'Stranger Things' Writers Briefly Considered Bringing Barb Back

A producer of the hit Netflix shows Stranger Things revealed that the show briefly considered bringing back a popular (but minor) character on the show.

The Hollywood Reporter recently posted a roundtable with several producers of hit genre shows about the continued popularity of "geek" media in Hollywood. During the roundtable, Stranger Things producer Shawn Levy revealed that they briefly considered bringing back Barb due to unexpected fan pressure.

"Everyone wanted Barb to somehow be miraculously alive," Levy said during the roundtable. "I'm not going to lie, we spent maybe 20 seconds talking about it — notwithstanding the slug of death that was coming out of her mouth in the nether."

However, Levy noted that when working on a show with a vocal fanbase, sometimes showrunners have to trust their instincts. "When it's about what people think they want, you have to trust that you know a little bit better."

Barb, played by Shannon Purser, was Nancy Wheeler's best friend and disappeared after accompanying Nancy to a pool party held by Nancy's beau Steve. Barb had cut herself while trying to shotgun a beer, and the blood attracted the monstrous Demogorgon. The otherworldly creature killed her and then dragged her back into the "Upside Down."

Fans related to Barb's personality and concern for her friend Nancy and were upset that she was killed off and then seemingly forgotten later in the first season. The hashtag #JusticeforBarb went viral and her death became a repeated criticism of the otherwise acclaimed first season. The 2017 Golden Globes ceremony referenced Barb's unexpected popularity during the opening of the show, when the cast of Stranger Things joked that Barb was actually alive.


While producers didn't bring Barb back in season two of Stranger Things, fan outrage helped give Barb some closure in the show. Producers added a storyline in which Nancy worked to expose Hawkins Laboratory for their role in Nancy's death and resulting cover-up. Nancy seemed far more distraught about Barb's death in Season 2, and Barb was given a proper funeral and send-off at the end of the season.

Although Barb is dead and buried in Stranger Things, fans can follow actress Shannon Purser on Riverdale, where she plays Ethel Muggs. She's also set to star in the Netflix comedy movie Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, which debuts on September 7th.