A show drenched in pop culture and set entirely in the 1980s has no choice but to acknowledge the sheer power of the Star Wars galaxy. I’m of course talking about the hit Netflix series Stranger Things which just launched the first volume of its fourth and penultimate season.
From the get-go, Stranger Things made no secret about allowing itself to be a smorgasbord for 80’s culture in all its glamour and ridiculousness. Season 1 takes place in 1983, the year of Return of the Jedi. The show is littered with Star Wars merchandise. Most notably the iconic Kenner series figurines that are legendary in toy culture to this very day. In one scene Dustin prompts Eleven to demonstrate her powers on a model of the Millennium Falcon. Powers which Mike immediately compared to Master Yoda.
Amid the filming for season 2, the gang took it upon themselves to go trick-or-treating behind the scenes in full Star Wars garb. Of course, seeing Rey alongside a young Leia and Han would be breaking the rules but that’s precisely what the gang is best at.
In season 3, Steve is asked which of the three (at the time) was his favorite. His response? “The one with the “teddy bears,” confirming Steve as a disciple of Episode VI.
Season 4 Vol. 1 has been rather light on the Star Wars references. Understandable seeing as the latest entry takes place in 1986. The later part of the ’80s was considered somewhat of a “dark times” period for the galaxy far, far away. With George Lucas’s fantasy world taking a backseat in modern culture. However, this is misleading. There was not a total absence of Star Wars content at the time. A lull was to be felt for sure after the end of the original trilogy but it would be heinous to not remember the beloved animated series Droids and Ewoks, both of which aired until 1986.
The cartoons are somewhat obscure now but hold a strong place in the hearts of those who witnessed them in their prime. Lacking the huge volume of Star Wars content we enjoy now, having two concurrent animated series featuring returning characters from the films was certainly a novelty at the time.
With a time skip reportedly coming in the future of the show, it will be interesting to observe how the space faring franchise will keep up with the show in the wilderness years when the original trilogy was long over and the prequels still a distant future.
Have you spotted any other Star Wars references in Stranger Things? Let us know in the comments below! For all things Star Wars, head on over to Dork Side of the Force!