Stranger Things Season 4: It's Scarier, Darker, and More Mature Than Ever
Stranger Things Season 4 has more haunting imagery, traumatizing flashbacks, and memorable scenes that is sure to keep its fandom talking. There are visions of a grandfather clock oozing with tentacles, zombies appearing from someone’s hallucinations, and scenes of your favorite characters working together to try and defeat the newest season’s baddie.
It’s been three years since we last saw the Hawkins Highschool kids battling monsters in their school hallways, secret laboratories, and mall food courts. The kids we’ve known since the show’s premiere in 2016 have grown up a lot and have even gone on their own separate paths in different cities. But if you’ve been keeping up with the show, you’ll know that the adventures last season were just the beginning.
The long wait is finally over for everyone as Season 4 is finally here. Fans can expect everything they’re come to love about the show, especially the nod to the sweet nostalgia of the ‘80s, including all the pop culture references, political conflicts and mythology of the era,
Esquire Philippines was invited to a roundtable with some of the cast members who answered a few years’ worth of questions from fans. Gaten Matarrazo, who famously plays Dustin Henderson in the series, said he liked how much the show appeals to multiple generations and how they appreciate the show’s charm, story, and characters.
“It’s really wonderful to see how diverse our fanbase is,” he says. “Older people like it, younger people like it. That’s not common for a lot of shows.”
Matarrazo also revealed how the latest show balances its signature horror elements and nerd culture, specifically how his character finds himself in a new environment in the new season.
“He feels comfortable in who he is,” he said. “He loves playing D&D, and he has the ability to do it with a fun new group with these older cool kids that he could feel to be a part of. These outcasts, he could relate to them. I think it’s really cool that can still play a role [in the latest season].”
Stranger Things’ Season 4 is not only a return to form for the main cast, but also a step toward maturity, especially in terms of physicality and dialogue. Caleb McLaughlin, who plays Lucas Sinclair, said he reflected on his character as an actor growing up in the industry.
“I may be able to be a kid but I'm still doing adult things,” he said. “I felt like Lucas was going through a midlife crisis in a way so he was stepping out to figure out maybe he wants to do something else. Maybe he was figuring himself out where he fits in, seeing if he could actually fit in with the nerds, seeing if he could actually fit in with the jocks. I think it was a good moment for him, I don't think it’s a bad thing. It’s something that a lot of teenagers go through a lot, something a lot of teenagers don’t speak about. And I feel a lot of kids would relate to this.”
Throughout the season, the episodes grow noticeably longer. There have been reports of some episodes reaching nearly two hours long as the characters face off with a bigger threat that’s making its way closer to their hometown. Behind the scenes though, the actors developed a close bond while filming. Eduardo Franco, who plays as Argyle, the lovable stoner who is a new addition in the latest season, talked about how he faced off against other cast members Noah Schnapp and Charlie Heaton in a game of poker in order to decompress from the intense scenes they filmed in the latest season. They also talked about how the newer cast members were able to gel with the returning cast right away.
Joseph Quinn, who plays Eddie Munson–the leader of a D&D group and a Bon Jovi-wannabe in the show–describes his own character in front of his castmates as “quite chaotic, kinda cayenne pepper in the broth: a little bit spicy, a little bit, ‘Do I want it in there?” he laughs. “Divisive, I guess.”
Quinn adds that there’s a lot of “invisible threats” for the show’s characters, responding to the query about the male characters performing intense action sequences. “A lot of running and hiding, the constant breathing,” he said. “Those are the challenges.”
Franco said he took the opportunity to explain how he thinks his character is someone fans of the show would love to see regardless of how different he is here than in other Netflix films he was cast in.
“As far as genre with the stuff I've done, it’s not like stuff I'm going to choose,” he said. “So I've been basically [focusing on] what comes and just see what happens. Hopefully I do get to see those days where I get to work towards something like that but as far as like genres and stuff like what Stranger Things is, I’ve been taking it as it goes.”