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31 "Stranger Things" Behind-The-Scenes Facts That'll Make You Say, "Oh, That's Actually Really Interesting"

Steve was supposed to be killed off in Season 1. :-o

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1. Noah Schnapp (Will Byers) initially auditioned for the role of Mike.

Schnapp was at summer camp when he actually got the news that he'd landed the part of Will Byers... which was not the role he'd even auditioned for!
Crystal Ro / BuzzFeed / Netflix

Schnapp was at summer camp when he actually got the news that he'd landed the part of Will Byers... which was not the role he'd even auditioned for!

2. 246 young actors actually auditioned for the role of Eleven.

When Millie Bobby Brown auditioned they filmed it close-up and, according to Ross Duffer, "the number of emotions she went through in just a few minutes —she felt like this alien creature coming to Earth for the first time."
Netflix

When Millie Bobby Brown auditioned they filmed it close-up and, according to Ross Duffer, "the number of emotions she went through in just a few minutes —she felt like this alien creature coming to Earth for the first time."

3. Mike was originally conceived with a large birthmark on his face.

Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike, explained, "That was a story point, but they ended up removing it because they thought that us being natural was [better.]"
Crystal Ro / BuzzFeed / Netflix

Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike, explained, "That was a story point, but they ended up removing it because they thought that us being natural was [better.]"

4. Meanwhile, Dustin was originally written as wearing glasses.

The glasses were ditched, but Gaten Matarazzo's cleidocranial dysplasia was written into the show after he was cast as Dustin.
Crystal Ro / BuzzFeed / Netflix

The glasses were ditched, but Gaten Matarazzo's cleidocranial dysplasia was written into the show after he was cast as Dustin.

5. When the Duffers called Caleb McLaughlin to tell him he got the part of Lucas, they actually pretended it was bad news just to mess with him.

McLaughlin said, "When I got the call, I was nervous. They sounded super upset." He continued, "They were like, 'Yeah, man — just wanted to tell you — you officially got Lucas!'"
Netflix

McLaughlin said, "When I got the call, I was nervous. They sounded super upset." He continued, "They were like, 'Yeah, man — just wanted to tell you — you officially got Lucas!'"

6. Steve was supposed to be killed off in Season 1.

"He was just supposed to be this giant douchebag," said Ross Duffer. But once Joe Keery came along, the Duffers fell in love with him and realized that killing his character off just wasn't an option anymore.
Netflix

"He was just supposed to be this giant douchebag," said Ross Duffer. But once Joe Keery came along, the Duffers fell in love with him and realized that killing his character off just wasn't an option anymore.

7. Eleven's iconic pink dress was based on the style of Polly Flinders brand dresses that were popular in the '70s.

Costume designer Kimberly Adams explained, "Every little girl had the Polly Flinders dresses. We found a fit that felt right for the character and then played with the wigs so we could marry the whole look. The embroidery was all hand-done."
Netflix, LunaGirlVintage / Via etsy.com

Costume designer Kimberly Adams explained, "Every little girl had the Polly Flinders dresses. We found a fit that felt right for the character and then played with the wigs so we could marry the whole look. The embroidery was all hand-done."

8. The boys' famous walkie talkies were actually found at a flea market in Long Beach, CA.

Prop master Lynda Reiss said, "I was at the Long Beach flea market, and I saw two of the many walkie-talkies we ended up getting, and I bought them. I sent pictures to the Duffers, and they loved them."
Netflix

Prop master Lynda Reiss said, "I was at the Long Beach flea market, and I saw two of the many walkie-talkies we ended up getting, and I bought them. I sent pictures to the Duffers, and they loved them."

9. And each of their BMX bikes were tailored to fit their characters.

"Mike's bike is slightly newer, Dustin is always tinkering with things, so his bike has a halfway-finished repaint job, and Lucas got the green one with a sparkly seat because I just loved them," said prop master Lynda Reiss.
Netflix

"Mike's bike is slightly newer, Dustin is always tinkering with things, so his bike has a halfway-finished repaint job, and Lucas got the green one with a sparkly seat because I just loved them," said prop master Lynda Reiss.

10. When the show first aired, David Harbour (Chief Hopper) was convinced the show was going to be a failure because he didn't see any subway ads for it in NY, where he lives.

