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Remote Controlled: ‘Stranger Things’ Creators Duffer Brothers on Going ‘Big’ in Season 2

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In this week’s episode, Variety’s executive editor of TV Debra Birnbaum talks with Matt and Ross Duffer, creators of Netflix’s runaway hit series, “Stranger Things.”

They’ve just returned from Atlanta, where they were filming Season 2, which they promise is “big in scope.”

The brothers addressed the pressure going into the second season, given that the first was an overnight success. “There was pressure going into Season 1, too,” says Ross. “We were just worried no one was going to watch it. Now the pressure is we know people are going to watch it. It’s trying to make something that we think they’re going to like. … We’ve tried in the writers’ room to go, ‘Okay, what do we want to see?’ And hopefully people will respond to that as well.”

Adds Matt, “A lot of the story for Season 2 was figured before the show had come out, so we had the big beats figured out already. It was almost scarier last year.”

The reaction to the first season took them by surprise, but they took pains to make sure that that didn’t impact their approach to the writing of Season 2. “Some of the stuff that fans had been asking for, we wanted the same stuff,” says Matt. Adds Ross, “But the point is not to give everyone what they think they want. Because I don’t think they really know what they want.”

What they learned the most from the first season was about the strengths of their actors. “We don’t have the element of surprise on our side this time, but we execute it better,” says Ross. “But I think we screwed up less this year.”

Naturally, they were reluctant to give away any spoilers. But they did allow that Millie Bobby Brown will, of course, be back (“We let her hair grow out”), that Season 2 will be centered around Noah Schnapp’s Will, and that new monsters will be introduced. “Hiding the monsters can be more effective than seeing it, so restraint can be a good thing,” admits Ross. Adds Matt, “I can’t talk too much about them, but they’re cool.”

And of course, there will be some recognition of dearly departed Barb. While she is still in fact dead, “There’s no resurrecting Barb,” they admit. “It was really surprising how much she took off,” Matt says. “I related to her, so I think other people did as well.

You can listen to this week’s episode here:

New episodes of Remote Controlled are available every Friday, and you can find past episodes of Remote Controlled here.

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