Ever since Netflix confirmed Season Two of its breakout hit, Stranger Things, fans have been dying to know when they will return to Hawkins, Indiana to continue their adventure. While last year’s promotional efforts were modest but effective, the streaming media service has been rather coy about plans for the next installment. An official premiere date has yet to be announced, but Netflix has been keeping the spirit alive with lessons learned from the previous season.
As soon as the show aired last summer, fans were paying tribute through art and handmade crafts. Stranger Things creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, were “blown away” by the response and expressed a desire for Netflix to get on the merchandising bandwagon. “They’re selling T-shirts,” Matt Duffer told IGN about the fan-made phenomenon. “It’s like, ‘[Netflix is] losing money!’ Let’s make some cool s**t!”
Netflix responded in kind with a line of official merchandise that debuted over the holidays. Pop culture retail chain, Hot Topic now carries officially branded Stranger Things goodies including shirts, figurines and even Eleven’s dress-and-jacket signature outfit. Charity retail site, BoxLunch has also partnered with Netflix, offering Christmas Light necklaces, key chains and shirts galore.
Because the show is set in the ’80s, fans had an affinity for creating tributes in 8-bit through art or games. Netflix has just released an “infinite runner” featuring the show’s protagonist, Mike Wheeler, as he runs away from the dreaded Demogorgon—jumping over government thugs and collecting frozen waffles along the way. Collecting enough Eggo waffles will summon Eleven to your aid, which I have yet to do because I’m terrible at this game. Don’t let the graphics fool you—the endless runner is rather challenging and will most likely kill all thoughts of productivity once you try it. Users can also choose other versions of the game related to Orange Is The New Black, Marco Polo or Narcos, although the 8-bit element makes the most sense for a show set in 1983.
While Stranger Things didn’t take home any Golden Globes this week, the show’s talented child stars made a big splash with a rap about being best friends and the revelation that “Barb lives,”during the cold open—although sadly she doesn’t. Sniff. Poor Barb.
Until the show returns, fans will just have to string their Christmas lights around the house, break out the Dungeons & Dragons and eat some frozen waffles. Netflix wants us to know that those kids will return . . . and friends don’t lie.