Stranger Things: The Original Plan Was Very Different

5 Mins read

If the Duffer Brothers had followed their initial ideas, Stranger Things would have taken a surprise detour from what it did in the end. Matt and Ross Duffer produced the science fiction horror show, which ultimately found the ideal home on Netflix. The series’ producers initially had a different concept for it, and the current networks almost forced dubious adjustments. It’s a perfect moment to reflect on the initial idea for Stranger Things and how it altered now that season 4 has come and gone.

Stranger Things was a Netflix original series that launched in the summer of 2016 and was set in a fictional Indiana town in 1983 when a little boy went missing and a girl with telekinetic skills first emerged. The boy’s buddies were compelled to spearhead the inquiry with his mother and the local police chief due to this and other strange occurrences. Prior to its premiere, there wasn’t much anticipation about Stranger Things, but it quickly gained popularity. The television show was hailed as the surprise smash of 2016, and it retained that status throughout the next season and beyond.

Stranger Things is still one of the most watched shows on cable networks and online streaming services years later. The first weekend of Part 2 of Season 4’s second season saw 301.28 million hours of the show being watched on Netflix. As the plot develops, fans get frustrated as they are have to wait years between new episodes, like the protracted pause between seasons 3 and 4. In actuality, the anticipation between seasons demonstrates that Stranger Things underwent several important alterations in its early development to become the program it is now.

The original title of Stranger Things was “Montauk.”

The science fiction program was initially marketed under the name Montauk before getting the moniker Stranger Things. The show would have been set in Montauk, New York and the surrounding region of Long Island instead of its actual location, the little hamlet of Hawkins, Indiana. People who are familiar with New York may know that Montauk is a genuine place, as opposed to the made-up town of Hawkins. There was a connection between the New York locale and the Jaws film’s location, and it was obvious that the Duffer Brothers were influenced by Steven Spielberg. In actuality, the “Montauk Project,” a series of enigmatic government experiments, became the subject of various conspiracy theories centered around Montauk.

The Montauk Project was a conspiracy theory that focused on covert government tests that were conducted in the 1980s at numerous sites across Montauk. It is evident how the Montauk Project’s foundation directly influenced the storyline of Stranger Things. The experiments were assumed to revolve on time travel, mind control, and contact with mysterious species. A title change was necessary when the Duffer Brothers chose to set the plot in a fictitious setting. Stranger Things was thusly created.

It Almost Became An Anthology Series, Stranger Things

When the idea for Stranger Things was initially proposed, it was described as an anthology series similar to American Horror Story, where each season’s many themes entirely reshape it. It’s tough to imagine a Stranger Things plot ignoring the events of the previous season entirely, but the Duffer Brothers wanted Eleven’s story to be wrapped up in just one episode. When it comes to the show’s creation, the creators were influenced by Stephen King’s It because they considered a significant time shift incorporating a fresh plot. Additionally, it makes plausible that an anthology style would have been taken into account given that American Horror Story, True Detective, and Fargo were already popular before the creation of Stranger Things.

Thankfully, Netflix decided against creating an anthology and instead trusted a full-fledged series that would continue to center on the characters from Stranger Things season 1. It was entirely accurate for viewers to fall in love with the cast, especially the young ones, as the streaming provider had promised. Stranger Things kept developing its original plot while letting viewers follow along, leading to the creation of one of the most well-liked programs in recent memory.

Stranger Things Could Have Been Set In A New Decade For Each Season

There was also speculation that the planned time leap would have brought season 2 of Stranger Things into the 1990s because the proposal listed the show as an anthology series. The first season of the program takes place in 1983, and it was once thought that if it went the anthology way, the tale would shift to the early 1990s rather than stay in the 1980s. If so, the program would have had the option of using earlier iterations of the characters. The same reason Netflix decided against moving through with an anthology was the same reason this idea didn’t appeal to them in the early phases of development: they believed that viewers would become overly attached to the original Stranger Things cast.

It’s really intriguing the way each season of Stranger Things jumps to a different decade. The Duffer Brothers may have continued to fast-forward until the early 2020s, when the series would have matched with a present-day plot, and then ended around season 5. Of course, Stranger Things did not go down that road, but there is still room for a big leap that moves the story into the present before the program ends.

There were discussions about focusing on adult characters in Stranger Things

The Duffer Brothers’ latest idea was rejected by multiple networks before Stranger Things was picked up by Netflix. Many network executives offered the same suggestions, suggesting that the show be turned into a children’s program or that the young characters be removed from the main emphasis in favor of a star actor like Jim Hopper. The Duffer Brothers declined these requests because they believed an adult’s study of the paranormal events in the neighborhood would be more compelling. When Netflix first joined the project, they thought the show’s focus on the kids was one of its strongest points.

The idea of murdering off Eleven in season 1 of Stranger Things also arose during the first brainstorming stages. There was a chance for Eleven to make the ultimate sacrifice and save the whole town, including her new friends, before the season ended, acting as the conclusion to that particular tale because this occurred when the program was still being created as a limited series.

Why the greatest strength of Stranger Things is its capacity for change

It’s clear that the modifications made to Stranger Things were for the better, whether they were brought about by Netflix’s participation in the series’ production or by the Duffer Brothers themselves. An excessive amount of familiarity with the real-life setting would have taken away from the tale if the program had been set in Montauk. Similar to Stephen King’s imaginary communities, the TV show’s setting in a made-up town helped create the Stranger Things world. The decision by the showrunners to make the children the main emphasis of the series was also a wise one. The Hawkins kids are the most engaging element of the program since they give it a stronger feeling of adventure while also paying tribute to Stephen Spielberg, a major influence.

Although the first season of Stranger Things was intended to be an anthology, there was enough to expand upon in the first season’s events to justify more tales focusing on the enigmatic Upside Down and Hawkins Lab. The first season would not have worked as a standalone story if the show had been an anthology series. Too many questions remained open in its aftermath for the tale to be completely concluded.

The Duffer Brothers’ response to audience feedback is another example of Stranger Things’ adaptability and connections to a more successful program. Because the Duffer Brothers pay attention to their fans, Stranger Things seasons 3 and 4 have quite different traits from one another. The showrunners are adept at acknowledging complaints and putting them into practice to address audience inquiries, as seen by Barb’s brief reappearance, the improved pair-ups, or Hopper’s enormous character growth.

The early improvements to the show’s concept are reflected in the success of season 4, however there is a clear distinction between fan service and fan acknowledgement. The fourth season of Stranger Things successfully demonstrated the showrunners’ capacity to respond to helpful structural criticism. The Duffers’ receptivity to outside opinion began before Stranger Things even had viewers; it started with abandoning the original “Montauk” anthology and focusing on the task at hand.