10 Secrets & Behind-the-Scenes Stories From the 'Stranger Things' Cast

Stranger Things was the Netflix binge of this past summer, so if you haven't caught up yet, you'd really better get on that -- especially since Netflix has already announced that a nine-episode second season will arrive in 2017. Of course, if you're anything like us, you binged the show weeks ago just to be sure that you didn't get spoiled by all the Internet chatter. Speaking of, not only are we here with plenty of behind-the-scenes Stranger Things info straight from New York Comic Con, but there are spoilers for season one below. (You have been warned.)

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Last weekend's convention drew thousands of Stranger Things fans (many of them in costumes) for a panel moderated by Vulture's TV editor, Matt Zoller Seitz, and featuring two of the show's most beloved characters: Chief Hopper, played by David Harbour, and Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown.

Both actors were adorably silly and sweet to each other during the panel, which covered behind-the-scenes details and stories, plus addressed fan questions we've all been dying to see answered.

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Here are the biggest takeaways: 

1. Barb is dead. For real.

Take a breath, Barb lovers. Sorry to have to tell you this, but Barb (played by Shannon Purser) is gone for good.

David Harbour confirmed once and for all that her character met her too-soon end in season one and definitely won't be back for the second season: "We do deal with the loose ends in season two, and we do deal with some of the Internet's rage over Barb's death," he said.

For those who were holding on to the hope that by some magic Barb will make it back into the show, Harbour has these devastating words for you: "I can assure you that Barb is very much dead." Womp womp.

 

2. We'll learn more about Chief Hopper's daughter -- and her mysterious cancer -- in season two.  

One of the reasons we love Hopper so much is that despite having the general air of an old man yelling at you to get off his lawn, he has a genuine drive to help people. Harbour hinted to the panel that in season two, Chief Hopper's subplot involving his daughter will get more backstory. We'll learn about "the guilt that he feels about not being able to save his daughter," and maybe even "what that cancer was about, and where it came from."  

 

3. Millie Bobby Brown really got into Eleven's dark side.

When asked how she developed the Eleven character, Brown said she put together both the vulnerable and the evil side of her. Although she said that Eleven needed to talk more ("Talk, Eleven! Just say where the upside down is!") when it came to using her powers, Brown says it was actually really fun.

One time on set, she was trying to decide how to act in a scene where Eleven uses her psychokinetic skills for violence. She suddenly got an idea and said aloud, "I know what do, to click someone's neck! I've got it!" Her costar Matthew Modine (who played Dr. Martin Brenner and had a good deal of creep himself) overheard and admonished her to "never say that again." Guess she didn't really have to stretch much to play creepy Eleven!

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4. And she definitely didn't "get" the '80s setting of the show.

Brown said she needed Modine, Harbour, and costar Winona Ryder to help her get into the '80s mindset. When the characters couldn't find Will in the first episode, Brown asked, "Why don't we just call him ... on the phone?"

Now, though, she really likes the idea of the '80s and said she'd want to live back then, even though she'd miss one thing: the Internet. Harbour told her, "It's not as good as it was in Stranger Things. I lived it!" She's right, though. For some things, "Sometimes you just need to be present."

 

5. The Upside Down looked "super dorky" on set.

When asked what the alternative universe of the upside down looked like while filming, Harbour explained it doesn't look the way it does in the version you see on Netflix. He described a bunch of "purple piping that looks really fake" that pulsates and sounds like "you're in a bad haunted house."

To make the spores, they have a "dude with a big ol' pillowcase" in front of a fan just throwing hunks of dandelion into the air. The monster of the show, known as the Demogorgon, was played by (as Brown and Harbour describe him) a tall, really nice guy named Mark, inside a suit. Doesn't sound so scary, now does he? 

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6. David Harbour admitted he's a big nerd.

When the subject of playing Dungeons and Dragons came up, Harbour proudly called himself a "big D & D guy." He plays a Cleric in the game, a "holy warrior of the light." In response to gentle teasing from Millie, Harbour doubled down and shouted out "Cleric For LIFE!" to the crowd. Brown said "the boys" (Mike Wheeler, Gatan Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, and Noah Schnapp, who played Finn, Dustin, Lucas, and Will, respectively) don't really play D & D during their off hours; instead they are more PokemonGo fans.

 

7. Eleven loves her Eggos. Millie Bobby Brown? Not so much.

A fan asked Brown if she liked Eggos as much as Eleven does, and she obviously felt the need to make one point very clear. As she puts it: "I like them. I do. I do not like how many I eat."

On set, she used a spit bucket to limit the amount of the heavy, sweet waffles she'd have to actually digest, but even still, it's a lot to have to do "like fifteen times." She did note that the blueberry-flavored Eggos were her favorite.  

Harbour added with a smile, "I will say, though, that I liked every single cigarette I smoked."

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8. David Harbour's method acting =/= Jared Leto's method acting.

When asked if they tend to take their work home with them, Harbour said although he does consider himself to have a good brand of method to his acting, he doesn't do "the Jared Leto stuff of sending dead pigs to people." He likes the acting experience where he has to be "authentic and personal" -- which lead him to spending quite a bit of time during filming getting into Hopper's sad and lonely character by going home, sitting in his apartment smoking cigarettes.

When he first met the group of kids to film the scene where Chief Hopper tells them not to go looking for Will, Harbour purposefully kept his chair off to the side and kept his distance from them. He wanted to create that "air of intimidation," even if it meant the kids saw him as any angry weird guy. That distance, though, "obviously has dissolved" over the course of filming. Awwwww!

 

9. Millie Bobby Brown is a big fangirl herself.

Brown confessed she was a huge Vampire Diaries fan and nearly fell off her chair when Harbour suggested he could introduce her to the show's star, Paul Wesley, when they return to filming in Atlanta.

She's also a major Walking Dead fan, which is filmed in and around Atlanta, just like Stranger Things. As she told the panel, if she'd found out that they were anywhere near the Walking Dead crew filming she "would have died." She had the chance to visit the show's "Alexandria" set and wanted to buy all the props (even just a stone!) that had made it on the show. Kid stars -- they're just like us!

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10. Neither of them is above cosplaying.

Brown mused that if she were to cosplay a character from Stranger Things, she'd choose Chief Hopper. Harbour said, without hesitation, "I'm gonna be Barb." We'd definitely be down to see that!

 
 
Images via Netflix; Anne Meadows
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