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Highlights from the Stranger Things Panels at Spooky Empire

Stranger Things Netflix Horror

There was no bigger draw to Spooky Empire this past weekend than the cast of Stranger Things. The line to get into the panel featuring the lead three boys—Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLoughlin and Finn Wolfhard—was the biggest that the convention had ever seen. This was a show that came out of nowhere and caught on like wildfire. People went nuts for Stranger Things. With good reason, too, as the show was one of the best on TV this year.

The best things about the Stranger Things panel was the clear camaraderie between the three boys. They were on point, funny, playing off of each other. It made an overstuffed, crowded room well worth the wait to get in.

Of course, the biggest thing people wanted to know about was anything regarding the upcoming second season. The boys got together as if questioning among themselves if they could reveal something huge for the convention audience before just turning back and saying in unison, “We’re in it.”


Gaten, who plays Dustin on the show, dictated the course of the panel a little bit by pointing out the presence of Pennywise the Clown in the audience. Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike, is starring in the remake of It as Richie Tozier. Questions obviously came up during the panel about the upcoming film adaptation of the Stephen King novel and what we can expect from it.

Finn noted that the film will technically be the first feature film adaptation of It. “There’s never been a movie of It before,” he said. “There’s been the miniseries and now there’s this feature film.” He also noted that fans of the book should be excited, saying “It’s very close to the book. It’s very faithful.”

Pennywise in the It RemakeWhen asked if there was anything from the show that they wanted to keep, Gaten noted that he would have liked to have kept his hat, but also pointed out “There are so many out there now. It’s available. I’m sure I can get one.” Caleb—who plays Lucas—noted that he wished he had held onto his Rambo-esque headband. Finn said that he was asked a lot if he kept the bike, but pointed out “That bike was a nightmare… people don’t understand, it was built for the show and the weight was totally off. I couldn’t even ride it uphill.”

The three boys were also asked about their most surreal experience since the show premiered and became such a big hit. All three agreed that the most surreal experience had to be visiting the White House and meeting President Obama. “He watches the show,” said Gaten. “He’s hip. That’s literally what he said, ‘I’m hip.’”

When asked about their favorite video games, the kids truly felt like they got to be regular kids and each one of them beamed at the question. Finn actually had to think about the question and let the other two answer because he had so many, Caleb actually had his answer—in which he said that he’s currently enjoying Madden 2K17—booed from a member of the audience. Caleb got up to address the point by saying “I like something, you don’t, there’s room. It’s cool. It’s cool,” which got applause from the moderator and the audience.

At Millie Bobbie Brown’s panel, she was asked about dream roles and franchises she’d love to join and noted that she would love to play a younger version of Princess Leia in Disney’s revived Star Wars films. When asked what it was about the character that she loved, she joked “It’s mostly the hair,” before adding, “But her acting in those movies, the acting is really strong.”

Stranger ThingsFinally, when the boys were asked about advice for young actors in their panel, all three offered incredibly smart and helpful advice. Gaten spoke mostly to stage, advising the fact that “If you mess up a line, people are going to cover for you, so you have to be prepared to cover for them.” Finn advised to always be checking local casting calls and seeing what people are looking for. Caleb said, “You’re gonna get rejected a lot. We all did. It’s gonna happen and you have to have thick skin. But don’t listen to anyone who says ‘Oh, she’s not pretty enough’ or ‘she’s not talented enough.’ Just know who you are and know that you can do it.”

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Written by Nat Brehmer
In addition to contributing to Wicked Horror, Nathaniel Brehmer has also written for Horror Bid, HorrorDomain, Dread Central, Bloody Disgusting, We Got This Covered, and more. He has also had fiction published in Sanitarium Magazine, Hello Horror, Bloodbond and more. He currently lives in Florida with his wife and his black cat, Poe.
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