9:40pm PT by Bryn Elise Sandberg
'Stranger Things' Premiere: Ted Sarandos, Duffers Talk "Bigger," "Darker" Season
Netflix turned the Regency Bruin Theatre upside down on Thursday night for the premiere of Stranger Things 2, the highly anticipated second season of the streamer's sci-fi phenomenon. Naturally, hoards of teens flocked to the Westwood, California venue hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars of the 1980's drama — including Millie Bobby Brown, Winona Ryder, Gaten Matarazzo, Finn Wolfhard and Caleb McLaughlin — as they stepped out into the black carpet for the glitzy premiere.
Chatter at the event largely centered on how talent and creators thought the second installment of the series, which is a homage to vintage 80's film and TV, would live up to fans' astronomical expectations. But according to Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarados, the new season will not disappoint. "They keep setting the bar very high but I think this season absolutely delivers on this incredible unprecedented anticipation for it," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "It’s a nice thing when you get the anticipation and the reward — and a lot of people are going to be getting it in the next 12 hours."
How did the success of season one change the tone on set this year? “We felt a little bit more pressure just because a lot of people love the show,” said Wolfhard, who plays Mike. “But personality-wise no one changed and it just felt like coming back to summer camp.” Brown agreed, telling THR that "it wasn't anything different. It was the same amazing people surrounding us every day."
When asked about how the show's nine new episodes hitting the streaming service Oct. 27 will be different than the previous eight that premiered during the summer of 2016, castmembers didn't hesitate to use words like "darker" and "bigger." Natalia Dyer, who plays Nancy, promised that the show "takes it up a notch" this season. "The characters are dealing with repercussions from season one, and we find out more about what's going on in the paranormal universe of Hawkins," she explained.
Matt and Ross Duffer, the twin creators of the drama, say that despite being a bit cliche, the descriptors are true. "It’s all the sequel cliches you hear: it’s bigger, it’s darker and whatever. Some people criticize us for saying that but it's what we wanted to do," said Matt, adding that some of his favorite sequels, like the Alien franchise, tend to get bigger, change tone and pivot a bit. "We didn’t want to mess too much with the DNA of the show that was working, but we wanted to infuse it with some new tones."
One of those new tones? Horror, according to Ross. "We thought that there was room to push the horror," he said, noting that the first season wasn’t as scary as he and his brother wanted it to be. "I think that’s one reason it did as well as it did because people who typically don’t like horror films were able to watch it — but now that we’ve got them, we might as well push it." Joked Matt, "We’ve hooked them so they’re screwed!"