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Freddy Krueger is coming to Netflix’s Stranger Things, kinda

Robert Englund will be playing a character who sounds eerily familiar

The child cast of Stranger Things from the show’s first season Photo: Netflix
Tasha Robinson leads Polygon’s movie coverage. She’s covered film, TV, books, and more for 20 years, including at The A.V. Club, The Dissolve, and The Verge.

Netflix announced Friday that eight new characters are joining the cast of Stranger Things, its hit horror series centered on the other-dimensional invasion of an Indiana small town. Among the actors joining the series is a welcome surprise for longtime horror fans: Robert Englund, the original Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street film series. The description of his character even sounds a little familiar: “Victor Creel [is] a disturbed and intimidating man who is imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital for a gruesome murder in the 1950s.”

A portrait of Robert Englund Photo: Matt Harbicht / Netflix

While it’s certainly unlikely that Englund is playing any sort of direct take on the actual character of Freddy Krueger, Stranger Things has always been a heavily referential show, with writer-directors the Duffer brothers drawing on 1980s science fiction and horror classics, including Stephen King’s writing, John Carpenter’s movies, E.T. The Extra-terrestrial, and Altered States. The Duffers are clearly aware of Freddy Krueger’s backstory — he was conceived in an asylum, and became a gruesome murderer who was eventually burned to death by an angry mob. And it seems likely that they’re going to be drawing on the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise for references and inspiration in the upcoming season.

Netflix also introduced many more actors who have joined the cast for the show’s fourth season, and taken as a whole, they offer some insight into where the latest season is going, from following Sheriff Hopper’s attempts to deal with his imprisonment to looping back to the first season’s obsession with Dungeons & Dragons. Here’s the rundown:

Jamie Campbell Bower (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Sweeney Todd) will play Peter Ballard, a caring man who works as an orderly at a psychiatric hospital. Tired of the brutality he witnesses day after day, will Peter finally take a stand?

Eduardo Franco (Booksmart, The Binge) will play Argyle, Jonathan’s new best friend, a fun-loving stoner who proudly delivers delicious pizza pies for Surfer Boy Pizza.

Joseph Quinn (Catherine the Great, Howards End) will play Eddie Munson, an audacious 80’s metalhead who runs The Hellfire Club, Hawkins High’s official D&D club. Hated by those who don’t understand him — and beloved by those who do — Eddie will find himself at the terrifying epicenter of this season’s mystery.

Sherman Augustus (Into the Badlands, Westworld) will play Lt. Colonel Sullivan. An intelligent, no-nonsense man who believes he knows how to stop the evil in Hawkins once and for all…

Mason Dye (Bosch, The Goldbergs) will play Jason Carver. Jason seemingly has it all — he’s handsome, he’s rich, he’s a sports star, and he’s dating the most popular girl in school. But as a new evil threatens Hawkins, Jason’s perfect world begins to unravel...

Nikola Djuricko (Genius, In The Land of Blood and Honey) will play Yuri, a seedy and unpredictable Russian smuggler who loves bad jokes, cold hard cash, and crunchy style peanut butter.

Tom Wlaschiha (Game of Thrones, Jack Ryan) will play Dmitri, a Russian prison guard who befriends Hopper. Dmitri is smart, cunning, and charming... but can he be trusted?

No release date has been set for season 4 of Stranger Things. Shooting on the season reportedly began in January, but was put on hold in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The show has resumed shooting, and has continued location production throughout November.

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