The Duffer Bros. on STRANGER THINGS Season 2 Influences Like TERMINATOR 2, INDIANA JONES, and ALIENS


I'm sure many of you have already blazed through Stranger Things Season 2, but I know many of you are still in the middle of watching it. I've already finished it and I freakin' loved it! I won't get into any of the details of Season 2, but I will say that I enjoyed it just as much as the first season! I freakin' love these characters and the story that Matt and Ross Duffer have set out to tell. 

When talking about wanting to go bigger and darker with Season 2, Matt said that they used certain movie sequels as reference points:

"Well, most of the lessons I’ve learned have been from movies. So our reference points were mostly movie sequels. Obviously there are more failed sequels than there are successful ones, which is scary. But you look at the ones that you respect and admire and you try to take the lessons from those and you try to take lessons from the ones that didn’t work as well and avoid the mistakes they made. And our favorite sequels tend to up the ante a little."

If you have watched the series, I'm sure you noticed a lot of the classic movie references and influences in it. They are hard to miss. Well, during an interview with Deadline, the Duffer Bros. talked about some of these influences like Aliens, Terminator 2, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Matt says:

"I feel like James Cameron is the master of it. I mean,The Godfather Part II is a great movie but not a great reference here just because we’re looking at popcorn films and then big summer blockbusters and the successful sequels there.
"So we talked a lot about Aliens, we talked a lot about Terminator 2. I also think the Indiana Jones movies are interesting ones to talk about. I actually love a lot about Temple of Doom, even though Spielberg seems to disown that movie. I also love Last Crusade for a very different reason."

Matt went on to talk about the Indiana Jones films and why they are interesting to him, saying:

"Well, something like Last Crusade’s really interesting in that it does hit a lot of the same beats as Raiders and it can get knocked for that. But it also introduces the Sean Connery character, introducing enough new elements that it feels fresh while also feeling very much in like an Indiana Jones movie."

They are then asked about James Cameron and how Terminator 2 fits into that pantheon, and in regards to that, Matt explains: 

"With James Cameron, he always tends to increase the stakes, doesn’t he? He took it from one alien to many, many aliens. That’s sort of become the sequel cliché now, but it worked and he pivoted genres. I mean, we didn’t do that but I think that’s an interesting thing to do.
"And then Terminator kind of went from being like almost a horror movie and he didn’t have a lot of money on that one. I have a real fondness for the original Terminator."

It's kind of cool to hear what the Duffer Bros. are thinking about in regards to these films when they are developing Stranger Things. There are visual shout-outs to all of these films in Season 2. When talking about the Terminator films specifically, Ross says:

"Yeah, which actually wasn’t that easy to get. I love the original Terminator too but I love T2 also. I think that T2, it’s still the same, takes a lot of the same characters but it does new things with them, that’s important."

Matt added:

"So, for us, with a second season, we wanted the sequel debate, you want people to argue about it. That was sort of the goal and I think that honestly we learned a lot doing Season 1, so there was a lot that we felt that we could do better."

Well, I think they succeeded with what they were trying to accomplish and now I can't wait for Season 3!

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