UPDATE: We’ve added the character(s) we were sworn to secrecy over pre-release, so scroll down to the bottom of the page to find out about Kali and her gang.
One of the best elements of Stranger Things is the strong, rich, believable characters created by brothers Matt and Ross Duffer. From Dustin and Eleven to Barb and Hopper, the show is filled with likeable, memorable kids and adults. And while most of them return for Stranger Things 2, the sequel also introduces a bunch of awesome new characters. Many of whom figure in the series’ best scenes. So, the following are our favourites.
Bob Newby (Sean Astin)
Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) had a pretty rough time in Season 1 of Stranger Things, losing her son to the Upside Down, and very nearly losing her mind. So it’s nice to see Joyce in a much better place at the start of Stranger Things 2. And that’s largely down to Bob Newby, a friend from High School, whom she’s now dating. Bob runs the local electronics store, and is as smart as he is sweet. He also has a cool connection — which we won’t spoil here — with the AV Club the kids so love, while his bravery and quick-thinking make him a major player as the season progresses. He’s played by Sean Astin — aka Mike in The Goonies — which gives the show yet another connection with the classic family films of the 1980s.
Dr. Owens (Paul Reiser)
Following the events of Stranger Things Season 1, audiences aren’t likely to trust anyone that works at the Hawkins Lab, so Dr. Owens is starting out at something of a disadvantage when Stranger Things 2 commences. He’s treating Will for whatever happened to him in the Upside Down. While we know the visions that Will is seeing are real, Owens is trying to convince him that they are in his mind, being brought on by post-traumatic stress. So from the outset, he seems as shady as the lab at which he works. And in another 1980s throwback, he’s played by Paul Reiser, who portrayed a similarly shady company man in Aliens. Which isn’t the only Aliens parallel in Stranger Things 2, but we won’t spoil that here either.
Max (Sadie Sink)
Max is the most prominent of all the new characters. As played by Sadie Sink, she’s the new girl in town, joining Hawkins High and going into the same science class as the boys. And she’s a serious badass, cruising around town on a skateboard and beating Dustin’s Dig Dug high score. She’s tough. She’s cool. And she treats the lads with a disdain which only seems to make most of them like her more. Indeed Dustin and Lucas are soon competing for her affections, which drives a wedge between the pair. Mike, meanwhile, simply doesn’t trust her. Making Max the route of some serious tension within their group.
Billy (Dacre Montgomery)
Billy is Max’s older brother, and something of a bully. He doesn’t trust Max’s new friends, forbidding her from hanging out with Lucas. And he takes an immediate dislike to Steve, challenging his position as the school’s top dog. With his six-pack and long hair, Billy seems to love himself, while he also has some serious anger management issues. But there are frequent hints that there’s more to Billy than meets the eye, most notably when he’s battering Steve on the basketball court while at the same time giving him advice on how to improve his game.
Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman)
With the horror that’s been unfolding in Hawkins, it’s a wonder that the world isn’t paying attention to what’s happening in the small town. But Hawkins Lab has thus far managed to keep the Upside Down under wraps. Until Murray comes along. A former journalist who now makes his living as a private detective, Murray has been hired by Barb’s parents in their efforts to obtain ‘Justice for Barb.’ But while his investigation is getting Murray close to the truth, he’s drawing all the wrong conclusions. And laying the blame firmly at the door of the Russians. As played by Brett Gelman — of Adult Swim and Fleabag fame — Murray is the funniest of the new characters, providing light relief when it all gets a bit dark early in proceedings.
Kali (Linnea Berthelsen)
Stranger Things 2 opens with a spectacular chase sequence involving the above. A gang, led by teenage girl Kali, who are taking out those responsible for terrible things that happened at Hawkins Lab. We learn that Kali is 008, sister to 011, and her powers are slightly different, with the character able to make others see whatever she chooses. Her crew is a collection of outcasts and freaks who disappear for much of the season, only to reappear in Chapter 7, when they take Eleven under their wing, and perhaps hint at where the show might head in Season 3.