He "buzzed his hair, holed up in his apartment, and stayed off the internet."
dkharbour / Via instagram.com

He "buzzed his hair, holed up in his apartment, and stayed off the internet."

11. Shannon Purser, who played Barb, taped her first audition for the show in her parents' basement.

She read two scenes between Barb and Nancy opposite her real-life best friend.
Netflix

She read two scenes between Barb and Nancy opposite her real-life best friend.

12. Every single bulb in Joyce's iconic Christmas light setup was a practical effect and could actually be turned on and off as needed.

Set decorator Jess Royal strung the lights up and worked closely with the show's electricians to make a master control panel.
Netflix

Set decorator Jess Royal strung the lights up and worked closely with the show's electricians to make a master control panel.

13. For the infamous van-flying-through-the-air scene, they actually, practically, fired a van into the air.

It's an old Hollywood technique that's been used many times before (like in The Dark Knight, for example), but as special effect coordinator Caius Man explained, "We towed one [van] down the street, and the van had in it two nitrogen cannons, two nitrogen sleeves that fired a high-density plastic slug out of the bottom of them to push it up into the air."
Netflix

It's an old Hollywood technique that's been used many times before (like in The Dark Knight, for example), but as special effect coordinator Caius Man explained, "We towed one [van] down the street, and the van had in it two nitrogen cannons, two nitrogen sleeves that fired a high-density plastic slug out of the bottom of them to push it up into the air."

14. Millie Bobby Brown wore an earpiece when she was submerged in the sensory-deprivation tank.

Executive produced Dan Cohen said, "Because there's no dialogue in that moment, the guys were talking to her while she was underwater, directing her, and saying, 'Give us a sign if you need to come up or anything.'"
milliebobbybrown / Via instagram.com

Executive produced Dan Cohen said, "Because there's no dialogue in that moment, the guys were talking to her while she was underwater, directing her, and saying, 'Give us a sign if you need to come up or anything.'"

15. There are actually FIVE "stages" to the Demogorgon's morphology — Pollywog, Frogogorgon, Catogorgon, Demodog, and Demogorgon.

All are creepy AF though.
Crystal Ro / BuzzFeed / Netflix

All are creepy AF though.

16. Bob was originally supposed to die much earlier in Season 2, in Episode 4 (rather than the finale).

Ross Duffer explained, "But Sean Astin proved so likable that Bob's death got pushed [...] because we wanted to keep him alive. It was important to us and also to Sean to give him a bit of a hero's death."
Netflix

Ross Duffer explained, "But Sean Astin proved so likable that Bob's death got pushed [...] because we wanted to keep him alive. It was important to us and also to Sean to give him a bit of a hero's death."

17. There are a lot of secrets to Hopper's backstory with his daughter — and we may never learn them all.

David Harbour said, "His backstory with his daughter has so much complexity. There's a lot of secrets there that the Duffers and I have talked about, in terms of his own guilt around his daughter and the way that all particularly went down."
Crystal Ro / BuzzFeed / Netflix

David Harbour said, "His backstory with his daughter has so much complexity. There's a lot of secrets there that the Duffers and I have talked about, in terms of his own guilt around his daughter and the way that all particularly went down."

18. Although it's a part of the show, we may never get a deeper look at MKUltra in future seasons.

Ross Duffer said, "I wouldn't say [we had done] necessarily a deep dive into it. It was more a surface glance of seeing what they were up to and then using that as an excuse to have science-based horror in our narrative."
Netflix

Ross Duffer said, "I wouldn't say [we had done] necessarily a deep dive into it. It was more a surface glance of seeing what they were up to and then using that as an excuse to have science-based horror in our narrative."

19. The Duffers were actually intimidated by the idea of directing Winona Ryder.

Matt Duffer explained, "Winona is an actress who I really look up to, who we grew up with and was in so many movies that meant so much to me. I was nervous about looking like a fool in front of her."
dkharbour / Via instagram.com

Matt Duffer explained, "Winona is an actress who I really look up to, who we grew up with and was in so many movies that meant so much to me. I was nervous about looking like a fool in front of her."

