The most highly-anticipated series of the summer has to be Stranger Things on Netflix. Well over a year has passed since Season 2 ended on a monstrous cliffhanger overshadowing an otherwise happy ending for the characters, and fans have been dying to know what happens next. Hiatus has passed without too many details leaking, however, in contrast to huge projects like Game of Thrones Season 8 that were significantly spoiled, and there are big reasons why.
Stranger Things actress Francesca Reale, who plays newcomer Heather the lifeguard, spoke with CinemaBlend about the new season, and she said this when I asked what kind of measures the show took to prevent spoilers from leaking:
So many! I'm personally very scared of Netflix on a large scale. They're just such a massive company. I love them, they keep hiring me, but they're a massive, massive company and I'm always nervous that someone will hear something and it'll somehow get back to Netflix. Basically they just sent a massive sheet out to all of us saying what we can and can't say and what we should refrain from talking about. Also, I'm pretty sure all the screeners are password protected. They are taking serious precautions to make sure that nothing leaks, which is really nice, honestly, because I would hate for something to get out early and spoil it for everyone because it is such an interesting season and so much does happen.
Spoilers about high-profile projects have been known to leak accidentally, as many of the Marvel Cinematic Universe actors (especially Tom Holland) know well by this point. To prevent the cast from spilling any details they didn't know were supposed to remain secret, the show sent out a list of what wasn't to be discussed. So, if you're wondering why nobody from the show revealed any big twists or cliffhangers or the like ahead of the premiere, that would be why!
As Francesca Reale said, Netflix is a massive company, and she has plenty of experience with the streaming giant. Before landing the role of Heather for Stranger Things Season 3, she had a significant role on the Netflix comedy series Haters Back Off.
It's probably safe to say that her character's story on Stranger Things will be quite different from her character on Haters Back Off, and not just because of the gloriously 80s-tastic hair Heather is sporting in the trailers for Season 3.
Screeners are indeed password protected, so spoilers leaking without Netflix being able to ID the leaker has been unlikely. Plenty of fans undoubtedly agree with Francesca Reale that the lack of spoilers leaking early means a much more interesting season to watch once it releases on July 4. Viewers won't know what to expect.
Of course, based on the first two seasons, it may be best to watch Season 3 with the lights on! The latest trailer alone indicates Season 3 could be the scariest season yet.
As it turns out, Francesca Reale herself didn't know quite what she was getting into with Heather when she auditioned for Stranger Things, although she is a fan of the show. When I asked if she had any theories before she read the scripts, Reale said this:
No. It's such a compelling and interesting show that I actually had no idea what could have happened or what would happen, and I was as such very skeptical. Because when I signed on I hadn't read anything. My sides weren't even from the show, they were dummy sides. I was actually really nervous to see what was going to happen and what her part of the entire season would be. Just because you never know... [creators and executive producers] the Duffers are amazing and they really outdid themselves. It's an incredible season.
Fans may not know much now, although the title of the third episode seemingly made it clear that something unpleasant will happen to Heather, but Francesca Reale didn't even know any of Heather's words when she was auditioning! Sides are lines from a TV show or movie given to actors for their auditions, and Reale had to land the role of Heather without reading any of Heather's lines!
Yes, when Francesca Reale auditioned to play Heather, she didn't actually know what Heather would be doing or what would happen to Heather. Thankfully, the Duffer brothers were able to reassure her.
She was actually joining the show to play a kind of character who never had reason to appear on Stranger Things before: a lifeguard. The first two seasons were set in late fall/early winter in Indiana, and Midwesterners everywhere can vouch for the fact that nobody is running around outside in a bathing suit at that time of year.
When asked how it felt to join a dark show in its visually brightest and sunniest season yet, here's what Francesca Reale had to say:
Joining the show in general was nerve-wracking. It's such a popular show and it has such a fanbase, the last thing you want to do joining in in the third season is disappoint the fanbase. Or not bring your 110% like the rest of the cast. So that was definitely nerve-wracking, but once the Duffers explained to me what her role was, again because my audition scene was just a scene from Scream and not anything from the script, but once they kind of deep-dived into how she'd be participating and what her role was, it was so exciting.
The sides Francesca Reale received for her audition were from Scream, which -- while a scary story in its own right -- is no Stranger Things, and it's no wonder she was nervous about joining the show. Stranger Things is arguably Netflix's biggest original series in its vast library of originals, and the hype around Season 3 is incredible.
The show has even partnered with companies like Baskin Robbins to create some Scoops Ahoy ice cream (although sadly not scooped by servers in sailor costumes like Steve), Burger King for Upside Down Whoppers (which are exactly what they sound like), and Coca-Cola for New Coke. You know a show is huge when it brings back a drink that is best known for being disliked, and people being excited about it!
Find out how Stranger Things pays off on all the excitement as well as how Francesca Reale's Heather fits into the story when Season 3 premieres on Thursday, July 4 at 12:01 a.m. PT on Netflix. If you need a refresher on what happened in Season 2 and don't have the time for a rewatch within the next several days, swing by our breakdown of 9 key points to remember from Season 2.