“Our career wasn’t really rocketing”: Stranger Things Creators Imagined Stranger Things to Last for Only 1 Season After WB Dumped Their First Movie

The creators of Stranger Things discussed how one of Netflix’s flagship series defied all odds to become a phenomenon.

“Our career wasn’t really rocketing”: Stranger Things Creators Imagined Stranger Things to Last for Only 1 Season After WB Dumped Their First Movie

SUMMARY

  • The Duffer Brothers’ sci-fi horror drama TV series, Stranger Things, debuted on Netflix nearly seven years ago.
  • But it nearly wouldn’t have seen the light of day after one season.
  • Matt and Ross Duffer had intended for the show to run for just one season after WB shelved their first film.
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Though it is difficult to picture a world without Eleven, Demogorgons, or the extremely popular Upside-Down, surprisingly, Stranger Things nearly wouldn’t have seen the light of day after one season. 

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Stranger Things is a groundbreaking series that is highly binge-worthy. Almost seven years ago, Netflix released the science fiction horror drama TV series created by the Duffer Brothers. The charming identical twins, Matt and Ross Duffer, the brains behind the hit television series, never imagined their pilot script would wind up with Laps Entertainment.

Let us go back to a time when Matt and Ross Duffer, the creative team behind Stranger Things, had no idea the show would survive beyond its first season, which debuted in 2016. Their first film, which they pitched to Warner Bros. (WB) as part of their Hollywood debut, did not turn out as expected, as the studio dumped the project.

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Noah Schnapp in Stranger Things season 1
Noah Schnapp in Stranger Things season 1

Also Read: “Just don’t be a Tom Holland here”: 1 Stranger Things Star Became Netflix’s Worst Nightmare in Season 5

Stranger Things Was Only Supposed to Last One Season?

Netflix has almost entirely shifted its focus to Stranger Things. Why? In the first half of 2022, the streaming service lost 200,000 subscribers and $50 billion in market value (The Guardian). Thus, it made a major move to win back the Duffer brothers when their popular show came back after a three-year hiatus.

Originally premiering on July 15, 2016, the first season was followed by the second and third in October 2017 and July 2019, respectively. In the meantime, two parts of the fourth season made their debuts in May and July of 2022. Unprecedented viewership on Netflix has solidified Stranger Things‘ status as one of the platform’s flagship shows.

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Millie Bobby Brown
Millie Bobby Brown in Stranger Things

No, the brothers had no idea that more seasons could be produced after the first one debuted in 2016. While the brothers are getting ready to film Stranger Things season five in Atlanta, Matt Duffer recently told The Guardian via video chat:

“Our career wasn’t really rocketing at that point. We had made one movie for Warner Bros, which Warner Bros didn’t end up liking, and they just dumped it. Ross and I had dreams of being film-makers; we wanted to direct more films, but every meeting we kept going to, no one was interested in any of our movie ideas.”

Their statement is not meant to be modest. Matt Duffer is referring to the 2012 film Hidden, starring Andrea Riseborough and Alexander Skarsgård, that was delayed for three years by the studio. Stranger Things received a fifth and final season renewal in February 2022. 

Also Read: “White privilege strikes again”: Fans Slam Noah Schnapp Making it to Forbes 30 Under 30 Despite Having No Projects Apart from Stranger Things S5

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Matt And Ross Duffer Talked About Pitching Stranger Things

According to the Duffer Brothers, when they made their pitch to Netflix, the streaming service was already recognized for its original content, having established producers behind shows like House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black. And it was prepared to start offering up-and-coming producers like them a chance. According to what Matt Duffer told the New York Times:

“There were a lot of things going against it. We just weren’t established. And we were very intent on showrunning it and directing. And we were told you cannot put kids in the lead roles of a show that’s not intended for a kid audience. We wrote one script for it, the pilot, which is very close to the first episode as it exists now. And then we made a 20-page pitch book, where we took an old Stephen King book cover, and we had a lot of imagery from a lot of the movies that we’re referencing.”

A still from Stranger Things
A still from Stranger Things

Variety claims that the show’s original name was Montauk, and Montauk, New York, along with the surrounding Long Island areas, were the backdrop back then. Additionally, as we discovered from Screen Craft, the Duffer Brothers used music, visuals, and still frames from popular movies, including Jaws, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Poltergeist, Hellraiser, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, to set the tone for the series when pitching it.

With more than 5 million followers on social media, TV Time claims that the series is the most popular TV program in the app’s history. Stranger Things has garnered a plethora of accolades and nominations in the entertainment industry, including ten Primetime Emmy Award nominations and four Golden Globe Award nominations. 

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Stranger Things
Stranger Things

Stream Stranger Things on Netflix.

Also Read: “I probably would still be closeted”: Only Reason Noah Schnapp Came Out Was Because Stranger Things Let Will Byers be Gay

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Written by Siddhika Prajapati

Articles Published: 1749

Between everyday normalities and supernatural abnormalities, Siddhika Prajapati finds the story in everything. Literature Honors Graduate and Post-Graduated in Journalism (from Delhi University), her undying need to deduce the extraordinary out of simplicity makes her a vibrant storyteller.

Serving as a Senior Entertainment Writer at Fandom Wire and having written over 1700 pieces, Siddhika has also worked with multiple clients and projects over the years, including Indian Express, India Today, and Outlook Group.

Who knows, maybe your next favorite persona on the screen will be crafted by her.