Stranger Things hit the Netflix scene back in 2016 and since then, it has been a revolution of pop culture, as theories, fan wars and many more have pervaded in people’s minds, and for some very good reasons.
Despite the show being a complete blast to watch, viewers can’t help but feel that many questions have been left unanswered.
Now with the third season, which was released a few months ago, the show is back in the forefront in people’s thoughts, and what better subject is there than talk about the all-behind-the-scenes information?
Here are some fun Stranger Things facts that people may not know about.
Warning: There are some spoilers!
The Show Was Originally Called Montauk
Before becoming the Stranger Things that fans have come to know and love, the show was originally sold to Netflix under a different name, as it was originally named Montauk.
The choice behind the series’ initial name, stems from the fact that the show was meant to take place in Montauk, Long Island. The reason as to why Montauk was chosen for the series, was due to the city’s connection to “The Montauk Project” and a common belief in the early 80s, where people thought that a government experiment occurred at Montauk Air Force Base and children were kidnapped and tested on.
According to the rumours, the experiments were connected to time travel and psychological warfare techniques and it was this alleged experiment that inspired the Duffer brothers to create the show.
906 Boys & 307 Girls Auditioned For The Main Roles
Both the Duffer brothers and Carmen Cuba, the casting director, interviewed and looked at a total of 1213 child actors during the audition process.
They were determined to find the right kids for the roles and the audition process included reading scenes from the pilot, as well as from the film Stand By Me. However, the most extensive casting process was the one for the role of Eleven, while the easiest task was filling the role of Dustin played by Gaten Matarazzo as they hired the actor immediately after they saw his audition.
What is more, Dacre Montgomery, who plays Billy, was meant to have similarities with Randall Flag, a recurring Stephen King villain, but during his audition, Montgomery contributed more to the character than anticipated and the production decided to keep the actor’s improvisations.
Montgomery put a fake moustache before randomly putting a Duran Duran song, which he danced to it, and taking his shirt off!
Ross Duffer said it was “by far the most bonkers [audition] that I’ve witnessed.”
Stephen King Put A Good Word For Millie Bobby Brown
Millie Bobby Brown had a tough task ahead of her, as she had to compete against hundreds of girls for the role of Eleven.
Lucky her, however, she had some help from a famous author, who managed to put a good word about her and her skills.
That’s right, you guessed it. The good word came from none other than Stephen King, who saw Brown in the BBC show Intruders and he was immediately blown away and completely taken aback by the young actress’ acting capabilities.
That is when the gothic author decided to go the extra mile for the talented young Brown as he went on to tweet about her skills which consequently gave her some credence over the other girls.
Millie Bobby Brown was then chosen for the role, and the rest is history!
The Show Had Been Rejected Many Times Before
It might be hard to believe, but a lot of the networks did not appreciate the plot of this hit series and they had consequently rejected Stranger Things.
Before the Netflix team realised the potential in this series, according to the Duffer brothers the show was rejected not once or twice, but it was rejected between 15 to 20 times!
Every time the brothers pitched the series, network executives were cautious of the show, as they could not grasp the connection between the plot and the audience the brothers were targeting, because the show had kids as leads and in their eyes, this could never adhere to adults.
Executives often said to the brothers that they either make it into a kids’ show or have it focus on Hopper entirely. The Duffer brothers refused, as according to them: “Then we lose everything interesting about the show.” Obviously, they made the right choice to listen to their guts, as the show is a success today.
The Show Was Almost An Anthology Series
Rather than staying with the original characters and storyline, the original idea was to have an anthology series. The show would start in the 1980s before telling new stories through the 90s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020 and every season would have new characters and new storylines.
That means that past season one, viewers would never see Eleven, Will, Mike, Lucas and Dustin again. But once the Duffer brothers had the cast assembled, they realized that they could not let the team go and they, therefore, decided to keep focusing on the story of Hawkins.
Eleven Is Modelled After E.T.
Going back to the first season, Eleven often sported wearing a pink dress and a blonde wig. This was done so as to make a reference of E.T., who similarly wore an outfit like that in the Spielberg movie.
This connection was made because of the affiliation of Eleven’s arrival into the boys’ which was very similar to E.T.’s one. The Duffer brothers wanted to create that otherworldly environment which also meant making Millie Bobby Brown’s character space-like.
Brown recalled the day that the whole idea was brought to the table, of incorporating E.T.: “I thought that was very interesting, and Matt and Ross were like, ‘Basically you’re going to be an alien,’”
The production went on to emulate E.T. by having Eleven act more with body language, rather than dialogue.
Stranger Things Is Connected To It
The TV show does not shy away from the source of inspiration that formulated the story plot. Case in point, exhibit Stephen King’s It book which was later adapted onto the big screen.
The Duffer brothers have been pretty open that the show is heavily influenced by It and interestingly enough the brothers actually pitched a remake of It to Warner Bros., but they got turned down because they lacked experience. After the rejection, they went on the make Stranger Things.
Another connection is that Finn Wolfhard appears in both the Stranger Things series and the It remake. He was first offered the role of Richie before Mike, so the actor almost turned down his Stranger Things role.
However, delays in shooting the movie allowed him to be in both projects, which can only be great because no one could have been a better Mike than Wolfhard himself!
