When The Duffer Brothers’ nostalgia inspired horror series Stranger Things debuted on Netflix earlier this year, it left its newfound fanbase with a multitude of questions. Chief among them was this: just what happened to Barb?
The best friend of Nancy Wheeler, despite limited screen time, made quite the impression on many viewers, making the ambiguous details behind her fate all the more infuriating. Between the fact that the town seemed to simply ignore her disappearance and Shannon Purser’s all-too brief but memorable performance, Barb stands in many eyes as one of the most under appreciated television characters of the year. And the fans aren’t the only ones who feel that way. In a recent video interview with EW, three of the young Stranger Things stars, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, and Noah Schnapp shared their own thoughts behind the character’s treatment on the show.
“A lot of people will message me: ‘Why didn’t you guys look for Barb?’” Matarazzo said. “[Our characters] didn’t focus on looking for Barb because we didn’t really know her. She was just Mike’s sister’s friend. We didn’t really know her, we were looking for our best friend.”
Matarazzo, also known as the lovable Dustin, also speculated that a search was in fact in progress. It simply wasn’t relevant to the main plot which was the search for Schnapp’s Will Byers.
“I think they did [look for Barb], but the show, it focused on Will,” he said. “So I think they did have a funeral for her, I think they did have search parties [and] investigations on her disappearance, but they didn’t show it in the story.”
McLaughlin also chimed in by mentioning an often overlooked Stranger Things scene where Nancy Wheeler does in fact question the police about her friend, but according to Lucas Sinclair:
“I don’t think everyone noticed that.”
Regardless, the boys remain optimistic that Barb’s return is possible for Stranger Things season 2, Matarazzo in particular.
“We’re hoping that Shannon makes an appearance in season 2,” he said, “because we love Shannon. She’s great. Fingers crossed for Barb.”
Stranger Things season 2 is due next year. Season 1 is streaming now on Netflix.