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Barb Will Play Into Stranger Things Season 2, But Not Like We Hoped

Barb Stranger Things

If you have heard about Stranger Things, then you have probably heard about our beloved Barb. Shannon Purser's breakout role as Nancy's best friend became a dark horse fan-favorite character on the Netflix series when it debuted last year, and her death at the hands of the Demogorgon remains one of the most upsetting aspects of Season 1. Fans of Stranger Things clamored to see "justice for Barb" after her unceremonious demise, and while Season 2 of the hit series will acknowledge the fate of the character in a substantive way that pays off the events of Season 1, it now seems that Barb will definitely stay dead. Matt Duffer explained:

No, there's no resurrecting Barb, but there is plenty of Barb talk. We make clear that some people still care. Some people care about her.

So in a certain sense, we will see some #JusticeForBarb during the events of Stranger Things' second season. That said, it also looks like Barb won't necessarily receive the happy ending that many fans have demanded to see for over a year. This development isn't necessarily surprising, as it lines up with recent comments made by David Harbour and Millie Bobby Brown that similarly confirmed that everyone's favorite nerdy redhead is very, very dead. Although she won't physically return, this seems like an indication that Hawkins, Indiana will at least acknowledge that one of its high school students went missing and they will finally mourn for her.

Figuring out the balancing act of giving audiences what they want while also defying audience expectations, is one of the most challenging aspects of storytelling -- especially once a show like Stranger Things becomes a hit with fans. The Duffer Brothers continued their explanations (during their recent appearance on Variety's Remote Controlled podcast) about how they're managing audience expectations in Season 2, saying:

Matt: Some of the stuff that fans had been asking for, we wanted the same stuff.Ross: But the point is not to give everyone what they think they want. Because I don't think they really know what they want.

You have to give them a certain amount of credit for understanding that distinction. Fan service is an important part of keeping a franchise alive these days, but a creator cannot always give into the whims of the audience. Maintaining the freshness of a series requires an artist to make left turns when an audience expects a story to go right, and refusing to bring Barb back from the dead is a commendable start towards moving in that direction. Most of Season 2's central story points were already established before Season 1 even aired, so going back and finding a way to resurrect Barb in response to the fanfare could ultimately cheapen this universe in the long run.

We already know that there are plenty of directions to go in by getting away from Barb. For starters, Stranger Things still needs to explain what has happened to Will Byers following his return from The Upside Down. When we last saw the kid, he was coughing up slugs, and you don't need to be an expert in science fiction to know that this isn't a good sign. Beyond that, Eleven (who finally let her hair grow) will continue her journey to become an average kid, and that arc alone is worth returning to this universe. Barb or no Barb, we're incredibly intrigued to see what Season 2 has in store.

With no resurrection on the horizon for this ill-fated (yet still beloved) character, we will have to wait and see how Season 2 of Stranger Things chooses to acknowledge her. The Duffer Brothers' Netflix sensation will return to the streaming platform later this year on October 31. Until then, make sure to check out our 2017 summer TV premiere guide for more information related to all of the small screen debuts slated for the next few months.

Conner Schwerdtfeger

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.