Arts & Entertainment

"Stranger Things" Season 4 Behind the Scenes

The Duffer Brothers

Lesson time 11:49 min

In their class send-off, Matt and Ross offer an inside look at what it was like to develop Season 4 of the hit TV series in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Topics include: Take Your Time.... Baby Steps


[MUSIC PLAYING] - So we'll talk a little bit about 4 and some of the interesting challenges in making season 4, of which there were many. One of the biggest challenges, of course, we were producing this and COVID hit. So we shut down for about six months. That resulted in some challenges. For example, we had one actor, Dacre Montgomery, who was in Australia, all the way in Australia. And we had written a scene for him. He was going to come back in episode 4 of the show in the episode, "Dear Billy." But we could not for the life of us get him out of Australia into the United States. It was impossible. And the time finally came, we kept punting the scene and punting the scene. - Surely, surely it's going to be easier to get out of Australia. It never happened. - Never panned out so we never got Dacre. We never got Dacre out of Australia, but we still have a scene between Max and Billy, Sadie and Dacre that takes place in a cemetery. So what we ended up doing is our director was actually-- Shawn Levy was directing that episode-- he shot Sadie's side of the conversation at the graveyard. He had a stand-in for Billy, so any over-the-shoulder shot you see is going to be with a stand-in. And then he shot an empty frame without Dacre in it. So Sadie is acting against nothing. I mean, she's acting against a stand-in for Dacre. I think they recorded Dacre's voice. So they were playing Dacre's voice, but he was not there. And then we shot-- months, months, months later, we shot-- - In another continent. - In another continent, we shot Dacre against blue screen in Australia. And then we comped him in, and the scene works great. You would never know it. - No more hiding. - Billy, that's not true. I swear-- I swear, it's not true. - That is why you feel such guilt. - No. - Why you hide from your friends. - No. - Why you hide from the world. - No. - And why late at night you have sometimes wished to follow me. - COVID caused a lot of delays. But one thing that it did afford us, which we've never had on any season of "Stranger Things" is we had time to go back. Usually we're sprinting with these scripts. We're writing them. We hand them over to production, and it gets shot right away. So this is the first time ever, we just had a bunch of scripts that weren't being shot, that were just sitting there. And so Matt and I used the time to go back and go, hey, we can plant an idea here that we're going to pay off later. We can-- - Improve all these scenes. - And the character arcs, for instance, that we were talking about, right? About how a character-- you want some of your main characters to go from A to B. Well, sometimes that gets lost a little bit in the struggle of juggling all these storylines and just in plot mechanics. But we had the time now to go back and go, okay, wait, this moment here is an opportunity to further develop this ch...

About the Instructor

Before they turned our world upside down with "Stranger Things," Matt and Ross Duffer honed their scare tactics on Wayward Pines and their debut thriller, Hidden. Now, the acclaimed showrunners reveal the dark science of creating a monster hit. Craft gripping story arcs, conjure unforgettable characters—like Eleven or Jim Hopper—and turn your raw idea into a pitch for the next big thing to cross over from the other side.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

The Duffer Brothers

Matt and Ross Duffer—the "Stranger Things" masterminds—teach you how they plotted the series from beginning to end, and how you can bring your own idea to life.

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