heaton (Jonathan Byers) are Brits playing Americans. A lesser case for Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler), who is Canadian. And as of Season 2, add Australian Dacre Montgomery as Billy Hargrove.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Fans call Bob Newby "Sam Gamgee" for Sean Astin's portrayal of the character in The Lord of the Rings movies.
    • Going along with the kids giving the antagonists Dungeons & Dragons-themed names, fans took to calling the Shadow Monster "The Thessalhydra" based on the monster appearing in the D&D campaign ending the first season. Ultimately, the fans were close — the entity is actually dubbed "The Mind Flayer" in the show itself.
    • Emo Mike is a name that comes from the cast themselves which fans have adopted because of Mike's more, well, emo behavior in Season 2.
  • I Knew It!: Very few fans actually believed that Hopper was really dead at the end of season 3, and moreover, many of them also believed that he was somehow transported to the USSR by the explosion that closed the Gate and seemingly killed him. Sure enough, the first teaser for season 4 reveals that he's actually still alive at what appears to be a Soviet labor camp.
  • Killer App: The series is one of the most popular shows on Netflix. Along with House of Cards (US) and Orange Is the New Black it's often seen as one of the primary reasons to have Netflix.
  • Lying Creator: The Duffer brothers said that Hopper was definitively dead after Season 3. David Harbour kept up the ruse in interviews on social media, insisting they were not returning to the show. Apparently, enough people figured it out quickly enough that the Duffers just put him in the first trailer for Season 4.
  • Making Use of the Twin: The character of Holly Wheeler (Mike and Nancy's baby sister) is played by identical twin sisters.
  • Meaningful Release Date: The second season took place around Halloween and was released on October 27. The third season was released on the Fourth of July and the climatic battle of the season finale was on the same holiday.
  • Never Work with Children or Animals: The Byers' dog was so disruptive during filming that David Harbour demanded they get rid of it. There was actually a grave for it put near the house in Season 3, though it never appeared on camera.
  • No Export for You: The Stranger Things: The Drive-Into Experience has only been in one city as of 2021, Los Angeles.
  • Playing Against Type: Immediately after playing lead hero Jason in Power Rangers (2017), Dacre Montgomery is the vile Jerk Jock Billy here.
  • Playing with Character Type: Dr. Owens appears to be doing a riff on Paul Reiser's ruthless company man character Burke from Aliens, but actually does turn out to be a pretty decent guy. If anything, he inverts Burke - Burke starts out seemingly sympathetic to Ripley but turns out to be a sociopathic monster, while Owens starts off seeming like another Company Man who will throw anyone under the bus, but is horrified at what happens, helps the main characters, and even intends to sacrifice himself at the end so they can escape, though he manages to survive. Both of them even have the same semi-smarmy charm that Paul Reiser does so well, which makes you want to like him while feeling that he's about to do something reprehensible.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Dacre Montgomery was already a fan of the show before being cast as Billy Hargrove in Season 2.
  • Promoted to Opening Titles: Joe Keery starting in Season 2, going from recurring character to a main character.
  • Real-Life Relative: The younger Max seen in a flashback in "E Pluribus Unum" is played by the younger sister of Sadie Sink, who plays Max.
  • The Red Stapler:
    • Dustin's Science Museum of Minnesota dinosaur hoodie in Season 2 actually did exist in the period in which the series is set, but had long since ceased production (for one thing, "Brontosaurus" is now an outdated taxon for Apatosaurus). The hoodie's appearance on the show created quite the stir online, with demand resulting in the museum having a new run produced, with initial online sales crashing their website and people lining up out the door at the museum itself. Ironically, since the museum no longer had the patterns for the original sweatshirts, they actually borrowed the one used on the show in order to reconstruct them.
    • Eggos waffles got a boost in sales after the frozen waffles were Eleven's Trademark Favorite Food in the series.
    • As a tie-in to Season 3, Coca-Cola resurrected its infamous "New Coke" formula. The company's web store crashed several times during the first sales day due to the sheer number of people who wanted to buy it and see why the product was so hated.
  • Referenced by...:
    • In the satirical indie RPG BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, The Sky Queen - a major character who doesn’t show up in person until near the end of the game - excuses her absence by saying that she was busy binging Stranger Things. She then starts gushing about it until one of the heroes steps in to shut her up.
    • In Exponential Idle, you get the "Stranger Things" achievement for gaining ee1000 dollars.
    • On The Simpsons, Homer and Marge watch Odder Stuff, a parody of Stranger Things.
  • Romance on the Set: Natalia Dyer (Nancy Wheeler) and Charlie Heaton (Jonathan Byers) began dating in between the filming of seasons 1 and 2. Nancy and Jonathan's first kiss in season 2 episode 6 is almost decidedly not them acting.
