‘Stranger Things’ Is Recasting Three of Its Main Characters

in Movies & TV

David Harbour as Jim Hopper in 'Stranger Things' Closeup on the left and Movie Moment with Main Characters of 'Stranger Things' on the right

Credit: Inside the Magic

Stranger Things (2016) is recasting three of its main characters…

In 2016, a certain Netflix television series became a global phenomenon, all the while making the 1980s cool again, paving the way for other retro-inspired sci-fi television shows and films, and at the same time giving audiences several rich and exciting characters.

Stranger Things is one of the most beloved IPs of the modern era, and though its popularity showed no signs of waning over the years, it’s only in recent months that it has started to grow into a massive franchise that will come to rival many long-standing ones.

(L to R) Will, Mike, Dustin and Lucas in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

Related: First Look at Beloved ‘Stranger Things’ Star’s Return In Upcoming Prequel

Last year, the fourth season left fans and critics stunned, and broke a number of Netflix records. And now, fans are hungry for more, although, unfortunately, it was recently confirmed that Season 5 has been delayed due to the ongoing writer’s strike.

When the fifth and final season will arrive remains to be seen, and it’s possible that the writer’s strike could also impact the Stranger Things spinoffs that are in development, such as the anime series, the Netflix animated series, and the separate live-action series.

Will Byers in Stranger Things Season 4
Credit: Netflix

Related: First Teaser For ‘Stranger Things’ Star’s Upcoming Prequel Revealed

There are two spinoffs, however, that seemingly won’t be affected by the strike. One of them is a crossover comic book event titled “TMNT x Stranger Things” (2023), which will see the Hawkins kids meet up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in New York City.

The second, if you can even call it a spinoff as it’s actually a prequel, is a stage production that’s heading for the West End. That’s right — later this year, Stranger Things: The First Shadow (2023) will transform London’s Phoenix Theatre into the Upside Down.

Stranger Things: The First Shadow official artwork
Credit: Netflix (via Stranger Things: The First Shadow website)

Related: ‘Stranger Things’ Star Changes Tune – “It Is Time For It To End”

Stranger Things creators Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer have confirmed that, just like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (2016), the show will not be a musical — much to Millie Bobby Brown’s disappointment, no doubt, who said that she’d love a musical episode in Season 5.

But this is no surprise considering how dark Stranger Things is. As the Duffer brothers have confirmed that the stage show will be canon, it’s possible they feel that the absence of songs will allow people to better immerse themselves into the world of Hawkins.

Millie Bobby Brown in the Hawkins Lab in Stranger Things Season 4
Credit: Netflix

Related: Gaten Matarazzo Speaks Out Ahead of Exit From ‘Stranger Things’

Besides, as we already know, the Netflix show is already bursting at the seams with hits from the ’80s, so the stage show is just as likely to belt out plenty of retro tracks. But it won’t actually take place in the ’80s, instead taking us even further back, to the year 1959…

Who’s in Stranger Things: The First Shadow?

The First Shadow will introduce younger versions of four Stranger Things characters, three of whom are part of the ongoing main line up, which, of course, means that they will be recast. So, who are they?

Joyce Maldonado/Byers

Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

Joyce Byers, who is played by Winona Ryder in Netflix’s Stranger Things, is the mother of Will Byers (Noah Schnapps). This time, however, we’ll get to see Joyce (then Maldonado) in high school, with the official synopsis stating that she “just wants to graduate and get the hell out of town.” If she has any idea of what’s to come, who can blame her.

Jim Hopper

Hopper in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

Played by David Harbour in the flagship series, Jim Hopper has a long past in Hawkins, and we’ll no doubt learn even more about it in The First Shadow. While the synopsis naturally doesn’t reveal much about him, other than the fact that his “car won’t start”, we’re sure that Stranger Things Season 1 isn’t the first time he comes into contact with the Upside Down.

