Duffer Brothers on How Stranger Things Became a Cultural Phenomenon

October 24, 2017

The highly anticipated second season of "Stranger Things" is coming to Netflix on October 27th. The co-creators of the hit original series, Matt and Ross Duffer, known as "The Duffer Brothers," join Cheddar to preview the newest season.

The co-creators say they were yearning for storytelling that went back to topics ordinary people can relate to, and "Stranger Things" is produced more like a movie than a TV show. That may be why it fits the binge-watching bill for Netflix.

As for how long they think the show will last? "It's certainly not going to be seven seasons." Matt and Ross Duffer say "Stranger Things" will have more than three seasons, but they're not sure how the series will end.

The show was one of the breakout hits in Netflix's original programming slate last year. The company plans to spend as much as $8 billion on its own content in 2018. "Stranger Things" has already been picked up for a third season.


BAKER MACHADO: [MUSIC] Welcome back guys, to Cheddar brought to you of course, by HP.

BAKER MACHADO: Earlier today, I spoke with the co-creators of Netflix's hit series 'Stranger Things'.

BAKER MACHADO: The Duffer Brothers, had some very interesting things to

BAKER MACHADO: say about Season Two coming up on Friday, take a look.

BAKER MACHADO: In a highly anticipated second season of Stranger Things,

BAKER MACHADO: is coming to Netflix this Friday.

BAKER MACHADO: So, if you aren't caught up on the streaming services hottest shows,

BAKER MACHADO: or you need a big refresher,

BAKER MACHADO: you have less than three days actually,

BAKER MACHADO: get your fix and get all caught up.

BAKER MACHADO: We might be able to help you get caught up.

BAKER MACHADO: We're joined by the creators of the series,

BAKER MACHADO: Matt and Ross Duffer,

BAKER MACHADO: also known as the Duffer Brothers.

BAKER MACHADO: Guys, such a pleasure to have you on.

BAKER MACHADO: Very excited for Friday for the Season Two of uh, Stranger Things.

BAKER MACHADO: So, let's get straight to it. What can everybody expect from the new season?

MATT DUFFER: [NOISE] [LAUGHTER] I don't know, I hate to put

MATT DUFFER: any more expectations on, you know, maybe on the show.

MATT DUFFER: I mean, I, I don't know, I mean,

MATT DUFFER: I think it's uh- I think if you liked uh, you know,

MATT DUFFER: if you liked the first season, um,

MATT DUFFER: that you'll like, you know, you'll like the second one.



MATT DUFFER: it's is a little bit bigger.

MATT DUFFER: It's a little bit darker,

MATT DUFFER: um, um, a little bit more, you know, ambitious.

MATT DUFFER: I mean, we took some big swings with it,

MATT DUFFER: um, and we just had a lot of fun with it.

MATT DUFFER: And uh, the cast, uh, you know,

MATT DUFFER: it is an amazing cast and kids and I think they're even better this year.

BAKER MACHADO: But I've also heard the like, well, you know,

BAKER MACHADO: the monster in this particular season is the greatest we've ever seen.

BAKER MACHADO: One that might even potentially span multiple seasons.

ROSS DUFFER: Well, in that, part of the goal with this season was to set up,

ROSS DUFFER: um, an antagonist that could last through,

ROSS DUFFER: yeah, more than, more than one season.

ROSS DUFFER: So, that's, that's what we're, that's what we're looking at.

ROSS DUFFER: So, it's really laying the groundwork for a multiple season arc.

BAKER MACHADO: Okay. So, Matt, this has been a cultural phenomenon that this show has basically created.

BAKER MACHADO: Now, we have, you know, clothing lines based off of this.

BAKER MACHADO: We have Super Bowl commercials

BAKER MACHADO: based off of this. I [OVERLAPPING] guess, for either of you guys.

BAKER MACHADO: Were you guys surprised at the amount of love,

BAKER MACHADO: attention and affection that fans have been drawn to this show?

MATT DUFFER: Um, I was totally expecting it. No I'm not- [LAUGHTER] [OVERLAPPING]

BAKER MACHADO: Of course, you were.

MATT DUFFER: [LAUGHTER] No. Of course, no. It's shocking.

