This weekend, Stranger Things took over the Santa Monica Pier, transforming it into a mini Hawkins, IN, the setting for the popular TV series created by the Duffer Brothers. Additionally, the season premiere was held at Santa Monica High School, which was transformed into Hawkins High School, complete with a marching band. The familiar cast was also present, along with the newer members who joined on for the third season.
The new season will be set during 1985, and will have a summer theme, according to all of the recent trailers and advertisements. Noah Schnapp, who plays Will Byers on the show, stated that his character takes a darker turn in the new series: “This season he’s holding on to his childhood, the monster is still lingering inside of him — he’s not fully better yet. He’s kind of facing that. Throughout the season he’s gotten more mature and he’s gotten more courageous. He’s really grown up.”
Priah Ferguson, who plays Erica Sinclair, Lucas’ little sister, will play a larger role in the new season. Ferguson spoke with Deadline and shared some of her insights into her character. “Erica certainly has a bigger role this season she’ll be on a mission and has a new group of friends,” Ferguson said, adding that, “This season will definitely be darker, scarier and you’ll have a lot to look forward to.”
After the premiere, fans and cast members made their way to the pier, which had been overtaken by the Stranger Things universe. The pier’s parking deck was blocked off for a full fan experience and was open and free to the public from June 29-30. Guests were given a timed ticket to enter the pop-up, where they could find unique Hawkins fair experiences like the House of Curiosities or cool off at the Scoops-Ahoy ice cream truck, which will be featured in the upcoming series. After the experience, fans could find Easter-eggs scattered on the pier, such as the changed names of Pacific Park rides into Hawkins names, like the “Hawkins Wheel” and “Hawkins’ Palace Arcade.”
Additionally, the pier and Ferris wheel were illuminated in a red glow at night in honor of Stranger Things. The east coast will have a chance to experience something similar at New York’s Coney Island next weekend from July 5-7.
Stranger Things season 3 will be available to stream July 4th on Netflix.