The stars of Stranger Things aren’t so little any more.
Season four of the hit Netflix series may be full of scares, but according to Winona Ryder—who plays Joyce Byers—the show’s characters still remain the heart of the series.
“It has progressively gotten more frightening,” the actress told E! News’ Daily Pop. “But what I love about it is it does keep that sort of personal heart, love, sort of, connection with the kids and the difficulty of being a teenager.”
Noting that adults are quick to write off certain behaviors as kids being kids, Ryder said that teens endure “just as much pain and confusion. It’s like a war for them.”
As a former teen star herself—starring in 80s hits like Beetlejuice, Lucas, and Heathers—Ryder stated that she’s “very protective” of the show’s younger stars.
“I have mixed feelings about kids in the industry,” she said, “but we’ve really scored with these kids.”
The cast has grown up a lot since season three premiered back in 2019. And after three long years, Gaten Matarazzo—who plays the loveable Dustin Henderson—says he is excited to finally share the next chapter in the Stranger Things saga with fans.
“We’ve been living in this season for so, so long. It feels like the never-ending season at this point,” he said. “So, it’s more of a sigh of relief getting to see it play out and see it look so great and be scarier than it ever has before.”
The scares in season four have been turned up to an eleven, as Joe Keery—who plays Hawkins heartthrob Steve Harrington—warns that younger viewers might need to hide under their blankets.
“I was surprised,” Keery told Daily Pop. “I was like, ‘Wow, okay. Kids will be scared. Kids will have nightmares.’ You know, if I was a kid and I was watching this, it would be disturbing.”
As if the villainous Mind Flayer possessing the people of the fictional Indiana town hadn’t scared you enough, Maya Hawke—who plays Robin Buckley—teased another horrifying moment to come. “The bone-breaking is really not my favorite thing to watch,” she said.
Check out the full interview above.
Volume 1 of Stranger Things season four is out now on Netflix. Volume 2 premieres two brand-new episodes on Friday, July 1.
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