WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Stranger Things 2.
It turns out Stranger Things took inspiration from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight for its opening sequence. Stranger Things has always been a series that’s worn its influences out in the open. Often, these fit well with the show’s 1980s setting, be it in the form of a brief reference or a larger overarching plot point. However, The Dark Knight nod is a little closer to home for Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer.
The second season of the show opens on Pittsburgh at night, with a masked gang running out of a building and jumping into a van. Alarms blaring, the van is chased by the police, before the cops are thwarted by what appears to be a tunnel collapse. This being Stranger Things, though, not everything is as it seems.
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Speaking in an interview with Vulture, Matt Duffer explained the thinking behind the scene. “We were definitely going for [a Dark Knight vibe],” explained Matt in the interview. “Some of this stuff happens subconsciously, so I’m sure, yeah, we were ripping off Chris Nolan.” Matt also explained that he and Ross “love that kind of film, and we don’t usually get to explore that kind of vibe or tone on the show, so I think that’s really why we did it.”
As a matter of fact, the Duffer brothers looked at great movie sequels in general for inspiration, as they tried to expand the horizons of the show for its second season beyond simply adding new cast members to Stranger Things season 2. “We always looked at the movie sequels that we admired, and they always pivot and they always try new things,” said Matt. “Even if you swing and miss, at least you’re trying something different.”
The opening scene was certainly something new, throwing viewers into a completely different scenario from the first season with an entirely unknown set of characters. That same gang would not return until Stranger Things 2‘s controversial episode 7, keeping the audience guessing alongside the twists and turns of the rest of the plot.
At the very least, Stranger Things season 2 was able to get people talking. The show is now the most tweeted about streaming series, with a record-breaking 3.7 million tweets sent in the opening three days since the second season was made available. Given the popularity of the show, the Duffer brothers will have to start looking for inspiration for the next season soon.
Stranger Things seasons 1 and 2 are available now on Netflix.