Ever since “Stranger Things” creators Matt and Ross Duffer admitted to digitally altering special effects in past episodes, speculation has run rampant about other changes they may have made to the popular Netflix series without telling fans.
“We have George Lucas’d things also that people don’t know about,” Matt Duffer said in a recent interview, referring to the “Star Wars” creator’s tendency to tinker with his old films by adding up-to-date special effects (often to fans’ chagrin).
This led to an influx of theories about an early episode involving Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton), and a scene involving him taking photos of Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) while she undressed. A viral TikTok rumor suggested that the Duffer Brothers had removed this scene to make the character seem less creepy, and to potentially avoid bad PR in an increasingly sensitive online climate. The theory suggested that those shots were replaced with more innocent footage of Jonathan taking photos of Barb Holland (Shannon Purser) sitting by the pool.
But in the end, this theory ended up being nothing more than speculation. The official “Stranger Things Writers Room Twitter account, which frequently answers fan questions, confirmed that no such edits have been made.
“PSA: no scenes from previous seasons have ever been cut or re-edited,” the account tweeted. “And they never will be.”
It’s a particularly interesting saga because the theory at hand could be so easily disproven by re-watching the episodes in question. The story ended up being about the prevalence of misinformation on the Internet rather than the editorial decisions of the “Stranger Things” showrunners.
The adamant denial from the Duffer Brothers is consistent with previous comments they made about their live edits. In the same interview where they admitted to “George Lucas-ing” things, Ross Duffer explained that they only make visual improvements and never try to alter story details after episodes have begun streaming.
“It’s not, like, story, but you’re essentially patching in shots,” he said. “Netflix is — I don’t think they’ve ever allowed people to patch on opening week and even weekend. And we said, ‘Well, why not?’ And he said, ‘Well, it makes us nervous.’ And we’re like, ‘Well, maybe we try it this time.’ And it turned out fine.”