Stranger Things’ creators reveals Season 4 was inspired by Star Wars

eduardo franco as argyle charlie heaton as jonathan millie bobby brown as eleven noah schnapp as will byers and finn wolfhard as mike wheeler in stranger things season 4 1648044262

The Stranger Things Season 4 finale is very different from the upbeat, even hopeful, endings we’ve seen since the conclusion of Season 2 with spores pouring down on Hawkins, unexpected fatalities, and a lot more questions than answers. It’s not a bad change, but for Max and Eddie fans it was abrupt and brutal.

It was also one that, according to the show’s producers Matt and Ross Duffer, took a lot of cues from an appropriately 1980s source: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. The pair explained that the depressing cliffhanger conclusion of the 1980 middle chapter of the original Skywalker trilogy served as a guide and objective for them as they wrapped up or in some cases, not wrapped up, Season 4’s storylines and prepared the show for its upcoming final episode.

“We always have wanted to do an Empire Strike Back Ending which we tried to do with (Season 4). Where it’s the sense of loss,” Matt Duffer said. There is undoubtedly a lot of that in Season 4’s final act with the passing of enduring characters like Dr. Owens (Paul Reiser) and Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine), as well as newly crowned fan favourite Eddie (Joseph Quinn). Max’s (Sadie Sink) future is less certain, but there is a striking analogy between her current state of deep unconsciousness and Han Solo’s (Harrison Ford) ending of Empire locked in carbonite.

Hawkins’ fate also appears to be a reflection of how disintegrated the Rebel Alliance was at the conclusion of Empire. The stakes are higher than ever, and failure is closer than ever, with spores pouring down on Hawkins in the dying seconds of episode 9. Matt says, “We knew we wanted to end with spores falling in Hawkins. I don’t remember how early in the process, but pretty early in the process.”

He continues, “Like I said, we were very much inspired by Empire Strikes Back, that ending where they’re looking out the window. We knew we wanted to end on the backs of our characters as they’re looking out towards this dark supernatural plume that was spitting out these spores all over their town as they’re facing this evil, that has not retreated, but very much coming in an aggressive way into their town. We wanted to hand at the notion of war, and a supernatural war coming to Hawkins.”

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