MATT DUFFER: It's still shocking.

MATT DUFFER: But, um, you know, it's, it's really weird.

MATT DUFFER: I mean, it's a very, like we made season one.

MATT DUFFER: I mean, uh, you don't know if everyone is going to watch it.

MATT DUFFER: Um, so, you're just trying to make something that you,

MATT DUFFER: you like and everyone involved in the show,

MATT DUFFER: you know, was really passionate about it.

MATT DUFFER: But it was it, it felt like a really small intimate group

MATT DUFFER: of people were making season one.

MATT DUFFER: And, you know, for the most part,

MATT DUFFER: it still felt that way when we were doing season two.

MATT DUFFER: I mean, even like Netflix that we were dealing with, you know,

MATT DUFFER: we talked to like three people here,

MATT DUFFER: you know, on a regular basis and that's it.

MATT DUFFER: And I think so, um,

MATT DUFFER: it's feels like a very personal project in a way,

MATT DUFFER: even though now it has, you know,

MATT DUFFER: sort of expectations that come with it.

BAKER MACHADO: But why would do people resonate with it so much?

BAKER MACHADO: Do you think it's the 80's nostalgia [OVERLAPPING]?

BAKER MACHADO: Do you think it's the music? Do you think it's the fact that we all love Winona Ryder?

BAKER MACHADO: What is it? Why do we like this show so much?

MATT DUFFER: I don't know.

ROSS DUFFER: I mean, for me, only for us, at least,

ROSS DUFFER: what we we're yearning for was a type of storytelling will never went back,

ROSS DUFFER: and stuff that made us want to do this in the first place,

ROSS DUFFER: which is, very ordinary people that you can relate to.

ROSS DUFFER: Whether, you know, it's, you know,

ROSS DUFFER: these kids or the teenagers or, or the parents.

ROSS DUFFER: These are people that you recognize in your daily life,

ROSS DUFFER: and you see yourself in them.

ROSS DUFFER: And then, they're having to come together in

ROSS DUFFER: these extraordinary circumstances to essentially save the world.

ROSS DUFFER: They're not superheroes.

ROSS DUFFER: They're normal people that, um,

ROSS DUFFER: have to work together to do this incredible thing.

ROSS DUFFER: And, so, when I was young, when I saw people on screen that I recognize in myself,

ROSS DUFFER: it made me feel like I was part of the adventure.

ROSS DUFFER: And, I mean is that, that's the kind of storytelling that

ROSS DUFFER: we're trying to harken back here.

BAKER MACHADO: Um, when, is Barb going to be in the second season?

BAKER MACHADO: [LAUGHTER] What ever happened to [OVERLAPPING] Barb,

BAKER MACHADO: and are you guys surprised that everybody cared so much about Barb?

ROSS DUFFER: Yeah, which is twenty five lines. Uh, so, yeah, We were surprised.I mean,

ROSS DUFFER: I loved Shannon Purser who played Barb. She's great.

ROSS DUFFER: But yeah, we were definitely not expecting Barb phenomenon.

ROSS DUFFER: She is dead, sadly.

ROSS DUFFER: I have to keep saying that over and over here,

ROSS DUFFER: which very [OVERLAPPING] much dead.

MATT DUFFER: People are in denial about it.

ROSS DUFFER: There is no Barb flat backs. She's dead.

ROSS DUFFER: We do deal [OVERLAPPING] with her and what happened to her.

ROSS DUFFER: But, um, but unfortunately, Barb is gone.

MATT DUFFER: But, yeah, what ha, what,

MATT DUFFER: what did happen to her does resonate through, um, Season Two.

MATT DUFFER: So, you know, [OVERLAPPING] she has not been forgotten, if you're a fan of hers.

BAKER MACHADO: Okay. Good [NOISE]. So, we will get some Barb closure,

BAKER MACHADO: because I definitely don't know yet [OVERLAPPING]?

BAKER MACHADO: But do you guys,but do you guys think that Stranger Things,

BAKER MACHADO: is this kind of only,

BAKER MACHADO: you know, positioned on these kids?

BAKER MACHADO: You only want to tell the story about what's happening,

BAKER MACHADO: and, you know, this town, with these kids.

