Does Stranger Things Reference Stephen King’s It? Latest News

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Does Stranger Things Reference Stephen King’s It? Latest News

Image Source: Netflix

Warning: if you’re somehow not done with the second season of Stranger Things, there are spoilers below.

In the second season of Stranger Things, we meet a delightful newcomer: Mr. Bob Newby, played by the legendary Sean Astin. Bob enters the scene as the new man in Joyce’s life. He is a beautiful angel, and the entire internet agrees. Of course, the real tragedy of Bob is that he doesn’t last very long. Bob dies before the season is over, leaving us positively devastated. Sure, he was supposed to die sooner, but he still dies. Anyway, horrible Demodog mauling aside, there’s another intriguing aspect of Bob that struck many viewers as they binged season two: he’s how the show’s creators, the Duffer brothers, pay tribute to the legendary Stephen King.

One major nod to Stephen King comes during the third episode in season two. Bob volunteers to drive Will to school, and gives him advice on how to deal with his Upside-Down nightmares. He tells the story of Mr. Baldo, a clown who terrified him at a county fair, and left him so traumatized that he had constant nightmares. But Bob figured out a solution. One day, he stopped running, turned around, and told Mr. Baldo to go away. And, well, he did.

In an in-depth recap of the episode with Vulture, the Duffers explain how this moment came directly from the horrifying monster in Stephen King’s It: Pennywise the clown. Matt Duffer said:

In 1990, we saw the It mini-series, and Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise really messed me up. Like, it scarred me in a major way. It was one of the first true horror things I had seen, and I had not experienced Stephen King before. That was my first experience with Stephen King, so that was a really huge point in my life. It was two weeks, at least, of no sleep because of that. So yeah, I think [Bob’s clown story] was really me describing something that just freaked me out. I didn’t have that experience myself. I just had nightmares like that.”

But that’s not the only way Bob gives a little wink to the master of horror. In season two, he also floats a wild suggestion to Joyce: why don’t they move far, far away to Maine? Of course, Maine has deep ties to King. According to his official website, the author was born in Portland, ME. He also spends part of his years living in Bangor, ME. Bangor is one of the most profound inspirations for King. In fact, It takes place in Derry, which is modeled after Bangor.

As the Duffers put it, Bob’s wacky plan definitely hews close to the universe of Stephen King. “I’m sure we were just like, ‘It would be cute if [Bob] suggests moving to Maine, right next to Stephen King,'” Matt Duffer said. “Stephen King exists in this world. Some of the characters have read Stephen King. But Bob definitely does not read Stephen King. He’s not interested at all in Stephen King, because he hates that kind of story.”

Image Source: Everett Collection

Then, of course, there’s the other fun connection between It and Stranger Things: actor Finn Wolfhard, who plays Richie and Mike, respectively. What’s interesting is that Wolfhard’s involvement in both projects was entirely a coincidence, according to It director Andy Muschietti. Even so, it’s pretty crazy that the actor happened to be in both, especially since they’re connected in other ways.

And by the way, Eleven might as well be a very young cousin of Carrie‘s psychic, bullied title character, Carrie White . . . right? I mean, she does destroy an entire high-school gymnasium just with her mind. Just saying.

Does Stranger Things Reference Stephen King’s It? Latest News

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Does Stranger Things Reference Stephen King's It? Latest News

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