20. Dacre Montgomery's infamous audition tape (shirtless '80s dancing!!) for the role of Billy caught the filmmakers totally off guard.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

The show's producers "knew immediately they had found the right actor for the role."

21. Sadie Sink does not like horror movies — which is funny when you consider Max wears a Michael Myers mask for Halloween.

"I hate watching scary movies," she said.
Netflix

"I hate watching scary movies," she said.

22. The Duffers specifically referenced the shark in Jaws when giving direction to actor Mark Steger, who played the Demogorgon in Season 1.

facebook.com

Steger explained, "I tried to make it as creepy as possible, just doing really subtle moves."

23. 27 individual motors are required to create the effect of the Demogorgon's face opening and closing.

The mechanism that controls it is actually contained in a small backpack concealed by the monster's suit itself.
Netflix

The mechanism that controls it is actually contained in a small backpack concealed by the monster's suit itself.

24. The arcade in Season 2 was built inside a former laundromat in Georgia.

"The roof was caving in, it was so much work to even get it cleared out and structurally sound," said Royal.
Netflix

"The roof was caving in, it was so much work to even get it cleared out and structurally sound," said Royal.

25. Many of the scenes inside Hawkins Lab were shot at the former Georgia Mental Health Institute — a former psychiatric hospital.

Production designer Chris Trujillo said, "That was all about removing color and having it be this very kind of austere [place]. Sucking all the color out of that world and emphasizing the institutional coldness and making it feel forbidding."
Netflix, James Tingley / Via youtube.com

Production designer Chris Trujillo said, "That was all about removing color and having it be this very kind of austere [place]. Sucking all the color out of that world and emphasizing the institutional coldness and making it feel forbidding."

26. If you feel like the show looked particular "orange" in Season 1 — especially for it being set in 1983 — that's because they wanted it to look fall-colored.

Trujillo said, "I see Indiana as being fall-colored — rusts and rich yellows and the oranges and red brick and the creamy whites." He continued, "We wanted to feel and sense that the town is all hemmed in by nature."
Netflix

Trujillo said, "I see Indiana as being fall-colored — rusts and rich yellows and the oranges and red brick and the creamy whites." He continued, "We wanted to feel and sense that the town is all hemmed in by nature."

27. The Duffer brothers came up with the initial idea of Stranger Things way back in the fall of 2013.

The initial script went through a full week of rejections before "somewhat accidentally" finding its way to Netflix.
screencraft.org

The initial script went through a full week of rejections before "somewhat accidentally" finding its way to Netflix.

28. And, in their infamous look book that they used to pitch the show, the Duffer's design of the Demogorgon referenced the works of Guillermo del Toro, Clive Barker, and H.R. Giger.

From left to right, above: Pan's Labyrinth, Hellraiser, and Alien.
Picturehouse, New World Pictures, 20th Century Fox

From left to right, above: Pan's Labyrinth, Hellraiser, and Alien.

29. The first scene the Duffers wrote was actually the Dungeons & Dragons scene.

It was also the very first scene they filmed!
Netflix

It was also the very first scene they filmed!

30. For the upcoming Season 3, the crew actually took over parts of two floors in an existing shopping center to make Hawkin's ~new~ Starcourt Mall.

They literally retrofitted everything to look like 1985.
Netflix / Via Twitter: @Stranger_Things

They literally retrofitted everything to look like 1985.

31. And, following suit of the past two seasons, Season 3 will take place roughly one year later in 1985 — but in the summer (rather than the fall).

Producer Shawn Levy added, "If Season 2 was about the desperate desire for normalcy and the impossibility of normalcy in Hawkins, Season 3's about change. It's about changes in the kids' relationships with each other." Think of it as a "summer-set storyline fueled by young love and raging hormones."
Netflix / Via Twitter: @Stranger_Things

Producer Shawn Levy added, "If Season 2 was about the desperate desire for normalcy and the impossibility of normalcy in Hawkins, Season 3's about change. It's about changes in the kids' relationships with each other." Think of it as a "summer-set storyline fueled by young love and raging hormones."

Facts for this post have been sourced from Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down: The Official Behind-the-Scenes Companion.

And if you're interested in reading even MORE behind-the-scenes facts you can get the book for $16.50 on Amazon.

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