Stranger Things is officially a juggernaut. The first season was a phenomenon, the second season is currently burning up the Netflix servers, and future seasons are being discussed and teased by just about everyone associated with the show. It’s a big deal. And because it’s a big deal, there’s going to be a temptation to bleed every dollar out of the franchise in not necessarily great ways. That’s right, the time has come to talk spinoffs. Lots of them. About lots of things in the Stranger Things universe. They have plenty of options if they really want to do it.
How do I know? Well, because I have ideas. Bad ideas, mostly. I’ve listed a few of them below. I simultaneously want none of these to ever get made and all of these to get made immediately. It’s fine. I’m fine. Stop looking at me like that.
Let’s rip open a portal and dive in.
You know how everyone loved the Rock/Statham pairing in Fate of the Furious so much that the studio decided to greenlight a spinoff starring their two characters that will come out before the next full Fast & Furious movie, even though it is apparently tearing the Fast Family apart? That’s basically what we’re doing here. The pairing of Dustin and Steve was the best part of season two, especially when “King Steve” tried to take Dustin under his wing and teach him about girls and hair and being popular. That’s what this is: a one-season digression between seasons two and three that focuses entirely on Steve teaching Dustin to be cool. No monsters, no labs, no possessed children. Many montages, though. So many montages, most of them taking place at the mall or in front of a mirror as Steve helps Dustin learn how to dress and groom himself. Lots of shots of Steve looking up from a magazine and sliding his sunglasses down his nose to examine Dustin’s look and then shaking his head dismissively.
I know I sold these ideas as “pretty crappy” right up at the top, but the more I type this out the more I think I might be serious. The best part will be when we come back for season three and, blammo, Dustin is suddenly super cool. It’ll be so weird.
Small Town Dreams, Big City Danger
Nancy deserves better. This is just a fact. Her romantic options in Hawkins leave plenty to be desired (Jonathan is a drip, Steve is busy with mentoring at-risk youths, Billy is trying to bang her mom), and even beyond that, the town seems too small for her. Nancy has dreams. Nancy has ambition.
And that’s why Nancy is now attending Columbia. Yup, we are leaping forward a year or so to Nancy’s freshman year at the New York City Ivy League institution, where she is majoring in… I don’t know, let’s say journalism. Her experiment in duping the media to get justice for Barb inspired her. Are secretive government employees after her in the Big Apple, trying to keep her quiet? Probably! Does she need to enlist the help of a grizzled reporter to break the story and keep her safe? I guess so! Isn’t this starting to sound kind of a lot like the plot of The Pelican Brief? Shut up! I’m just trying to do right by Nancy here. We can work out the kinks later. Or just lean into it and cast Denzel Washington. Either way.
Untitled Stranger Things / Big Mouth Crossover Series
Stranger Things is a show about friends in their early teens who are dealing with a dangerous combination of puberty and monsters. Big Mouth is a show about friends in their early teens who are dealing with a dangerous combination of puberty and monsters. Both are on Netflix. Bingo bango. I’m not sure if I want the Hormone Monster from Big Mouth to show up and start terrorizing Mike or if I want an animated Demogorgon to show up and try to murder a little boy voiced by John Mulaney. There’s no reason we can do both, honestly.
We switch perspectives. Now the show is set in the Upside Down. But there’s a twist: It turns out it’s not that spooky of a place after all. The monsters there are just employees whose job it is to get children to scream. That’s why they go through the gate. It turns out the screams of children are an important natural resource that they need to harness and whooooops this is literally just the plot of Monsters, Inc., isn’t it?
Crap. Please disregard.
Yeah, this is a full-on spinoff about Murray — the drunken town conspiracy theorist played by Brett Gelman — running around investigating whatever mysteries his heart desires. Not just Hawkins-related mysteries. I mean, like, the moon landing and the JFK Assassination. All of it. Like a version of National Treasure where the secrets are hidden in anonymous Reddit posts instead of on the Declaration of Independence. Although I guess Reddit hadn’t been invented yet in the Stranger Things universe. Fine. Whatever the offline version of Reddit is/was. I don’t know. The important thing here is that he is breaking into the Pentagon in a crusty bathrobe. To find the truth.
Also, he is drunk.
Stranger Things Prep
This one is close to my “Nancy goes to Columbia” idea, but different enough to warrant a second pitch. At the end of Stranger Things 2, Dr. Paul Reiser tells Hopper that Eleven needs to lay low for a year, at least, until the heat around town dies down. But maybe Hopper saw how miserable she was in that cabin and doesn’t want to do it to her again. And maybe he has some money squirreled away somewhere, possibly buried in the woods, because that seems like something he would do. And maybe he thinks to himself, “You know what? I’m going to send the kid to a fancy Beverly Hills private school for a year, so she can go somewhere no one will recognize her and get a real education.”
Basically, I’m pitching The O.C. meets any CW teen drama but now the main character has superpowers she has to hide from the wealthy mean girls at her school. It won’t even be hard. Everyone will think her nosebleeds are the result of a growing cocaine problem. She’ll fit in so fast!
A prequel set at the Hawkins Lab, back when Eleven/Jane and Eight/Kali were there, before the hole to the Upside Down ripped open, but instead of a creepy horror show it’s now a goofy workplace comedy about the staff, like a version of The Office where paper sales have been replaced with horrific science experiments performed on supernatural child prisoners. I’m picturing a bunch of scientists looking at a control panel where the needles of the gauges are all bouncing dangerously into the red area marked “DANGER” and then one of them turning and making the Jim Halpert face dead into the camera.
The Billy Chronicles
Wait. No. Never mind. No one wants this.
Upside Down And Inside Out
A Demogorgon captures Lucas’s smart-aleck kid sister and brings her back to the Upside Down with the intent of keeping her captive but the little girl starts to grow on him and he ends up protecting and hiding her from the other monsters as he frantically tries to return her to the real world aaaaaaand dammit I just realized this is basically the plot of Monsters, Inc., too.
You get my point, though.