Long before it became known as Stranger Things, Matt and Ross Duffers were hard at work on their pitch for “Montauk,” an “epic tale of sci fi horror inspired by the 80s and the works of Steven Spielberg and Stephen King.
The original pitch for Montauk has been available online for a while now, but now that we’ve seen the second season of Stranger Things, certain pieces of information in the pitch read differently. Because some ideas that were apparently scrapped from the pitch’s vision for the first season ended up becoming major plot points of the second season, it stands to reason that the pitch may hold clues about what to look forward to from the season.
In the original Montauk pitch, the character Terry Ives is described as the town’s 40-year-old movie theater projectionist and known conspiracy theorist who has “the looks of a serial killer.” Though he’s something of a nut, he was intended to become an ally of Jim Hopper’s as the first season progressed. Eventually, this character would become Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman) and “Terry Ives” is revealed to be the name of Eleven’s birth mother.
Terry’s inclusion in the pitch means that the Duffer Brothers had always planned on including a character like Murray in the show, even though he wasn’t introduced until this most recent season. After watching Murray working to expose the Hawkins National Lab as the shady organization it is, it could be interesting to see him leave his bunker and attempt to become more directly involved in the dangers still facing the town that have yet to reveal themselves.
We’ve known for a while now that Stranger Things was originally conceived of as an anthology series in the same style as American Horror Story, but the Montauk pitch also describes the potential for subsequent seasons of the show jumping forward in time. Similar to It, Montauk’s characters would eventually grow up and leave the town only to be pulled back by the reemergence of supernatural trouble back home.
Stranger Things is obviously sticking with its current cast for a while, but as the younger actors grow up and the show inevitably gets to a point where it needs to find new steam, a convenient jump into the future could be in order.
The shady research lab described in the Montauk pitch is more or less the exact same organization that the Hawkins Lab ended up being in Stranger Things, but along with telepathy, alternate dimensions, and monsters, the pitch also makes mention of aliens and time travel. Even though the Hawkins Lab has been shut down, it’s not as if evil corporations like that simply disappear into thin air after being exposed.
It’s also highly unlikely that the Hawkins division was the core of the organizations. It’d be very interesting to see what sorts of experiments other branches of the same group (perhaps in other towns) are conducting, particularly if those experiments involved people moving both forward and back through time.
Will Byers has been a part of the Duffer Brothers’ vision for Stranger Things from the very beginning, but a key part of his character description from the pitch may point to what we’ll see of Will in the future.
During the first two seasons of Stranger Things, Will’s story arc been primarily focused on his connection to the Upside Down and much of his personality has been defined by the trauma of his experiences. Originally, though, Will was pitched as a kid who was also coming to grips with his sexual identity, something that’s absent from the show so far. After seeing Will spend two seasons as the group’s resident oddball because of the time he’s spent in the Upside Down and then being possessed by the Mind Flayer, it’d be a welcome change of pace to see him dealing with normal teenage drama like this.
Episodes like “The Other Girl” are a key part to Stranger Things’ future because they represent a widening of the show’s world. As charming and nostalgic as it may be, Hawkins won’t be enough to contain Stranger Things’ characters forever. Eventually, they’re going to have to split up (even more) and discover the things that are going to define them as individuals.
We know from the original pitch that Hawkins wasn’t the original home of the story. As the show continues to grow and play on the narrative tropes of the stories that inspired it, it could be fascinating to see Stranger Things’ characters wander into another town like Hawkins or King’s Derry, Maine. Where a town like this might be is up in the air, but it would be a clever and knowing callback for Stranger Things to eventually make its way back to Montauk where this whole wild story began.