We're just a week away from the Season 2 premiere of Stranger Things, the hit Netflix supernatural series that basically took over the internet for a big chunk of last year. The show's creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, were virtually unknown when the show took off, but now the brothers are among Hollywood's newest nerd superstars, even as they're still just trying to make the show they set out to make. The return of Stranger Things carries with it tremendous expectations, and the brothers are no doubt feeling the pressure as the premiere looms.
It's not just the pressure to continue making a great show that concerns the Duffers, though. It's the pressure to expand. We live in the era of the megafranchise, when virtually any successful thing is considered for a sequel, a spinoff, or an entire cinematic universe. Stranger Things, with its relatively ambiguous title, could easily go that route someday. For the Duffers, who always planned the story of Hawkins, Indiana, and the Upside Down as a multi-season arc, that's just not something they're interested in.
As they told the Hollywood Reporter:
Ross: It's not Star Wars. You're not really creating this giant universe. Right now it's very specific to this town of Hawkins and these kids.
Matt: The title means it could carry over into other supernatural-style stories that aren't specifically related to these events, but it's hard to know. We've spent maybe 10 minutes talking about that.
Ross: You see a lot of that in Hollywood. It's dangerous because everyone is trying to create these universes that span multiple films, but they haven't even built the foundation. Star Wars had to be built. We're looking at those mistakes.
Matt: Let's do one good series. Then, if we don't manage to mess that up, we can talk beyond that. We don't have that J.J. Abrams gene — for good or bad.
Right now, the Duffers seem singularly focused on completing the multi-season arc they have in mind for this Stranger Things story. If the show remains as successful as it's been up to this point, though, there will undoubtedly be at least some pressure to keep going, whether with the same characters or with an all-new story set in the same universe. So, could Stranger Things just keep going beyond the intitial plan? As Matt Duffer explains, it's all about what feels right.
"It's so hard to strike a chord with audiences that, when it happens, everyone is coming to you immediately to do it again and again. They don't want to leave it alone. In our case, as soon as we started developing with Netflix, it was always supposed to be a multiseason arc," he said. "As long as it's creator-driven, I don't really have an issue with it. So if Steven Zaillian thinks there is more that he can mine from The Night Of, I say, 'Hell, yes!' I'm into that. Big Little Lies is the same thing. You fall in love with these worlds and these characters, so I don't think it's a bad thing. It's also not a bad thing to just leave things alone."
For more from the Duffers, including how they felt about spoilery moments in the show's trailers, head over to THR. Stranger Things returns on October 27.