BAKER MACHADO: Or do you think that this show Stranger Things could

BAKER MACHADO: branch out and be, you know, a franchise?

BAKER MACHADO: Because, we see Game of Thrones and the success that it has had.

BAKER MACHADO: [OVERLAPPING] It's going to get spin-offs.

BAKER MACHADO: We see the spin-offs with the walking dead.

BAKER MACHADO: Do you feel like Stranger Things could essentially have the same thing,

BAKER MACHADO: or do you guys like to keep it with the storyline that it already has [LAUGHTER]?

MATT DUFFER: Um, right now, we're just [NOISE]

MATT DUFFER: focusing. I mean, we've talked about like, other stuff for maybe ten minutes.

MATT DUFFER: And then, and, you know,

MATT DUFFER: Netflix has been really good about not pressuring us about it.

MATT DUFFER: And so, I mean,

MATT DUFFER: I think that a lot of times what happened with studios and networks and stuff is,

MATT DUFFER: you can get ahead of yourself.

MATT DUFFER: And I think, so, because right now the focus is entirely on just making,

MATT DUFFER: you know, just to make a good second season, um, and then,

MATT DUFFER: hopefully, make a good, uh,

MATT DUFFER: make a good third season.

MATT DUFFER: And, uh, beyond that,

MATT DUFFER: it's incredibly murky to me.

MATT DUFFER: Um, but, um, I, I don't know, I mean, it's just, it's not, it not,

MATT DUFFER: It's not like Game of Thrones or Star Wars [NOISE] in the sense that this is a brand new,

MATT DUFFER: you know, universe with hundreds of stories to tell.

MATT DUFFER: You know, so, It's very, it's very different than some of those properties so.

MATT DUFFER: And by that, you know, Game of Throne has seven season,

MATT DUFFER: we're still on two, we're still very, very young. [NOISE]


BAKER MACHADO: And it's important to note you just said, you know, you guys,

BAKER MACHADO: you guys are going to have a third season of

BAKER MACHADO: this show which is really important for a lot of people,

BAKER MACHADO: if you know, in terms of figuring out the storyline of the show.

BAKER MACHADO: So, how many seasons [OVERLAPPING] do you think this, you guys,

BAKER MACHADO: can tell their story with these kids in this setting in the 80's?

BAKER MACHADO: Is that something that you guys think can be a three,

BAKER MACHADO: or four, or five season thing?

BAKER MACHADO: Or is it something that you need to keep it shorter?

ROSS DUFFER: Um, I think, well, it's certainly not going to be something like seven seasons.

ROSS DUFFER: I mean, it's certainly, we, will be more than three,

ROSS DUFFER: um, but we don't really know beyond that.

ROSS DUFFER: I mean, it really once we start telling this, the story,

ROSS DUFFER: the changes, um, dramatically,

ROSS DUFFER: as we start writing the script.

ROSS DUFFER: So, it's hard to know to really get in there.

ROSS DUFFER: But, um, we're trying not to overstay our welcome.


ROSS DUFFER: there's only so much time that I believe something

ROSS DUFFER: terrible can happen in this town and these kids [LAUGHTER] it's,

ROSS DUFFER: uh, [inaudible 00:06:23] Visually, there's just going to be like, you know what,

ROSS DUFFER: I've done with the town of Hawkins and [OVERLAPPING].

MATT DUFFER: I mean, it's more,

MATT DUFFER: like it is in a way a lot more,

MATT DUFFER: like a big movie than it's like a TV show.

MATT DUFFER: And so, it's not necessarily build to sustain,

MATT DUFFER: um, that many seasons [OVERLAPPING] and so.

MATT DUFFER: Regardless of how successful it is.

MATT DUFFER: Well, you don't, you know, the worst thing we can do to the show is to,

MATT DUFFER: you know, um, keep doing it when we're not passionate about it,

MATT DUFFER: it really has no reason to exist anymore.

BAKER MACHADO: Totally [OVERLAPPING] Um, I'm glad you guys

BAKER MACHADO: brought up the idea of how many times

BAKER MACHADO: something bad can happen in this town of Hawkins because,

BAKER MACHADO: we keep talking about like,

BAKER MACHADO: how many bad days could Jack Bauer have,

BAKER MACHADO: he can have 15 seasons of

BAKER MACHADO: that show at least you got [OVERLAPPING] to get through like we got to move,

BAKER MACHADO: something crazy is happening here [OVERLAPPING].