Bob Newby

Sean Astin as Bob Newby in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

In Season 2, Bob Newby, Joyce’s happy-go-lucky boyfriend, is played by Sean Astin. Sadly, their love doesn’t last very long, as he’s eventually killed by Demogorgons, which, just like Eddie Munson’s tragic death in Season 4, broke many hearts. Soon, though, we’ll spend time with Bob as a Hawkins kid in The First Shadow, in which he has his own “radio show”.

Henry Creel

Jamie Campbell Bower as Henry Creel in Hawkins Lab in Stranger Things Season 4 4
Credit: Netflix

Henry Creel, who is also known as One or Vecna, the “dark wizard” from the Upside Down as seen in Stranger Things Season 4, is played by Jamie Campbell Bower. But just like Joyce, Jim, and Bob, Henry will, of course, be played by a new actor in the upcoming show. Of all the returning four characters, though, the wicked Henry has us intrigued the most.

Who else?

Stranger Things 4 ensemble cast
Credit: Netflix

“We are beyond excited about Stranger Things: The First Shadow“, the Duffer brothers have said, as revealed on the official website for the stage show. “Collaborating with the brilliant Stephen Daldry has been nothing short of inspiring, and Kate Trefry has written a play that is at turns surprising, scary, and heartfelt. You will meet endearing new characters, as well as very familiar ones, on a journey into the past that sets the groundwork for the future of Stranger Things. We’re dying to tell you more about the story but won’t — it’s more fun to discover it for yourself.”

No cast members have been confirmed for The First Shadow as yet.

As per the official website for The First Shadow, here’s the synopsis:


Hawkins, 1959: a regular town with regular worries. Young Jim Hopper’s car won’t start, Bob Newby’s sister won’t take his radio show seriously and Joyce Maldonado just wants to graduate and get the hell out of town. When new student Henry Creel arrives, his family finds that a fresh start isn’t so easy… and the shadows of the past have a very long reach.

Brought to life by a multi-award-winning creative team, who take theatrical storytelling and stagecraft to a whole new dimension, this gripping new adventure will take you right back to the beginning of the Stranger Things story — and may hold the key to the end.

Dmitri Antonov (Tom Wlaschiha), Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman), Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), and Jim Hopper (David Harbour) in Season 4 of Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

Related: David Harbour Jumps to New Franchise After Leaving ‘Stranger Things’ Role

Written by Stranger Things writer Kate Trefry, produced by Sonia Friedman, and directed by Stephen Daldry, The First Shadow is set to premiere in London’s West End on December 14, 2023, with previews starting at the Phoenix Theatre on November 17.

Stranger Things Seasons 1 — 4 are now streaming on Netflix. There is currently no release date for Season 5, however, we do know that there will be eight episodes. As per the Netflix website, here’s the official synopsis for Stranger Things Season 4:

It’s been six months since the Battle of Starcourt, which brought terror and destruction to Hawkins. Struggling with the aftermath, our group of friends are separated for the first time – and navigating the complexities of high school hasn’t made things any easier. In this most vulnerable time, a new and horrifying supernatural threat surfaces, presenting a gruesome mystery that, if solved, might finally put an end to the horrors of the Upside Down.

Nancy Wheeler in in Stranger Things Season 3 poster
Credit: Netflix

Related: “Theatrical” ‘Stranger Things’ Prequel Gets 2023 Release Date and Synopsis

Stranger Things Season 4 stars Joe Keery (Steve Harrington), Winona Ryder (Joyce Byers), David Harbour) (Jim Hopper), Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler), Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven/Jane Hopper), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson), Joseph Quinn (Eddie Munson), Paul Reiser (Dr Sam Owens), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair), Natalia Dyer (Nancy Wheeler), Matthew Modine (Papa/Martin Brenner), Maya Hawke (Robin Buckley), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan Byers), Sadie Sink (Max Mayfield), Noah Schnapp (Will Byers), and Jamie Campbell-Bower (Vecna/One/Henry Creel).

Will you be watching Stranger Things: The First Shadow? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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