It’s a cloudy day in Atlanta, Millie Bobby Brown is bleeding from the nose, and an automobile has been violently flipped over. “There’s a car,” Brown says, psyching herself up between takes, “and I’m going to move it with my brain.”
This was the sight I took in when Collider visited the set of Stranger Things season 3. And when I say “set”, I mean the Starcourt, an actual down-on-its-luck mall just outside the city that the show’s production took over, infused with a healthy dose of neon lights, and transformed into a bustling life-size shopping center straight out of 1985. Trust me, walking into the Starcourt Mall felt like stepping out of Doc Brown’s DeLorean; the attention to detail put in by the set decoration and props team is absurd, down to period-specific Burger King signage, the “Now Playing” line-up on the movie marquee (The Stuff!), and, of course, actual New Coke cans littering the tables. And while I can’t tell you what exactly caused that car to get flipped over in the first place, I can say that, in typical Hawkins, Indiana fashion, something supernatural has once again made its way into town.
Luckily, there is a ton I can tell you after walking around the Starcourt Mall set and chatting with cast members Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Gaten Matarazzo, Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Priah Ferguson, and Dacre Montgomery. Here are more than 20 plot details and behind-the-scenes tidbits to know about Stranger Things season 3.
One of the only stores at the mall that doesn’t actually exist is Kaufman Shoes, a shout-out to Invasion of the Bodysnatchers remake director Philip Kaufman. That store plays a pivotal role in the plot late in the season. Bodysnatchers actually came up the most when the cast and crew were discussing inspirations for season 3. Charlie Heaton noted that the usual references like E.T. and The Goonies didn’t so much inspire this season as much as “darker, scarier” material like Sam Raimi‘s Evil Dead. Definitely the two most unexpected films that came up while discussing inspiration? Mr. Mom and China Syndrome.