Movies & TV

‘Stranger Things 2’ assumes darker persona

Gaten Matarazzo, left, Finn Wolfhard, Caleb McLaughlin and Schnapp in a scene from “Stranger Things.” Photo courtesy of Netflix via AP

LOS ANGELES: A year has passed since a supernatural demon terrorized the town of Hawkins, Indiana. As Netflix’s hit 1980s science fiction series “Stranger Things” returns for a second season, however, life has not returned to normal for the unlikely heroes. The adults and teenagers of “Stranger Things 2” wrestle emotionally with the events of the first season – a town boy’s disappearance, a death, a mysterious girl with superpowers and a decaying parallel universe called the Upside Down.

“We wanted that trauma to really run through the entire season,” said Matt Duffer, one half of the Duffer Brothers, the twins who created the show, “so it’s about these characters confronting the horrors.”

All nine episodes of “Stranger Things 2” were released Friday.

At the center of the show are the story’s teenage breakout stars. After being rescued, Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) suffers worsening visions of the Upside Down, forcing his friends to try to find a way to defeat the demon known as Demogorgon.

Played by Emmy-nominated 13-year-old Millie Bobby Brown, the innocent, tormented, superpowered young girl named Eleven is thought to be dead and is in hiding, staying with the town’s police chief, Jim Hopper (David Harbour).

Frustrated at being kept away from her friends, Eleven clashes with Hopper and embarks on a mission to find her mother and, ultimately, a home.

“We wanted [Eleven] to go through her own journey in a way that was much more personal to her and wasn’t tied to the boys,” said Matt Duffer. “We wanted her to go through a journey of self-discovery without the help of anyone else.”

“Stranger Things” has become a phenomenon for Netflix, landing Emmy wins and drawing a cadre of obsessed fans who launched a viral online campaign, #JusticeForBarb – sparked by the gruesome demise of supporting character Barb Holland.

The second season ramps up the quest to bring closure to her death while introducing new characters and expanding the story geographically.

The Duffers said they anticipate it will take five seasons to bring “Stranger Things” to a conclusion.

“It was important to us this season to start to move out of Hawkins and to introduce this world,” said Ross Duffer. “It’s such a fine line and it’s difficult and obviously sequels always feel this way because people want some of the same.

“That’s why they liked it in the first place,” he added, “but you don’t want to just go in circles.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 28, 2017, on page 12.

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