One final nod to Pennywise was due to the fact that the clown appeared in the final episode of the first season while the kids try to kill the Demogorgon with a slingshot.
This is very similar to to the It movie as the children were seen trying to kill the clown with a slingshot and spider forms.
Dustin Has A Real Medical Condition
Gaten Matarazzo’s character, Dustin is often mocked for his teeth as in the series Dustin is supposedly suffering from Cleidocranial Dysplasia, which is a rare congenital disorder that impacts the development of teeth and bones.
The collarbone is usually poorly developed or absent, which causes the shoulders to be pushed closer together, but what is really interesting is that the actor himself has been suffering from this condition since he was a baby. Matarazzo’s case is extremely rare, as his is considered to be very mild and non-genetic, whilst in most cases, this condition is a disorder that is genetically passed onto.
Matarazzo has been open about his condition and how he has managed to incorporate this into the show. “I started explaining what it was,” said Matarazzo, “and then once I got the part, they said they’re gonna incorporate that and use it in a realistic way. They asked me if it was okay if the kids in the show had bullied me because of it. I said it’s totally cool. It’s realistic.”
Taking Nods From A Video Game
Along with movies and TV shows, Stranger Things is also influenced by a classic horror video game series called Silent Hill, whereas Stranger Things took many ideas from Silent Hill: Homecoming, but it is the Silent Hill’s “Otherworld” that bears the most striking similarities to the Upside-Down, as both are mirrors of the real world.
What is more, both worlds are likewise in mist and falling ash while in the game Silent Hill: Homecoming, Alex Shepherd breaks through a living wall portal, which also happens in the series Stranger Things.
If the nods are not apparent enough, even the agent in Stranger Things who breaks through the wall is named Shepard!
Characters from the games are also referenced in the show, for instance, Gillespies from the game is a girl with telekinetic powers that stays in a hospital for most of her life. Sounds familiar? Eleven also has telekinetic powers and spends most of her life in the Hawkins National Laboratory.
Another video game that was referenced in the hit series is Earthbound, a Super Nintendo classic from 1994. Eleven’s pink dress and the blonde wig are strikingly similar to the appearance of Paula, a character in the game.
Paula, just like Eleven, also has psychokinetic powers and travels with boys on bicycles as they fight supernatural evil.
The Prank on Noah Schnapp’s Mother
Noah Schnapp who plays Will Byers in the series, whose character disappeared and was presumed dead in the first season, had to have a prop body that looked very similar to Schnapp, in order to achieve the dead look.
However, the Duffer brothers decided to take the doll to a step further and use it to prank Schnapp’s mother. “We immediately took Noah’s mom aside, told her we had something to show her and led her into a dark closet where we had propped up this frighteningly realistic corpse of her son,” said the Duffer brothers.
Despite being shocked and scared, Schnapp’s mother ended up loving the prop, as she took pictures with the body and sent them to her friends.
What a strange text to get from a friend!
Bob’s Fate Was Almost Very Different
In the second season, viewers were introduced to Sean Astin’s character as Bob Newby also known as the great puzzle solver and Joyce’s boyfriend.
What many may not know, is that Astin was almost not cast for the role, as according to the Duffer brothers, Newby was too famous as a geek icon to blend in.
But in the end, they decided to go for it and while Bob was originally supposed to die early on in the season, Astin managed to wow everyone with his talent and the production team decided to expand his time onset.
The way he was supposed to die also differed, as originally, Will was meant to turn evil and kill Bob, but instead, it was decided that Astin’s character should die a gruesome and gory death by being ripped apart by the Demodogs.
The Demogorgon Is A Real Thing
The Demogorgon, the otherworldly monster that terrorizes Hawkins, is an actual real creature originating from the game Dungeons & Dragons.
In the game, the Demogorgon is a self-proclaimed Prince of Demons, who is located on the 88th layer of the Abyss, in the twin towers that look like coiled serpents.
However, the two Demogorgon, from the game and the series, look nothing alike. While Stranger Things’ Demogorgon is tall and spindly with a mouth that opens up, the Demogorgon from Dungeons & Dragons has two snake-like heads that are both sentient and they are determined to kill each other, but they cannot because they are the same person.
Therefore, the only similarity between the two creatures is the name.
Steve Was Meant To Be A Douchebag!
Joe Keery who portrays Steve, Nancy’s former boyfriend in season one, has a lovable redemption arc through the series, as he turned out to be one of the show’s most popular characters. But originally, that was not supposed to happen, as he was meant to stay a terrible guy.
What inspired the brothers in changing the character’s vibe was Keery’s way of approaching his character. According to Ross Duffer: “He was much more likeable and charming than we originally had envisioned. If you read the pilot, he’s the biggest douchebag on the planet,” said Duffer. “Joe was so good we started to fall in love with the idea that he has an arc himself.
Nancy Is Based On A Character From A Nightmare On Elm Street
Nancy Wheeler, portrayed by Natalia Dyer, may remind us of the character of Nancy from the film A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Both in the film and series, both Nancies have similar hairstyles and clothing and it is evident that both actresses are definitely of striking resemblance. The closest similarity between the two heroines occurs when in the series and the film, both Nancies set a bunch of traps to hurt and kill the enemies, during the combat of Demogorgon and Freddy Kreuger accordingly.
The Duffer brothers were not that subtle when they were inspired by Nancy from the A Nightmare on Elm Street character.