Stranger Things Has A Superstition From Season 1 That They Still Do, Even In Season 4

stranger things season 1 episode 3 joyce christmas lights netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

Stranger Things more or less came out of nowhere to become a mega hit for Netflix back with its first season in 2016, with a cast of mostly unknown actors anchored by Winona Ryder delving into some... well, pretty strange things, to put it mildly. Season 1 turned out to have such a recipe for success that it resulted in a superstition that started in the first few episodes and has lasted all the way to the upcoming Season 4, as executive producer Shawn Levy recently revealed.

Shawn Levy dropped by CinemaBlend's ReelBlend podcast to talk about his work directing Ryan Reynolds' Free Guy, and he shared some fun Stranger Things facts in the process. Levy has not only been on board the Netflix hit as a producer from the beginning, but also directed the third and fourth episodes of the first season. He followed by directing Episodes 3 and 4 of Season 2 as well as Episodes 3 and 4 of Season 3. Levy explained the origin of the trend before getting into why it led to a superstition between him and Matt and Ross Duffer, who created the series:

It started off in Season 1, it was out of necessity. Nobody knew what we were doing. I had never produced television. The [Duffer Brothers] were these 31-year-old twins with like the greatest script that I've ever read. And Netflix said yes. The initial plan was that the brothers were gonna direct all of them, and as we were making Episodes 1 and 2, it became clear, like, 'Oh no, we don't have the other scripts finished.' So I basically said 'Okay, I'll go to Atlanta, I'll do 3 and 4 just to buy you time to go write Episodes 6, 7, and 8,' or whatever it was. So Season 1 it was out of necessity.

Shawn Levy directing the third and fourth episodes isn't the only trend that started in Season 1 and continued as the seasons passed. The Duffer Brothers actually never finished writing a full season of Stranger Things ahead of time until all of the necessary Season 4 production delays meant that there was definitely time to finish the scripts. Back in those early days of Season 1 production, nobody could have guessed how big Stranger Things would become, and how quickly.

And, as it turned out, Episodes 3 and 4 were pivotal episodes of Stranger Things' first season, with more flashbacks to Eleven and Dr. Brenner at Hawkins Lab (which may be revisited in some form or other in Season 4, based on the footage released so far), the recovery of what turned out to be Will's fake body in the quarry, and of course Joyce getting creative with her house decor for some of the most unforgettable imagery of the entire series. Is it any surprise that everything going so well on Episodes 3 and 4 led to a superstition? Shawn Levy continued, saying:

Little did I know I would be lucking into some of the most iconic moments in television history, with the Christmas lights, with the Demogorgon coming through the wall, with the lights [spelling] R-U-N, run. Like, Episodes 3 and 4, man, they're always that inflection point between setting up the characters and shit going nuts. So Season 1, I literally just did it. 'Okay, brothers, I'll be the big brother. Go back to the writing hole, I'll do it.' And then Season 1 hit the way it did, and the brothers and I kind of just said, 'Alright, you know what, change nothing.' Like, we're just superstitious enough to not want to mess with fate. And that's why I always direct 3 and 4 in every season, including the one that's upcoming.

Why change the recipe when the recipe was so successful the first time around? Shawn Levy did direct two pivotal episodes of Seasons 2 and 3 just as he did in Season 1, with the Duffer Brothers helming most (but not all) of the other episodes. An early look at Season 4 that released nearly two years ago revealed that the brothers wrote the Season 4 premiere. Now that Shawn Levy confirmed that he directed Episodes 3 and 4, fans can rest easy knowing Stranger Things stuck to its superstition.

That's not to say that Season 4 will just be more of what fans have seen before. While Season 2 arguably felt more like a continuation of Season 1 than its own wholly separate story, Season 3 changed turned Stranger Things into a summer blockbuster that just happened to run for eight episodes. Season 4 could definitely deliver some stories that have barely even been touched on before, and the teaser of Hopper in Russia, followed up by the trailer footage, confirms that the story very much won't just be in Hawkins anymore.

Unfortunately, viewers won't get to find out all the Season 4 details for themselves until next year, as Stranger Things Season 4 won't premiere until 2022, and even then no premiere date in the new year has been announced. The first three seasons, including Shawn Levy's six released episodes so far, are available for watching and rewatching on Netflix, and there's plenty happening in the fall TV premiere schedule as well to keep busy during the rest of the wait for Season 4.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).