The cast of ‘Stranger Things’ on what to expect in season 2

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Two new characters, justice for Barb, and a ‘murkier’ ‘Stranger Things’ await fans of the Netflix sleeper hit. Photos courtesy of NETFLIX

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Netflix’s “Stranger Things” was the little T.V. show that could.

Built on the streaming empire that brought to television critical acclaim and ratings hits like “Orange is the New Black” and “House of Cards,” “Stranger Things” held the viewing public in a weird and magical chokehold, infiltrating the media and public consciousness with its lovable characters, reminiscent of an ‘80s brand of friendship and camaraderie, entwined with inexplicable horrors from an RPG game — a combination that the public seemed to be in want of.

“We just thought we were making a one-season show, and that was gonna be it, and no one was gonna watch it,” says Noah Schnapp, who plays Winona Ryder’s son (“She’s like my second mother”), Will Byers in the series.

Upgraded to series regulars for the second season, Schnapp (who spends most of season one alone in the Upside Down, a creepy alternate reality, waiting to be rescued by screen mom Ryder and Co.) and Joe Keery (whose character, Steve Harrington, was bestowed upon the crowning glory of redemption arcs) were recently in Manila for AsiaPOP Comicon to promote the series’ new season.

Stranger Things2 cast.jpg (From left) "Stranger Things 2" will see more of Joe Keery (who plays Steve Harrington) and Noah Schnapp (Will Byers) reprising their roles, alongside new characters played by Sadie Sink (Max) and Dacre Montgomery (Billy). Photo by JL JAVIER

Along with Schnapp and Keery were two new cast members, Dacre Montgomery, who you may remember as the Red Ranger in the “Power Rangers” reboot this year, and Broadway veteran Sadie Sink, who play step-brother and sister, Billy and Max, the new Hawkins residents.

When asked about the second season, Keery and Schnapp answer like brothers with a bond like twins. “We were saying earlier,” Keery starts. “I think one of the most important things, if a band comes out with a first album that’s really, really cool…”

“Yeah, there’s a lot of pressure,” Schnapp says. “On the second album,” Keery continues. “Like, you don’t wanna repeat yourself, do the same thing. You wanna have it be something that people like …” Schnapp goes on: “Be something good.”

“You know what I mean?” asks Keery. “Like keep the traces of the first one, but then also [do] something new and grow. So I think that’s something that the [Duffer] brothers have done.”

“And did it really well,” Schnapp finishes.

Noah Schnapp.jpg Noah Schnapp plays Winona Ryder’s son, Will Byers, in the series. “She’s like my second mother," says Schnapp. Photo by JL JAVIER

Call it a pastiche, a homage, feel-good nostalgia fluff, or good ol’ friendship-thriller, but “Stranger Things” was a sleeper hit, one that took over the world, or at least, certain parts of it.

The first season paid homage to some of the ‘80s greats like Steven Spielberg and Stephen King. Both Keery and Schnapp say that these things that made the first season special are still there, “but then there’s like, more … John Carpenter,” Keery says. “And maybe a little James Cameron or something.”

Asked to describe the second season in vague terms, Keery offers the word “murky.” He says, “It’s everything you kind of got to know and love from season one, but it’s not the same thing again. It’s new, different, darker. Murkier…”

“Like something you wouldn’t expect,” Schnapp says, who describes the second season as “eerie.”

It’s always hard to try and needle out new arcs from upcoming stories, but here’s a bit of what we can expect from “Stranger Things 2.”

New directions for Will and Steve

“I think my character is going [to go] through a lot of changes as he did in season one, and we pick him up at a place where he’s just kind of let in on this secret,” Keery says of Steve. “And he’s still with Nancy, and we kind of see him grow from there.”

Joe Keery While the first season of "Stranger Things" paid homage to Steven Spielberg and Stephen King, there will be "more John Carpenter" for the second season, says Joe Keery. “And maybe a little James Cameron or something.” Photo by JL JAVIER

As for poor Will Byers, whose season one ending was not as happy as it might have seemed, Schnapp says he’s trying to deal with the definite changes he’s gone through. “He’s dealing with how the Upside Down affected him, and how it was to be there in the first season and [how] to be around people again,” he says. “And, it’s kind of scary for him, and it’s about him trying to cope with it.”

New characters

Of the two new characters, Keery says, “I think they’re really great additions to the characters you already love. The new characters, they all bring something different and really cool that people are gonna enjoy.”

“I play Max,” says Sink. Her character moves to Hawkins in season two along with step-brother Billy. “She becomes friends with the boys, and she’s a little bit mysterious at first, and closed off. She’s a skater, she’s a tomboy. She’s, you know, different from the other girls at Hawkins.”

“I guess Billy’s a bit of a villain,” says Montgomery of his character. “He’s an antagonist, which was lots of fun to play around with — nothing like myself — so it was lots of fun. He’s very unpredictable … My character is specifically brought into this season to stir things up. That’s my role and I can’t escape that, and I’m hoping that the fans will like what I have to offer, that element that I bring in.”

Sadie Sink.jpg Sadie Sink's character Max is a bit mysterious and closed off. "She’s, you know, different from the other girls at Hawkins," says Sink. Photo by JL JAVIER

“He’s extremely insecure, and he has a very complicated relationship with his younger step-sister, so that’s a very interesting play-around, because we get along together so well in real life, but our characters don’t,” adds Montgomery. “But then also, how do our characters fit into the world of Hawkins, Indiana is also a whole other ball game in itself, so I can’t say anything about it, but it was lots of fun to play around with.”

Justice for Barb

“Yes, there will be justice for Barb,” Keery says. “Right?” Barb was Nancy’s best friend who, like Will, got stuck in the Upside Down, but met a different fate. “Justice for ... what I think happened.”

Cast camaraderie

If you think the closeness in “Stranger Things” was believable, it’s because the cast is close in real life. “It’s great seeing them everyday, even if some of them you don’t get to work with and some of them, you do,” Schnapp says. “We just have fun off-set, and we’re all really close.”

“It’s definitely a really close cast, so I didn’t know how it was gonna be, stepping into that,” Sink says, “but they couldn’t have been more welcoming.”

Dacre Montgomery.jpg “I guess Billy’s a bit of a villain,” says Dacre Montgomery of his character. “He’s an antagonist ... My character is specifically brought into this season to stir things up." Photo by JL JAVIER

“I was kind of close with the teenage kind of cast,” Montgomery says. “I mean we [Sadie] got along really well, while we were filming, but I think it was just because we all had our own places, we weren’t staying with family, and we were all about 21, so we would go out and do whatever, and we had a lot of free time. So I was hanging out with Charlie (Jonathan Byers) and Joe (Steve Harrington) and Natalia (Nancy Wheeler) quite a bit. And then they were sharing houses with local people from Atlanta who were our age, so I sort of ended up inserting myself in that sort of group.”

“For me, it was all the kids, because we’d be in school all the time together,” Sink adds. “And then of course, Millie and I being the only girls. All the kids and I, just going into the group, we all bonded really well, and yeah, they’re my best friends now.”

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The second season of “Stranger Things” launches exclusively on Netflix on Oct. 27, 2017.