Who doesn’t love a British actor on a panel at Dragon*Con? I had the pleasure of attending Dragon*Con's Stranger Things panel, and it was everything I hoped for and more. The panel brought us plenty of good laughs, mostly surrounding jabs at people of “a certain age”. Also among the hilarity were the pranks the Duffer brothers, creators of Stranger Things, played on Cary Elwes at the amusement park set featured in Season 3 of the show. Cary was joined on the panel by Mark Steger, actor for the Demogorgon, and Shannon Purser, our beloved Barb. The Stranger Things fandom definitely loves our Barb!
The three talented actors brought us back to Hawkins to relive their experiences on set. Cary reveled in his chance to be “cast as a bad guy, especially because I’m British.” He coyly admitted he played an "asshole", but he agreed to join the cast without batting an eyelash. Shannon’s voice showed her sweet and humble character, reflecting on her first time on set, “Take instructions, and don’t be weird.” Mark was a bit different, being experienced in monster performance. He knew he had the audition in the bag for the role of Demogorgon when he saw his competition for the role were all people that he had hired before.
The most hysterical moment in the panel started off with an audience question to Shannon: “As the only person on panel that did not live through the original 80s, how did it feel to immerse yourself?” Shannon confirmed that she was born in 1997, and the crowd grooooooaned, but Shannon said it felt familiar and natural. “Teens at the heart, are the same, trying to figure themselves out.”Cary Elwes shared that he destroyed pictures of himself from the 80's because he made the unfortunate decision to follow the "shoulder pad" trend. He “couldn’t sleep for a week” with the memories of his 80s garb. He recalled the glory days of trips to the mall in London to enjoy an Orange Julius with his family.
When the audience asked the panel to pick an era they would go back in time to portray in a future acting role, Shannon jested, “I feel like any answer I give will offend someone, like the 90s were great!” All three of the panelists shared hilarious anecdotes about “the kids” on the show (i.e. Millie, Finn, Gaten), which left us in stitches.
Each of the actors gave us hints to their next role. Mark’s future project is the movie "Army of the Dead" with Dave Bautista. Cary just finished filming Season 3 of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel! Please release it now, Amazon. Why do we have to wait until December?? Shannon was very hush, hush about her next project, only hinting that she was working behind the camera and agreeing that more women were needed behind the scenes.
The panel wrapped up the session with funny stories. Shannon regaled us with her favorite (read: only) death scene. She was covered in slime and bruises, and spat up babyfood. “It was a great time; I highly recommend!!”, she laughed. Cary shared a behind the scenes moment where the Duffer Brothers convinced him to ride the Salt and Pepper shaker ride at the Mayor Kline Fun Fair. Cary said, “It’s FREE; I can’t pass it up, but I should have! Just NO, NO, NO!!!” All in all, the 2019 Dragon*Con Stranger Things panel was a blast. Hopefully they’ll join us again for D*Con 2020!