It's Day 2 of New York Comic Con, so things are really gearing up. But if you were hoping to hear more about the next season of Netflix's Stranger Things, those are things you're just going to have to wait for a bit longer. Cast members David Harbour (Chief Hopper) and Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven) are both sworn to secrecy about what's going to happen on the runaway hit, but a few scant, precious details were revealed, including Barb's fate. (Spoiler: Don't hold out too much hope.)
The panel, moderated by Vulture's Matt Zoller Seitz, was a pretty hilarious one and it's clear that the cast got along great behind the scenes. And seeing Harbour and Brown together really makes you want to see their respective characters share more scenes next season -- assuming that Eleven returns from… wherever she disappeared to. The Upside Down? The Fourth Dimension? The Age of Aquarius? Like I said, I can't say much because they couldn't say much, But here is what I can tell you:
According to Harbour, the child actors all thought he was "an angry, weird dude" because he stayed in character behind the scenes. But being such a downer was one of his favorite things about playing the role because he got to explore Hopper's complex set of emotions as a grieving father now tasked with helping a bunch of children. Those of us who have watched the series also know that he left a plate of Eggos out for Eleven as if he had some hint that he knew where she was. One question from the audience centered on Hopper taking Eleven under his wing, and Harbour said such a story would be "a rich, emotional arc I would like to explore." It should be noted that if there was a "winkwink" font to put that quote in, I would do that. So take that to the bank.
As for the other elephant in the room, Barb, she was a very prominent topic, but Harbour assured us all that while "loose ends" will be explored, our favorite missing ginger in the mom jeans is "very much dead."
Two things that were not brought up were Holly, the Wheelers' youngest and weirdest daughter, and Will's future, which seemed like it would be safe once he was rescued from the Upside Down until he puked up a slug.
It was a really fun panel though, and Harbour and Brown are very funny people. Here are a few tidbits that provided us zero information, but tons of laughs:
* Milly Bobby Brown would often show her young age on set and wondered out loud "Why don't we just call Will on the phone?" Why? Because in the 1980s, every single person just didn't carry around a cell phone. In fact, as Harbour described later, phones used to be attached to the wall and feature -- wait for it -- cords!
* The man playing the Demigorgon is named Mark, and he could not hear a darn thing while wearing the costume. But according to Brown, it was "really fun having a monster on set." In similar "horror isn't that scary in real life" news, the Upside Down is actually "really dorky" when the cameras aren't rolling, according to Harbour.
* Brown is a huge fan of Vampire Diaries. ("Don't. Even. Start.") This came up when Harbour brought up the anticipation behind the premiere of Michael Jackson's Thriller video on MTV. So count Millie Bobby Brown in on the legion of fans eagerly anticipating more Vampire Diaries.
* When Brown got her head shaved, her hair got everywhere and was still covered in it during their table read.
* Harbour had been a "huge fanboy" of Winona Ryder before he got to work with her; they ended up becoming close friends though he still has a bit of that "fanboy crush" on her. Brown also bonded with Ryder, who was also a child actor and rocked her short hair.
* Before she could reveal her shaved head, Brown walked around in a pink wig, including when she visited the nearby set of AMC's The Walking Dead.
* Harbour was inspired by Jack Nicholson (in Five Easy Pieces) and Indiana Jones when embodying Hopper and said it was a real exploration in '80s showbiz masculinity. He says that people from all parts of the country, namely working-class, everyday-type guys with different politics than his own who live in the South or Midwest, express gratitude that Hopper is someone to whom they can relate.
* Brown, who is most known for her supernatural roles in Stranger Things and The Intruders, says she would love to be in a comedy because she believes she's "quite funny." (She is!) As much as she enjoys breaking people's necks with her mind, she'd like to crack people up in other ways too.
So, in a nutshell: Barb is dead! Long live Barb!