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10th Sep 2016

Stranger Things creative reveals Barb’s fate was originally very different

Cassie Delaney

Barb was the unsung hero of Stranger Things.

She won the heart of every viewer who waited with bated breath for her safe return. It obviously never came, due largely to the town’s out and out failure to investigate her disappearance. Poor neglected Barb.

Barb’s story was fairly simple. In The Weirdo on Maple Street (Episode 2) Barb drives Nancy to a party and, while trying to open a can of beer with a knife, cuts herself. Later, sitting at the pool alone, Barb’s wound bleeds into the pool which attracts the Monster who pulls her into the Upside Down’s version of Steve’s pool. Hurt and disoriented, she tries to climb out of the pool but is dragged out and killed off screen.

Her death is finally confirmed when Eleven sees her rotting corpse in The Bathtub.

Justice never comes for Barb.

The only solace that viewers may now retrieve is that originally Barb’s death was far more gruesome. In an interview with Screencrush, Aaron Sims reveals that the original plan included Barb looking, well, like this.

Screen Shot 2016-09-10 at 15.10.50

“Based on our original discussion with the Duffers on this design, we wanted to go really graphic with it to highlight the horrific aspects of Barb being eaten, and something then growing on top of her – thus, the ribs poking out of her stomach in the first shot,” says Aaron.

In another shot, Barb is seen rotting and infested with spiders.


“In the script for that episode, there was specifically a description of a spider coming out of her mouth, which we incorporated into the design of that second shot … we don’t really have an explanation for its existence; the design is based around the script’s description,” says Aaron.

Ultimately, the designs were scaled back.

“In the final design, they ended up veering away from that because it became too unrecognizable,” said Aaron. “It was difficult to tell exactly what had happened to her; it wasn’t an issue of it being too graphic, but rather, that the viewer needed to see something that was very recognizably dead.”