It's no secret that Netflix's Stranger Things was heavily inspired by the films of Steven Spielberg that the director made or helped make in the 1980s, like E.T., Gremlins, The Goonies, and Poltergeist. His themes of childhood and suburbia infused with the supernatural (also a Stephen King motif) were cinematic mainstays of the Reagan era, having a huge bearing on the Duffer Brothers when they set out to create their hit show, although they didn't know just how massive it would become at the time.
Spielberg has already stated that he enjoys the throwback series and definitely recognizes his influence on the content. While speaking to James Cameron for Cameron's six-part docuseries on AMC about the Story of Science Fiction, Spielberg expounded on what makes Stranger Things such a great piece of nostalgic television.
“Stranger Thing is pure science fiction," he said. "It touches on a lot of the movies that you and I and others have made, but it does it brilliantly. It’s a brilliant amalgam of genres but all having to do with one thing. You love those kids, and you do not want anything bad to happen to them. Stranger Things, for all its brilliant imaginings, is about those characters."
The show is already in production for its third season, which will take place in 1985, the year another Spielberg property, Back to the Future, was released in theaters. David Harbour (Chief Jim Hopper) has already shared a photo of himself from the set, where he's rockin' a glorious stache worthy of Henry Cavill. Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride), Francesca Reale (Haters Back Off), and Jake Busey (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) have all been added to the cast for Season 3.
Reale will play a Hawkins lifeguard, Elwes will be the town's sleazy mayor, and Busey will be an investigative journalist for The Hawkins Post. Given Reale's role as lifeguard, the third season might take place over the summer of '85 instead of in the fall or winter, like the last two seasons. That would make sense since Back to the Future, which you just know will be referenced a million times, was released on July 3, 1985.
All quotes are taken from the book that ties into James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction on AMC.