Dungeons and Dragons was one of the many, many cultural references peppered throughout the inaugural season of Stranger Things, but the inclusion of the iconic tabletop RPG wasn’t a means of pandering to pent-up ’80s nostalgia – far from it.
By calling on the Upside Down and the monstrous Demogorgon, the cast of fearless youngsters was able to pinpoint the whereabouts of Will Byers and, by effect, relay the show’s more fantastical elements to the audience without the need for ham-fisted exposition. D&D clearly holds a special place in the hearts of the Stranger Things‘ creators, and if a trailer breakdown by /Film is any indication, the Dungeons and Dragons game known as Ravenloft will factor into the upcoming second season.
If there was ever any doubt that the Upside Down left a lasting effect on Will Byers, check out the image embedded below. It’s pulled from Sunday’s Super Bowl teaser, revealing a collection of Will’s frantic drawings and, perhaps most striking of all, an illustration of the spider-like monstrosity glimpsed toward the end of the snippet. A reference to Ravenloft can be found at the top-right of the image, which at the very least suggests that Stranger Things season 2 will incorporate the vampire Strahd into its narrative arc.
Here’s how /Film deduced the pic:
“In the game, the players must gather two magical weapons (the Holy Symbol and the Sunsword) before locating and destroying the evil vampire. The page that the book is opened to in the Super Bowl TV spot features short descriptions of the places and people that players could encounter as they work together towards Strahd’s castle. Strahd von Zarovich is noted as being one of the first well-developed villains to appear in D&D.”
Save the date, folks, Stranger Things season 2 is booked in for a Halloween 2017 premiere, and those viewers campaigning for Barbara Holland needn’t worry; “her memory, and the search for justice for her, is a big part of season two,” according to executive producer Shawn Levy.