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: Noah Schnapp (Will Byers) could easily be Winona Ryder's (Joyce Byers) real-life son with their shared doe eyes, straight brown hair, pale skin and nose shapes. After his voice cracked from puberty, the similarity in his voice to that of Charlie Heaton (Jonathan) became a bit more apparent.
  • Shrug of God: When asked about Will's sexuality and the meaning of Mike's line about Will not liking girls in Season 3, Noah Schnapp said it was "up to interpretation" by the audience.
  • Spin-Off Cookbook: There is a parody cookbook called Stranger Fillings.
  • Star-Making Role:
    • Millie Bobby Brown had small roles on television on series such as NCIS and Grey's Anatomy. Her turn as Eleven catapulted her into the national spotlight overnight, and the beginning of a film career with the major role of Madison Russell in Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
    • Gaten Matarazzo, who's had a steady career acting in television commercials (more or less as the same character) in the year since Season 1 premiered thanks to his distinct appearance and voice.
    • David Harbour received a boost in visibility after years working as a character actor in TV and film.
    • Finn Wolfhard has been more in the spotlight in other shows and movies because of his role as "Mike Wheeler".
    • Similarly, Joe Keery went from being an indie film actor to an A-list star as a result of his role as Steve Harrington.
  • Throw It In:
    • During the final scene of Season 2, you can see Finn quietly tell Millie Bobby Brown "I'm coming in" before the kiss.
    • Small one in Season 2 Episode 6 - when Murray is teasing Nancy and Jonathan, he drops some food from his fork that obviously wasn't scripted, but keeps playing along, saying "Oops", still with a grin on his face. Natalia Dyer nearly starts laughing. In the outtakes, all three actors as well as the people filming and watching, cracked up after the scene ended.
  • Troubled Production: Season 4 was already partway through filming when the Covid-19 pandemic forced production to stop for several months. After filming resumed, one of the Netflix soundstages where part of the show is filmed caught fire, although no one was injured and no sets were destroyed. Overall, the delays were bad enough that even a ballpark release date for the season wasn't announced until August 2021, more than two years after the release of season 3.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The series was originally called Montauk and was intended to take place in Montauk, New York, before production moved to Atlanta for logistical reasons. Amusingly this would have put it right across the Long Island Sound from Lovecraft Country.
    • The Duffer Brothers had trouble finding a network that agreed to their vision of the show. Except for Netflix, all the networks wanted to ditch the kids and focus on Hopper.
    • Steve was originally a much bigger and more stereotypical Jerk Jock than he was in the series, to the point where he forced himself on Nancy in the first draft of the pilot script. Amusingly enough, his character became more heroic after Joe Keery turned out to be too likable for such a role. In Season 2, Billy Hargrove was created to fill that role that Steve could have been.
    • Father John Misty turned down an offer for a small role in Season 2, saying he doesn't want to be "TV famous."
    • Season 2 was originally going to end with Mike only discovering Eleven was back at the Snow Ball, but then it was decided that would be way too much emotion to pile onto the scene.
    • Bob was originally going to die much sooner, with the original plan being that Will would kill him in the third episode of Season 2. It was decided to keep him around longer so that the audience would become attached to him, making his demise all the more heartbreaking. The writers also felt this made Joyce's desire for revenge even more intense.
    • The Demogorgon was intended to be portrayed entirely with practical effects, which is why it's essentially human-shaped. Upon filming with the suit, they quickly realized it wouldn't work in certain scenes and they needed to put some CGI in.
    • The crew started out using "The Nether" as the other dimension's official name. Then "The Upside Down" caught on so much that they started using it themselves.
    • Season 2 was going to have a Time Skip to the present day, in keeping with the show's origins in the Duffers not getting to make an adaptation of It. Upon starting Season 1, they quickly realized what a special thing they had with the younger actors, which they had to keep.
    • According to Dacre Montgomery, Billy had more profane dialogue in the original scripts.
    • Behold, the original Concept art for the Demogorgon.
    • Originally, the Upside Down was meant to have an inverted time scale in comparison to Earth's (i.e., whenever it would be daytime in Hawkins, it would be nighttime in the Upside Down, and vice-versa). It was later changed to being Always Night so it would give the place more of a consistently hostile feel and overall nightmarish design.
    • Telltale Games was going to make a game of the series, but went bankrupt shortly after the announcement.
    • The original idea for Dustin and Suzy's big musical number from the Season 3 finale was "The Ent and the Ent-wives" from The Lord of the Rings, but then they figured Netflix might take issue considering their competitor Amazon was developing their own series based on that franchise.
    • Lucas was originally supposed to have the last name "Conley" and be a brash loudmouth with anger issues stemming from his parents being in the middle of an ugly divorce. Over the course of development, his last name changed to Sinclair, his character became much more level-headed, and his parents are shown to be pretty much the only Happily Married couple in the series.
    • Francesca Reale (Heather) originally auditioned to play Robin before the role went to Maya Hawke instead.
  • The Wiki Rule: Has a wiki here.
  • Working Title: Montauk.

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