Next seen in college.
McLaughlin is taking a break from acting for the time being to focus on his studies, which is a smart thing to do given that receiving a further education opens up career possibilities beyond acting should he ever fall out of love with the craft. Stranger Things has probably afforded him the opportunity to pursue other goals without having to worry about paying the bills.
It’s a shame that he’s not pursuing more movie and TV roles, though. Lucas is one of the most underrated characters on the show and McLaughlin deserves more opportunities to steal the spotlight on his own terms. Fans of the show know what he’s capable of, but the rest of the world will have to wait.
Next seen in Waiting for Anya (release date TBA).
Shnapp’s Stranger Things future is one of the show’s most intriguing prospects. At the end of Season 3, his character, Will, along with Joyce, Jonathan, and Eleven, leave Hawkins to explore fresh pastures following the traumatic events they all endure. Of course, we’ll see them again, but who knows when.
In the meantime, we can look forward to seeing Schnapp in the World War II drama Waiting for Anya, in which he plays a farmer who helps Jewish children escape Nazi capture. Will hasn’t received as much air time as the other characters at times, so it’s great to see him play the lead in a feature film.
Even during Will’s sporadic appearances during the show’s early days, he was a compelling character. Shnapp is the type of performer who makes the most of what he has to work with, so expect him to shine if he’s given more good roles going forward.
Next seen in Tuscaloosa (release date TBA).
I can’t help but feel Dyer’s Stranger Things character, Nancy, has been overshadowed by Barb’s legacy. Even though Barb was offed early in the first season, fans really took to her — which subsequently inspired the show’s writers to focus Nancy’s journey on appeasing the #JusticeForBarb crowd in Season 2.
In Season 3, she’s still not quite over Barb, but I appreciate how she misses her best friend. At the same time, I want to see more Dyer projects where she can stand out from the pack, without playing characters whose arcs are forever intertwined with what happened to a dead person. Barb was great, guys, but it’s time to move on.
Perhaps Tuscaloosa, which revolves around a young man who falls in love with a prison inmate with multiple personality disorder, will give her a meaty role that will propel her to solo superstardom. In the film, she plays the prisoner, and the character’s multi-personalities will enable her to explore her acting range.
Next seen in The New Mutants.
Here’s another actor whose future is rooted in all things scary. Unfortunately, his Hollywood ascension has been delayed. Instead of agreeing to star in a drama-free horror production that could boost his career, he opted for an X-Men franchise spinoff, playing the mutant superhero Cannonball in The New Mutants.
The film, which has been subjected to reshoots and lots of bad press, is probably going to flop. By the time it does arrive in theaters or on a streaming service, it will be during a time when interest in the X-Men franchise is at an all-time low. On top of that, horror-adjacent superhero movies are always risky, though there’s no doubt that Heaton thrives in the genre as a performer.
Still, it’s a shame that this is Heaton’s only new project on the horizon for the time. He’s a talented actor with a bright future ahead of him. He plays a terrific underdog on the show, and I’d love to see him embrace more roles of this ilk. But, hey, who knows: maybe The New Mutants will be an underdog success story that proves us wrong?
Next heard in Hump.
Given that Dustin tends to offer some much-needed hilarity during Stranger Things’ moments of darkness, it’s only fitting that Matarazzo’s next project is a feel-good family comedy about cartoon animals.
In Hump, a camel, a goat, and a fox set out across the desert to find their friend. Matarazzo will voice the camel who leads the expedition into the hot wilderness. Plus, with a cast that features Simon Pegg voicing a bad badger, the young actor is in good company.
Matarazzo is also an actor who understands how to tell good stories about friendship and camaraderie. In the show, Dustin’s unlikely bromance with Steve is central to the story’s more heartwarming moments. Hump won’t be as dark as the Netflix series that made the actor famous, but he’s shown enough heart and humor as Dustin to suggest that he’ll be a natural fit for family fare on top of the genre stuff.