There's interesting stuff happening behind the scenes of the show as well and here's what you need to know.
The latest season of Stranger Things has been making waves with the shift in the mood of the story as a whole. The fourth season picks up a few months after the events of season three with the gang now having to navigate the complexities of high school as a war with the Upside Down is on the horizon but Eleven still does not have her powers back.
The fourth season has two installments. The first installment has been released now with the next installment set to release on July 1 with two more fully packed episodes before it comes to end.
There's a lot to process when it comes to the events that are happening in the story itself but there's interesting stuff happening behind the scenes as well. Here are a few facts about the show you probably didn't know:
Stranger Things is currently one of the biggest and most expensive series, with each episode having a budget of $30 million. But before this show could be brought to life, it went through rejections from at least 15 to 20 networks. Some networks liked their idea but were unwilling to let two unknown brothers direct it while other networks did not want the horror story to focus on kids. They almost gave up on the project but Netflix luckily picked it up and we now have this iconic show.
In the first season, Millie Bobby Brown's El or Eleven is a kid who has made it out of a Russian facility where she was being experimented on. Her character is bald on account of her origins. The then 11-year-old had actually shaved her hair off for the role. In this season, we see a bald El again but this time she is not actually bald. But now she wears a "shaved head wig" which takes almost an hour to be done to perfection. Her make-up on the other hand is simple and is over in minutes.
Over the course of the four seasons of the show, we have seen the relationship between Joe Keery's Steve Harrington and Gaten Matarazzo's Dustin Henderson has become more and more wholesome. But they share the same rapport off-screen as well. “He’s like the 60-year-old uncle that I never had,” Keery said of the 19-year-old. Matarazzo agreed and said, "Yeah, that sounds about right. I think it flip-flops. I feel like there are certain days in which I'm just the giggly little brother, and then there are others where I feel like I'm the child wrangler."
At the end of Season One, El's obsession with Eggos led to a spike in the Kellog's snacks. This season, Kate Bush's song "Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)," which was released in 1985 was featured in the first episode. Max, played by Sadie Sink, listens to the song on her Walkman and it is a tune that accompanies her throughout this season. Following the season premiere, the throwback song peaked on the iTunes chart and was even trending on Spotify and Google, as per PEOPLE.
Brett Gelman plays Murray Bauman, the conspiracy theorist, and Hopper's good friend. In the latest season, he flexes his karate skills to Joyce and says he has a black belt. In an interview with GQ, he stated: "I took it very seriously. Murray is a black belt. And so I felt like, if he’s a black belt then I need to make that look as authentic as possible. And they already were setting me up with a karate trainer. I think that I trained more and requested to train more than they had originally anticipated that I’d want to. For three months—two months before the shutdown and then a month leading up to shooting—I was with these amazing trainers, Simon Rhee and Phillip Rhee, who are Taekwondo masters."
Noah Schnapp who plays Will in the show has the signature bowl cut that also happened to be a very '80s style. But the 17-year-old wanted his character to have a new look and even brought it up with the Duffer Brothers. "I've talked to them so many times like, 'Hey, are we thinking about a new cut for Will?'" he told Insider. "There's one more season left, but they're pretty loyal to that cut. I think it is a true kind of '80s classic haircut. So I don't think we're gonna lose it anytime soon."
In the latest season, viewers have been puzzling about more than just Will's hairdo. The teens in the show have all hit puberty and discussions about who each of them is interested in have been going on. Finn Wolfhard and David Harbour have teased that Will is definitely not interested in El but we will soon know who he is “very interested” in. “It’s such an amazing role for Noah to play,” Brown added. “And to be that role model for kids out there who don’t know what they’re going through growing up.” Schnapp has said that he's glad Will's sexuality has not remained undefined.
In Season 3 we all fell in love with Robin who is played by Maya Hawke. But turns of Derry Girls and Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan had auditioned for the role as well. Ultimately she landed the role on Bridgerton and Hawke got to play Robin. Coughlan even said Hawke "was far better than I ever would have been," and added, "It's a good lesson to actors: Watch the stuff you didn't get because you'll totally understand how it's not personal. You're just right for some things and you're not right for other things."
The star of the show was initially supposed to be martyred in the first season. She was supposed to sacrifice herself to save the day but when the showrunners realized that they would probably have more seasons of the show, they knew El would be the central character.
Similarly, they were also looking to cut short Steve's character but the team fell in love with Keery and decided to give his character the redemption arc.
If you have ever wondered how the brothers' brains work, to create such an intricate story that has us all hooked, they revealed their writing process to The New York Times. When they write, they do it facing each other and in a shared Google Doc. They are famously known to have a "weird telepathic relationship" (in Winona Ryder's words) and their mentor, M. Night Shyamalan, affectionately describes their writing process as watching a "two-headed creative monster." They don't isolate themselves in a cabin for writing though, "It could end in a double murder — or just a murder," Matt stated. "Make sure there are no axes around."