As A Stranger Things Fan, I'm Still Surprised By Which Characters Are (And Aren't) Included In The First Shadow

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While Stranger Things fans like myself are going to have to do a lot of waiting for details about Season 5, given the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, there is some news to celebrate. Back in March, the first-ever play within this universe, Stranger Things: The First Shadow, was announced, and now we’re finally learning more details about the production, including who the cast and characters will be.

The official Twitter account (@STOnStage) broke the news, releasing official cast pictures and character information for the impressive ensemble that currently has 18 named characters and 12 unnamed characters. The play, which is inspired by an original story by the Duffer Brothers, has been written by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Enola Holmes) and Kate Trefry (a Stranger Things writer). Set in 1959, The First Shadow takes place in Hawkins, and it follows fan favorites as they navigate high school while also dealing with the arrival of the Creels, who are trying to escape their past.

Of course, we know things don’t go well for the Creels, but it’ll be interesting to see how the events affect Hawkins as a whole. Especially if the play touches on the infamous “Creel Murders.” The play also teases the possibility of unlocking “the key to the end” of the series, which is even more reason to be excited about it.

With the story taking place in the canon Stranger Things universe, there are certain characters in the play that aren’t surprising, like a young Henry Creel (Louis McCartney) and the likes of Joyce (Isabella Pappas) and Hopper (Oscar Lloyd). But, the character announcement also included some surprising names while also leaving out some others, much to my disappointment.

A press photo of Sean Astin as Bob in Stranger Things holding a blue box.
A press photo of Sean Astin as Bob in Stranger Things holding a blue box.

The Newby & Munson Legacy Lives On

Bob Newby, a Season 2 fan favorite, is returning to the Stranger Things universe. With him comes more family members, including his father, Father Newby (Matthew Pidgeon), who is presumed to be a priest, and Bob’s sister Patty (Karuna Williams). There are no details about Mrs. Newby, which is definitely going to be interesting to explore.

It’s not totally shocking to have Bob featured in the play since Joyce and Hopper both talk about how they knew him during high school in the show. The addition of his family definitely is a surprise, though, especially since the promo picture has his sister posing with the actor playing Henry.

I’m already dying to know how Patty and Henry meet and if they’re going to be friends. Perhaps, it happens when Father Newby comes to visit Henry at the elder Creel’s request. I also can’t help but think that maybe Bob’s death in Season 2 was motivated by something that happened all those years ago between Henry and his sister. After all, we know Henry/Vecna is capable of holding some pretty big grudges.

Another addition that shocks me is Allen Munson (Max Harwood), the presumed father of the beloved, and sadly dead, Eddie Munson. We know so little about Allen beyond a couple of lines Eddie says while hot-wiring the Winnebago in Season 4, so I’m definitely excited to see him in the play. Will Allen be an outcast like his son? Is he as reckless and troublesome as Eddie makes him out to be? Does the addition of Allen also mean Wayne is going to make an appearance? Will we get to see who Eddie’s mom is? I have so many questions!

Hopefully, some will be answered in the play, and others will be answered in the prequel Eddie Munson novel, which will be released on October 31st.

Gaten Matarazzo and Joe Keery as Dustin and Steve in Stranger Things
Gaten Matarazzo and Joe Keery as Dustin and Steve in Stranger Things

But What About These Characters?

While Stranger Things: The First Shadow is bringing several characters to life on stage (including the parents of Lucas, Will, Mike, and Dustin), there are still some Hawkins residents who don’t seem to be appearing in the production.

Steve Harrington has been a fan-favorite Stranger Things character ever since his redemption arc in Season 1, and yet, we don’t know much about his family. I had hoped that the play would finally introduce us to his “well-respected” mother and his uptight father, but it doesn’t seem likely. Perhaps, the Harrington’s aren’t Hawkins natives after all but moved there later on. Or maybe the Duffer Brothers are saving the Harrington reveal for Season 5.

Learn More About Stranger Things

vecna in stranger things season 4
vecna in stranger things season 4

Who Is Vecna In Stranger Things?

Dustin’s father also seems to be missing yet again. According to ScreenRant, Mr. Henderson was credited one time in Season 1, Episode 5, but never had any lines, and he has never been brought up again. While the play might have been the perfect time to explore Claudia’s relationship with the father of her child, it doesn’t seem like that’s likely. Or, perhaps, Mr. Henderson is involved, and he just wasn’t formally announced. I certainly hope that’s the case since Dustin is my favorite, and I’d love to know more about his family.

Fans might also be wondering where Diane, Hopper’s ex-wife is. Sadly, I don’t think she will be featured since canon suggests she didn’t move to Hawkins until 1965 — several years after the events of The First Shadow took place. Besides, I think we already know enough about her from the canon events. I’d much rather dive deeper into the Sinclairs and Joyce/Lonnie’s toxic relationship anyway.

Even with an impressive 18-person ensemble cast, there are still so many Stranger Things characters that are left out, which makes me hopeful that the spin-offs and prequels will keep coming. As of now, we know that we’re getting at least one spin-off in the form of an adult animated series.

Stranger Things: The First Shadow is set to premiere on November 17th at the Phoenix Theatre in London, England. If you’re lucky enough to live close to attend, you can check out the official website for details on how to obtain tickets. As for the rest of us, I’ll be glued to social media for the inevitable spoilers and crossing my fingers that the play is a success and eventually tours internationally. And don’t forget to catch up on the sci-fi smash hit with an active Netflix subscription.