Season 3 of Stranger Things has only been out on Netflix a week, and it has already shattered streaming records. In just four days, more than 40 million households watched the show, and over 18 million completed the season in what is one seriously impressive global binge-session.
With the “gate” allowing the upside-down access to our reality finally closed at the end of season two, it seemed like all was settled in the town of Hawkins, Indiana once again. Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) spends her time “necking” with her boyfriend Mike (Finn Wolfhard) – much to her adoptive father Chief Hopper’s (David Harbour) chagrin – while Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) has spent the summer at Camp Know, Where where he supposedly acquired a girlfriend as brainy as he is and “hotter than Phoebe Cates”.
With brand new mall Starcourt open in town and the community pool attracting legions of leering mothers thanks to its steamy lifeguard Billy (Dacre Montgomery), social life is split between shopping and swimming. Saturated in bright colors and happy 1980s pop tunes, the first three episodes of the show are so forcefully cheerful that it leaves one with a lurking sense of dread. What darkness lies beneath this glossy veneer?
With Stranger Things unfolding as the darkest and goriest seasons of the series so far, the audience is taken on a roller coaster ride that, by the end, leaves more questions than answers. Armed with ample curiosity, Savoir Flair flew out to Paris – courtesy of Netflix, of course –to interview the cast of Stranger Things, where we picked their brains about their on-screen relationships, favorite moments from the season, and more. And after spending the weekend with Natalia Dyer, Joe Keery, and Finn Wolfhard (it still feels surreal to even say that), this is what we learned.
They don't know what's going to happen until the end, either.
Because there are so many divergent storylines with different groups of characters, the rest of the cast doesn’t have visibility on what everyone else is doing. For instance, the “Scoops Troop” from Season 3, which was made up of Steve, Robin, Dustin, and Erica, didn’t know what was going on with Eleven, Max, Will, Lucas, and Mike – the group that was tracking Billy.
Wolfhard confessed, “I didn’t even read the other storylines. So, for example, I had no idea what was going on with Hopper. We maybe saw Dave [Harbour] on set twice the whole time. Seeing the whole show for the first time is so great. You really can watch it as an audience member, and then be like, ‘Ah, that’s what that was about’ when you see all of the storylines intersect.”
They're really musically gifted.
Wolfhard is in Calpurnia, Keery used to play in the popular psych-rock band Post Animal, Matarazzo sings in the band Work in Progress (which just dropped two new songs, by the way), and Charlie Heaton used to play drums in noise-rock band Comanechi.
When we talked to the guys about whether or not the fame from Stranger Things has allowed more or less time for musical passion projects, they surprisingly agreed that it actually allows more time and more opportunities. “We’ll have days off, which means you can really focus on other things. Sometimes, you’re sitting around for frickin’ eight hours in your trailer, and you’ll have your guitar there, and think, ‘Why not write a new song?’ Music is something that you can take into your own hands, it’s something you have more control over,” shared Keery.
They identify a lot with their characters.
In person, the camaraderie between the cast is as real and heartwarming as it is on Stranger Things. In a case of art imitating life, all of them seem to identify strongly with the characters they play, whether it’s Steve’s affable charm or Nancy’s gutsy inquisitiveness.
“We’ve grown quite close to our characters. This season, we’ve really seen Nancy come into her own with more determination and weaponry know-how,” Dyer shared with a laugh.
They're great at keeping secrets.
Everyone might pester the cast for spoilers, but they aren’t letting anything slip, not even to their families. With a cheeky grin, Keery admits, “I’m great at keeping secrets.” And when he’s asked for spoilers, Wolfhard turns it around on the person by saying, “‘If I tell you [the spoilers], will you still watch the show?’ And they’re like, ‘No.’ So I say, “Well, then not I’m not going to tell you.’ Spoilers ruin the fun.”
He even has a theory that stretches all the way back to the beginning of recorded film: “I think spoilers have been around since the dawn of movies. People thought that the first movie ever – which was a really simple shot of a train leaving the station – was real because they had never seen anything like that. I bet the first person to see that movie went out and spoiled it for the first person they saw.”
The costumes help them get into character.
Since the show is set in the 1980s, everything from the clothes and music to film references made (like Back to the Future) help inform the plot. But they also do more than that for the actors. The cast members were very forthcoming about how the costumes help them channel their characters.
Wolfhard shared, “Me and Steve both had the shortest shorts, and Will did too – they were like booty shorts [laughs]. But yeah, the costumes are really helpful for getting into character. It changes your body language. You know, when I’m Mike, I’m more hunched over, more self-conscious in a way. I become a different person.”
There was a lot they loved about the third season.
Dyer was a huge fan of how the show evolved its female characters. “I loved the relationship that grew between Nancy and her mother. Maya Hawke played a great new character, Robin, who brought a really interesting dynamic to the show. And the relationship between Eleven and Max was great. It was a great season for the women.”
Wolfhard’s favorite is shared by a lot of fans. “I love everything that happened with Hopper. I love seeing how he developed into a dad.” Meanwhile, Keery, who was lauded in Season 2 for stepping in to protect the kids (Eleven, Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Max in particular) was all in for the change-up in Season 3, which saw Dustin filling the father-figure role.