If you’ve just finished watching Stranger Things 2, you may find yourself in a bit of a pickle: What are you supposed to do if you want to know every ounce of detail about the second season, but don’t want to sit through a seven-episode aftershow series?
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Stranger Things 2.]
Beyond Stranger Things, which we’ve been watching over the past few days, is a mixture of informative and silly, interesting and rambling. Coming off of a Stranger Things 2 marathon, the prospect of sitting down and having to wade through the bad parts of Beyond Stranger Things just to get to the good can be ?????.
That’s why we’ve collected the five most interesting details that were revealed during the aftershow. The most enlightening aspects have to do with everyone’s favorite new character, Bob, but it’s not just about Sean Astin’s role as Joyce Byers’ new boyfriend. Details about disgraced investigative journalist Murray Bauman and how much input the kids had in how the season came to be, are all brought up over the course of seven episodes.
Bob charmed his way into a series role
Sean Astin’s Bob is Stranger Things 2’s best character. That’s not subjective, it’s just fact. Bob wasn’t supposed to be around for more than one episode, though. It was thanks to Astin’s portrayal of the character that Stranger Things creators Ross and Matt Duffer decided to turn Bob into a series regular. While there were concerns when Astin was first being cast that he would be too distracting for the audience — this is Lord of the Rings’ Samwise Gamgee — having the chance to bring an actual Goonies actor into the world of Stranger Things 2 was too good to pass up.
Sean Astin wasn’t auditioning to play Bob
Even more interesting, Astin had originally auditioned to play journalist Murray Bauman, not Bob Newby. Fortunately for Astin — and us — the Duffer brothers let the actor make Bob into the character he wanted, giving him space and time to improvise. In doing so, he was able to turn Bob into the lovable nerd that we got to know.
Let’s be honest, too: No one could do a better job of portraying the odd and oddly charming Murray Bauman better than comedian Brett Gelman. Gelman, who made headlines last year for severing ties with Adult Swim over the network’s treatment of women, does a remarkable job of making the second-tier character into one of the series’ best. There’s a weirdness to his character that sweet, baby-faced Astin couldn’t have pulled off.
Bob’s death changed a few times
One of Stranger Things 2’s most heartbreaking scenes (and there are many) is Bob’s death in the penultimate episode, but it wasn’t always supposed to end that way. Since Bob was conceived as a one-episode character, the Duffer brothers decided he would just exist within Hawkins after his time on the show. He wouldn’t be seen again, but he didn’t have to die. As Bob became a bigger part of the story and the Byers’ home life, Astin said he knew the character deserved to have a heroic sendoff.
That’s why the events leading up to his death are crucial. He has to be the sacrificial lamb whose actions lead to Will, Joyce, Mike and Chief Jim Hopper’s safety. Without those moments, Bob’s death isn’t as emotional and, after all the time we spent with the pure-hearted Bob, he deserved to go out with a bang.
Who came up with the opening arcade scene?
Remember that shot in the first episode of the kids all gathered around in the arcade, watching as Dustin Henderson tries to beat Dragon’s Lair? That scene was conceived by actor Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin) and Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler), according to Matarazzo. This is where it gets a little dicey. The Duffer brothers swear they were the ones who came up with the idea for the shot, but Matarazzo stands by his words.
It seems like we’ll never know who truly came up with the idea (at least for now), so go with your gut on this one. We like the idea that a young Matarazzo wanted to spend time with his buddies in an arcade, but considering the games used were Dig Dug and Dragon’s Lair, the Duffer brothers do seem more likely.
The Upside Down wasn’t supposed to be called the Upside Down
When you think of Stranger Things, the next term that may pop into your head is “Upside Down.” The term refers to the horrifying, paranormal and alternative version of Hawkins, Indiana that exists in Stranger Things. Millie Bobby Brown has confirmed that it wasn’t supposed to be called the Upside Down, however, clarifying that the Duffer brothers wanted to call it the Nether. Get it? Like the Nether world?
It’s not as original as the term “Upside Down,” but the name wasn’t changed because of concerns over the unique terminology. After jokes were made to “nether regions,” the Duffer brothers decided they should go with a different name entirely. It’s not a bad decision, guys. Plus, the term “Upside Down” is kooky and cute — we appreciate it.
Stranger Things 2 and Beyond Stranger Things are both streaming on Netflix now.