With The Dread Pirate Roberts on set, who cares if the casting agent is preying on our nostalgia.
As far as pocket universes go, the 1980s of Stranger Things is a galaxy I am ready to eternally trap myself inside. Here is a brand where Ghostbusters, The Goonies, Steven Spielberg, and John Carpenter reign supreme. Hold on…I might already be stuck in that headspace.
The Duffer Brothers certainly understand the nostalgia realm that they operate within. They have already populated the town of Hawkins with 80s icons like Winona Ryder, Matthew Modine, Sean Astin, and Paul Reiser. You can call it stunt casting or you can just recognize it as being totally on point. Besides being knowing winks to the cinema that fuels the experience, these actors brought everything they had to the series. Their prime decade of dominance might be behind them, but Stranger Things revealed why we fell in love with their talent in the first place.
Going into Season 3, speculation on which iconic talents will appear has been inventive and wild. We already know that the Duffer Brothers are looking to Back to the Future as their inspiration. Set in 1985, a year after Eleven closed the gate of The Upside Down, Season 3 could be contemplating a fracturing timeline or just aping that Hill Valley vibe. Dreams of a Crispin Glover appearance do seem to be fading.
Variety reports that Cary Elwes has joined the cast as Mayor Kline. No one can deny his cred. As the Dread Pirate Roberts of The Princess Bride, Elwes is established 80s royalty. He’s the stuff of childhood fantasies, and a heartthrob worthy of a lifetime’s subscription to Teen Beat. It looks like Stranger Things season 3 must be in need of a swashbuckler, right?
Not so fast. Here is how Elwes’ character is described in Netflix promotional materials:
“Handsome, slick, and sleazy…Your classic 80s politician – more concerned with his own image than with the people of the small town he governs.”
Ok, so we might be getting a little less Wesley and a lot more Russ Wheeler from Days of Thunder. It’s easy to imagine Elwes scrambling to keep control of what little power he has. Cross Lee Wallace’s Batman Mayor with Murray Hamilton’s dollar obsessed politician from Jaws. How in the hell would those guys have dealt with The Upside Down infecting main street? Impotently whining and screaming for help.
Nipping at his heels will be Jake Busey (when you can’t get Gary, call the kid). As a journalist with questionable morals, he’s probably following the research that Brett Gelman complied at the end of last season. No doubt he’ll be a serious thorn in the side of The Mayor and will provide an enjoyable meal for the Demogorgon.
While we are here to get psyched for the supporting players, the ultimate appeal of Stranger Things rests on The Monster Squad. Mike, Eleven, Will, Dustin, and Lucas. And yeah, Dad-Steve and Sheriff Hopper. The thrill comes in watching them navigate the hell of the Upside Down while pulling joy from brief bouts with Galaga. A tussle with Elwes and Busey can only add texture.