Stranger Things is a weird sci-fi show. It has all the potential of being a blockbuster franchise- it is in it’s own right. Yet, due to the small town setting and the close cast, it feels more like an indie/edgy TV show. It has just enough mythology to drop the kids and branch out into other stories, but if they dropped the kids it would bomb, because the kids are what makes the show so cool. Yet still you have the problem of the kids growing up if the show lasts for more than four years.
Stranger Things just got officially renewed for season 3. It was never intended to be a long running seven season show, but since it’s more popular than certain films (See Jigsaw), staying in this type of extended universe is surely at the back of the minds of the Duffer Brothers, even if Eleven’s story ends.
In fact, it could be said that Will’s story is more central to season two than Eleven’s and she has been criticized for being the worst part of the last season. Was this by design? The mystery of what was done to her is still unsolved. Nobody knows what the tattoo Eleven actually means, or everything about what she had to endure at the facility. There obviously are at least eight other kids who we know nothing about, and they also had similar things done to them. Will we ever learn about them?
Despite the small town setting, you would think that a parallel universe seeping into the Earth, would draw a bit more attention right? I mean that happens all the time in Marvel movies. This is larger than the town of Hawkins, but the rest of the world doesn’t even seem to be included in the series. Sure, Eleven goes to Chicago in a back-door pilot type episode in season two to track down one of the kids she was in the facility with, and discovers she has powers too! But they don’t even talk about the really important and evil smoke monster that is destroying her home.
But maybe the Duffer Brothers know that a Stranger Things shared universe with spinoff TV shows and movies will only make the original lose it’s charm. Maybe the Duffer Brothers don’t want to see Stranger Things become yet another Hollywood franchise stretched thin and maybe just maybe, they are right.