It might seem odd to think about now, but there was a time when Stranger Things seemed like a gamble that no one was sure would succeed. Even after the show had finished filming its first season, there was no predicting that it would come to dominate pop culture like it has. In many ways it feels like Stranger Things kicked off the wave of ’80s-influenced nostalgia television that we’ve seen continue in other series like Cobra Kai and GLOW. With its highly anticipated fourth season finally getting a release date and Netflix confirming that season 5 will be the show’s last, Stranger Things is set to only get bigger from here.
With Stranger Things season 4 due to premiere in only three months, its cast is now officially out doing press. Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin Henderson, recently visited the Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum podcast, where he looked back on the incredible run that Stranger Things has had so far.
Stranger Things stars were told it probably wasn’t going to get a second season
While there’s a lot of great stuff in the interview, one of the most interesting bits comes when Matarazzo was asked about the first time he ever saw the show.
“We went into this on stage at Screen Gems in Georgia,” he remembered. “There’s this back room..it was an empty little space, an empty little room and they brought this rinky dink little TV out there with just a regular DVD and a DVD player that had a rough cut of the first episode of the show. A lot of the editing hadn’t been finished at all, there were still like shots in which you could still see the green screen, it wasn’t even edited out. They had music put together, a rough cut of the music. It was just a rough draft of what the show was going to look like but they put so much work into that. All of us were in it, all the cast, the crew everybody, was there on that day. It was pretty small at the time and we just sat down and we we watched it and i just still remember every single moment of it to this day, six years ago.”
"We kept getting told ‘Enjoy while it lasts, because it’s probably not going to get a season two’ and we just watched it and just knew we were like ‘Okay we’re in good hands we’re safe, this is worthwhile.’"
Little did anyone know at the time, but Stranger Things went on to get much more than just a season 2. It’s become one of the few series airing new episodes right now that has managed to feel like event television, and is one of Netflix’s biggest hits of all time.
Can you imagine a different world where Stranger Things was never even renewed after its first season? It sounds like something out of the Upside Down.
Stranger Things season 4 will be coming to Netflix in two chunks, with the first group of episodes debuting on May 27 and the second on July 1. Though there are only nine episodes total for season 4, showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer claim it has “a runtime nearly twice the length of any previous season.” That’s a whole lot of ’80s sci-fi horror.