MATT DUFFER: We got a business, but sadly we got to move. [LAUGHTER]

BAKER MACHADO: Ah, but let's talk about the pitch process.

BAKER MACHADO: I mean, you guys had said you were as surprised as anybody at the success of the show.

BAKER MACHADO: Did you guys pitched this to other networks?

BAKER MACHADO: And what was it about Netflix that they were like,

BAKER MACHADO: We got to have this. This is amazing.

ROSS DUFFER: Ah, the weird thing is we,

ROSS DUFFER: we were not very,

ROSS DUFFER: we weren't very established at all and especially in the TV space.

ROSS DUFFER: And so, we weren't even going out to networks.

ROSS DUFFER: We were going to studios which can help us get

ROSS DUFFER: a network and then somehow Netflix caught wind of it and just snatched that up.

ROSS DUFFER: So, we weren't even confident that we can sell at any net- network much less,

ROSS DUFFER: someplace like, Netflix, which was, you know.

ROSS DUFFER: At that time, you know, they were,

ROSS DUFFER: they're producing a lot more now, but the ad,

ROSS DUFFER: you know, a David Fincher show,

ROSS DUFFER: a Jenji Kohan show and that was about it.

ROSS DUFFER: So, we were shocked that they,

ROSS DUFFER: uh, were interested in airing the show.

MATT DUFFER: But we, we, we accrued a good number of rejection.

BAKER MACHADO: Yes we did.

MATT DUFFER: So, we argue over how many,

MATT DUFFER: but I would say fifteen.

MATT DUFFER: Ah, fifteen companies turned us down before we wound up in Netflix.

BAKER MACHADO: Um, uh, I'm going to I want to ask you guys about who are you guys look

BAKER MACHADO: up to and some of your influences here in just a second but,

BAKER MACHADO: do you think a show like Stranger Things could do well on,

BAKER MACHADO: you know, in traditional regular broadcast network?

BAKER MACHADO: Or do you think the success of this show is really largely in part,

BAKER MACHADO: tied into the fact that,

BAKER MACHADO: it's a binge worthy show and it has to be on uh,

BAKER MACHADO: on a platform like a Netflix?

ROSS DUFFER: I don't know. The way we build the show and the way we

ROSS DUFFER: designed the writing of it was specific with more,

ROSS DUFFER: you being able to be binge in terms of having sort of ending

ROSS DUFFER: each chapter in this cliffhanger and It sort of propels you forward.

ROSS DUFFER: So, I certainly think it helped, it's hard,

ROSS DUFFER: it's hard to say [OVERLAPPING] but I know now,

ROSS DUFFER: I love bingieng show so.

ROSS DUFFER: You know, we, and we view it is one basically big movie and so,

ROSS DUFFER: to me, it makes,

ROSS DUFFER: it really is designed as a bingieng show. But.

MATT DUFFER: I, it's impossible now.

MATT DUFFER: I have, I have no idea.

MATT DUFFER: Um, but I, I, I love,

MATT DUFFER: I love how how Netflix works.

MATT DUFFER: I, I, I did, we're actually movie fans, like a group,

MATT DUFFER: not watching a lot of television and I didn't fall in love with television,

MATT DUFFER: until I was able to start bingieng.

MATT DUFFER: I mean, I did, I'm talking about

MATT DUFFER: old school bingeing which is just getting the DVDs in the mail,

MATT DUFFER: um, and, and turning them over as quickly as possible.

MATT DUFFER: You know, the [OVERLAPPING] 3D, original 3 DVD

MATT DUFFER: Netflix [NOISE] [OVERLAPPING] Um in college,

MATT DUFFER: I was doing 'The Wire' and 'Sopranos' and falling in love with some of the HBO shows,

MATT DUFFER: and um, and I fell in love with them,

MATT DUFFER: not in a traditional way but through, um, bingeing.

BAKER MACHADO: I was the same way. I was getting all the 'Sex and the City' DVD's all the time.

BAKER MACHADO: Thank god for Netflix and the DVD's back then.

