How Beetlejuice Creates a Serious Winona Ryder Problem for Stranger Things – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Stranger Things Season 5 has to end the show’s story before 1988, as it runs the risk of coinciding with a popular movie starring Will Byers’ mom.
Ever since Stranger Things debuted on Netflix in 2016, the series has become an outright cultural juggernaut that's been one of the biggest streaming-era success stories. Sadly, all good things must eventually end, and that will soon be the case for Stranger Things. Though its stuffed fourth season is still fresh on fans' minds, a fifth and final season is on its way, and it couldn't be timelier.
One of the main actresses in the series is Winona Ryder, who of course made a huge splash back in the late '80s with the spooky classic Beetlejuice. That movie's chronological release necessitates the ending of Stranger Things, especially since it's a show steeped in 1980s nostalgia. Here's why the Netflix hit has to die – and it's all Joyce Byers' fault.
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Stranger Things Season 4 takes place in 1986, putting the series' penultimate act in the hind end of the '80s. Throughout the series, there have been all kinds of nostalgia based on '80s pop culture, namely the science fiction and horror movies that clearly inspired the show's narrative. One movie that would certainly be in a similar wheelhouse is Tim Burton's Beetlejuice, and chronologically, it's not far off from the show's latest events. Beetlejuice came out in 1988, helping to put not only its director on the map but also one of its stars, Winona Ryder. Afterward, she became a massively popular actress who appeared in several big-time films throughout the 1990s.
Beetlejuice was the first big introduction for general audiences to Tim Burton's signature Gothic style, and Ryder's Gothic teen character Lydia Deetz was expertly played. Becoming something of a Goth icon for a generation, both Deetz and Beetlejuice were champions of weirdness. Currently, the plan is for the next season of Stranger Things to take place after a time jump, though it hasn't been specified how long after the fourth season it will be. With the 1988 release date of Beetlejuice just two years away from the fourth season's events, however, the risk of the Hawkins kids seeing Will's mom on the big screen grows even closer.
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For as much as it's referenced and even outright homaged different movies from the '80s, Stranger Things might go a bridge too far if it brings in Beetlejuice. After all, with how popular Winona Ryder got from the movie, surely the people of Hawkins would note how similar she looks to a younger Joyce Byers. There could even be a throwaway joke of sorts, with one character asking Will if he's seen Beetlejuice before stating that there's a girl in the movie that looks like his mom. While it'd be a cute wink at the audience, it might be too much to ask in terms of suspension of disbelief.
The Duffer Brothers have actually discussed why Stranger Things has to end before the real-world release date of Beetlejuice, as it's simply too big of an elephant in the room to ignore given Ryder's role. They even joked that the series might end with the kids going to see the movie in theaters, with the minds literally being blown upon seeing Ryder's character of Lydia Deetz. Joke or not, that's still probably too much of a tongue-in-cheek element to bring into the series, especially for the conclusion. Thus, it's best if the series brings the narrative to an end before 1988, keeping any likely confusion at bay by doing so.
Timothy Blake Donohoo is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he majored in Communication and minored in Creative Writing. A professional freelance writer and marketing expert, he’s written marketing copy and retail listings for companies such as Viatek. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing video games, watching documentaries and catching up on the latest Vaporwave and Electro-Swing musical releases.
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