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 the stars of “Stranger Things” as well as executive producer Shawn Levy about what they’ve learned from their first two seasons, and what they want to see for the third season. The panel also included David Harbour (Chief Hopper), Winona Ryder (Joyce), Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven), Sadie Sink (Max), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas), Sean Astin (Bob), Joe Keery (Steve), Natalia Dyer (Nancy), and Charlie Heaton (Jonathan).
“We made Season 1 in completely anonymity. We didn’t even have to work at it being a secret because no one cared,” joked Levy. “For Season 2, it was about going deeper in scope and even bigger in character.”
The cast discussed how their characters have evolved since the first season. “Everything happens so unexpectedly with her,” said Brown of Eleven, who she called “difficult and deep.” “There’s no storyline behind her — yet.” She added, “I don’t know where I’m from, so that’s an issue.”
Harbour joked that he “may not be the best one on the show,” but he “has the best arc.” “In the first episode, Chief Hopper is a horrible human being… he does the wrong thing often,” he said, acknowledging his character’s “control issues.” “But then over Season 1, you get to see him become the man he is inside. It’s so beautiful to play that arc.”
McLaughlin said Lucas was “misunderstood,” but when Max came into his life, “you saw his romantic side,” he said. Keery talked about turning into “dad Steve.” “I want that for Season 3, for Joe to be my dad!” said Brown.
Brown said there’s a lot she wants for Season 3, “but most of all I want a relationship with Max,” she said. Mike will “need to take a seat, because best friends come first… Eleven needs to have real fun, and needs some sense of normal in her life.”
Harbour joked he wants a season where the Byers’ phone doesn’t get destroyed: “That wall phone gets treated so poorly on our show!”
Levy revealed that Season 3 will be set in 1985, but wouldn’t divulge any more details beyond saying the scripts he’s seen are “awesome.” “There are some new characters, more Erica, a new character played by Maya Hawke,” he said. “Part of the fun for the [Duffer] brothers is to put new combinations of characters together…. More of those re-combos in Season 3, for sure.”
But as for any hope of romance between Hopper and Joyce, Harbour said he’s wanted that from the beginning. “The interesting thing about it is it’s also going to be such a disaster if it ever happens,” he said. Added Brown, “I ‘ship it so much!”
You can listen to this week’s podcast here: