Matt and Russ Duffer, creators of Netflix’s ongoing sci-fi sensation Stranger Things, are riding high at the moment. After a few years where it felt like their show was steadily falling out of the cultural zeitgeist—as our enthusiasm for Spielberg-pastiching streaming fare faded, and the show’s cast of young performers aged into increasingly implausible haircuts—the arrival of the final part of the series’ fourth season last week served as a reminder that the Duffers have still got it.
Have got a lot of it, as it turns out, as Deadline reports that the Duffers have now taken advantage of renewed Hawkins hype to launch their own production banner, Upside Down, within the wider Netflix umbrella—along with the sort of glut of exciting new projects that tend to rush out of creative types when the realize that the getting is about as good as it’s ever likely to get.
These new titles range from the obvious—that Stranger Things spin-off that the pair have been hinting around at for a while now, and an adaptation of Stephen King and Peter Straub’s The Talisman, a novel that is, yes, about teens coming of age while traveling across a mysterious and dangerous alternate world. But also: They apparently talked Netflix into taking yet another stab at anime and manga hit Death Note, after Adam Wingard’s film adaptation of the series (about a kid with a notebook that kills anyone whose name he writes down in it) disappeared with a quickness after popping up on the streamer in 2017. There’s also a Stranger Things play, of all things, apparently in the works, “set within the world and mythology” of the show; we can’t wait to see what Broadway makes of Will Byers And The Cursed Bowl-cut.
All of which suggests a certain desire on the part of the pair to not pull a David Benioff and D.B. Weiss here—i.e., fucking up the dismount of a culturally beloved show so bad that you go from “the Game Of Thrones guys” to “the guys who tried to make a show about a modern version of the U.S. Confederacy” in the span of a week. If nothing else, the Duffer Bros. are staying pretty clearly in the wheelhouse that made their names, which, in their own words, is all about “stories that take place at that beautiful crossroads where the ordinary meets the extraordinary, where big spectacle co-exists with intimate character work, where heart wins out over cynicism.”