BAKER MACHADO: Okay. What [LAUGHTER] do you guys, who do you guys influences?

BAKER MACHADO: Who are some of your favorite directors, writers,

BAKER MACHADO: that are out there,

BAKER MACHADO: that really have inspired you guys in terms, ah [NOISE] ,

BAKER MACHADO: your, how, you, how you guys have crafted this amazing world of Stranger Things?

ROSS DUFFER: Molly the two biggest star the, the two Steven's.

ROSS DUFFER: Which is Steven Spielberg and then,

ROSS DUFFER: Stephen King, I think.

ROSS DUFFER: In the, the show would certainly not exist without either them.

ROSS DUFFER: Um, when we're growing up.

ROSS DUFFER: Um, you know, they are iconic,

ROSS DUFFER: and their storytelling was really influential for us.

ROSS DUFFER: So, I think, when we conceived of the show, it was like, what if,

ROSS DUFFER: there was this long lost Steven King book that Spielberg directed?

ROSS DUFFER: And now, was sort of the,

ROSS DUFFER: that was the spark that led,uh, the Stranger Things.

MATT DUFFER: And then, I mean, we, I mean, we're big movie fan.

MATT DUFFER: I mean, Tim Burton was our first, uh,

MATT DUFFER: movie director,um, that we fell in love with.

MATT DUFFER: That's how we learned what a director did was through,

MATT DUFFER: the films of Tim Burton.

MATT DUFFER: And then, you know, more recently,

MATT DUFFER: I mean, we're David Fincher fanatics.

MATT DUFFER: Um, we're Peter Weller fanatics,

MATT DUFFER: Michael Mann, you know, um, obsess us.

MATT DUFFER: So, like, I mean, there are a lot of directors,

MATT DUFFER: not even Just in, not,

MATT DUFFER: who don't even specific we work in genre, um, we love.

BAKER MACHADO: All right. So we have,

BAKER MACHADO: ha- have time for one last question guys.

BAKER MACHADO: Halloween, of course has come out.

BAKER MACHADO: Stranger Things is coming out on Friday.

BAKER MACHADO: Everybody is figuring out what Halloween costumes they're going to be wearing?

BAKER MACHADO: So, if you guys could dress up as

BAKER MACHADO: one character from Stranger Things, for Halloween [OVERLAPPING].

BAKER MACHADO: Who are you going as?

BAKER MACHADO: And please say Barb [LAUGHTER].

MATT DUFFER: I don't know. I would probably do,

MATT DUFFER: I would probably do Dustin,

MATT DUFFER: because I'm lazy when it comes to dressing up and it's a very easy one to do.

MATT DUFFER: [OVERLAPPING] And I just get a little mop of curly hair and the, and a hat.

ROSS DUFFER: I probably be Jonathan,

ROSS DUFFER: because I won't even have to dress up, you know,

ROSS DUFFER: I will just fit right in to my East Los Angeles [LAUGHTER].

MATT DUFFER: We are very much like John,

MATT DUFFER: like Jonathan goes to a party this year,

MATT DUFFER: Halloween party in the season and he's,

MATT DUFFER: doesn't wear any costume at all,

MATT DUFFER: which is pretty much very accurate to what we do.

ROSS DUFFER: And it's true.

MATT DUFFER: Um, even when going to Halloween parties.

MATT DUFFER: So, we're, we're pretty,

MATT DUFFER: we're pretty pathetic on the costume part to be honest.

BAKER MACHADO: That's okay. That's all the fine. I saw.

BAKER MACHADO: I'm trying to figure mine out so,

BAKER MACHADO: I was just hoping for inspiration for what I was going to be doing.


BAKER MACHADO: we're so excited for Friday.

BAKER MACHADO: The Stranger Things Two.

BAKER MACHADO: Premiere on Netflix.

BAKER MACHADO: Coming out on Friday night.

BAKER MACHADO: Um, I'm sure you guys were very nervous about Friday,

BAKER MACHADO: [NOISE] but it's going to be a huge success.

BAKER MACHADO: We're so excited that you got took time to join us today. Thank you.

ROSS DUFFER: Oh, thank you. It's fun.

MATT DUFFER: Thanks man.