Netflix takes ‘Stranger Things’ to the stage in London

By Edward Baran

LONDON (Reuters) – The unusual world of Hawkins, Indiana, came alive in London on Thursday as Netflix debuted a stage play based on its hit sci-fi series “Stranger Things.”

Called “Stranger Things: The First Shadow,” the play takes place in 1959, two decades before the period explored in the TV show. It was produced by Matt and Ross Duffer, the brothers who created the series.

Jim Hopper and Joyce Maldonado – adult characters in the TV show – are seen as high school classmates with normal teen concerns about cars and classes until a new student arrives.

“It sheds a lot of light on both the back story of all our characters and also starts to give some hints on where we are heading into the final season of the show,” Matt Duffer said at the premiere of the play in London’s West End.

“Stranger Things” debuted on Netflix in 2016 and became the company’s most-watched English language series. The show tells the story of a group of teenagers battling supernatural events in the fictional town of Hawkins.

The fifth and final season of “Stranger Things” was delayed by two Hollywood strikes this year. Production will resume in January for what is expected to be a year-long shoot, Matt Duffer said.

“It’s a huge season, it’s massive,” he said. “There are a lot of expectations, but you take it a day at a time. It’s going to be challenging but super rewarding.”

Netflix is working to turn “Stranger Things” into a long-running franchise. In addition to the stage play, the company has greenlit an animated spinoff series.

(Reporting by Edward Baran in London; Writing by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)