There was a three-year gap between seasons 3 and 4 of Stranger Things, a delay caused by the pandemic. You might have heard about it. That break allowed the Duffer Brothers and the rest of the writers for the record-breaking Netflix series to fine-tune the scripts, and it gave the VFX team more time to conceive the Upside-Down.
They needed it. One scene, in particular, took nearly two years to perfect.
“There’s a fun fact, we started before the pandemic on this show, we started to work on it more than two years ago. We actually started to develop a few looks, started to work on the assets before the pandemic. And when it stopped, we kept working on one or two shots,” VFX supervisor Julien Hery told Collider. One of the scenes was the red-and-black Upside-Down flyover through Hawkins, Indiana, where Stranger Things is set.
He continued, “To follow the bats over Hawkins, and then you land onto the Creel House. And this shot took us almost a year and half or two years of making it happen, changing the animation, and there was plenty of time, so we took like such a long time to develop that shot. So it was pretty cool.”
Pandemic: bad. But letting talented artists have the time to flex their creativity: good.