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5 Movies We Hope Are Referenced In Stranger Things Season Two

By  · Published on September 1st, 2016

The breakout series returns in 2017 with a focus on 1984.

Stranger Things is quite the sensation. There is little doubt of that given the monstrous numbers the show brought in over the summer. Calming many fans’ fears that the series would be one and done, The Duffer Brothers and Netflix have announced that Season Two will be arriving in 2017.

Perhaps the biggest hint they throw at us in the new trailer is that the events of the second season will be happening in the Fall of 1984. So it will be almost a year since we last saw Joyce, Nancy, Mike, and Eleven. Is Eleven coming back? Will we learn more about the Upside Down? More importantly, what pop culture events from the period will they reference?

One of the biggest joys of Stranger Things was picking out the many references to Steven Spielberg and Stephen King. Events from films like E.T., Stand By Me, and Alien were recreated in the world of Stranger Things to create something new. What are some of the films they could use as reference for Season Two? If they just stick with 1984, here are some of the possible great films from that year.

The Karate Kid

“ Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything.”

The Karate Kid is the great underdog story of a young man who is bullied but learns from a wise master how to defend himself. Who can forget Daniel-son learning how to “wax off, wax on” while cleaning the automobile? It’s easy to see where this story could be brought into the fold for season 2. Mike and his friends were constantly being bullied in school and while Eleven was able to scare the crap out of them, without her around things are likely different. The kids might have to learn some self defense that doesn’t involve telepathy.

The NeverEnding Story

Who doesn’t love the giant dragon? The NeverEnding Story is staple of many an ‘80s childhood and fits perfectly into the world of Stranger Things. The story involves a boy finding himself involved with a fantasy world after reading a mysterious book. Mike (or Eleven if she comes back) could again travel to the Upside Down to find the secrets of why it exists. They might even find themselves involved with something that is far beyond their world. If nothing else, the theme song should be played in the background at every opportunity.

Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom

Many of the most notable references in Stranger Things come from Steven Spielberg films, so it would make sense for Temple of Doom to be involved. I imagine a mine cart chase scene – you know, one that fits organically within the framework of the series. Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom was such a product of the ‘80s that it would be surprising if it doesn’t come up somewhere. Maybe someone will graphically get their heart ripped out?


Spielberg also produced the Joe Dante-directed Gremlins, which tells the story of a young man who gets a new pet, for which the care instructions are extremely important. Gremlins has that dark comedy vibe to it while also being a lot of fun. It is also edgy family entertainment that, similar to Temple of Doom, pushed the limits of the PG rating system. Stranger Things could certainly borrow ideas and tone from Gremlins, perhaps giving a new cast member an Upside Down creature of their own.

Sixteen Candles

There is no director more quintessential to youth films of the ‘80s than John Hughes. Films like The Breakfast Club and Weird Science helped define that era for many. The one must likely to tie into Stranger Things is Sixteen Candles. In the film, Molly Ringwald plays 16-year-old Samantha, who wants nothing more than to be noticed by her high school crush. Unfortunately, she also has a geeky freshman trying to impress her. Nancy pretty much is Samantha, and if given more screen time in Season Two will continue to evolve as a character in many of the same ways. Somehow I doubt Steve will share a romantic birthday cake with Nancy, though.

There are plenty of other films that could be part of Stranger Things Season Two, and we can’t wait to see what The Duffer Brothers come up with next. As they proved in Season One, they are willing to pull ideas from all your childhood memories. The wait for Season Two officially beings today.

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