Netflix’s most popular show, Stranger Things, has been the talk of the summer with the long-awaited release of season four. Stranger Things 4 was broken into two parts following four different plot lines. Having multiple plot lines in every season has created consistency problems for the Duffer brothers. With so many characters and complex plots, minor details are bound to be overlooked.
Will’s birthday mistake
Fans have discovered that the day Mike Wheeler travels to California is, as confirmed in season two, Will Byers’ birthday. Viewers and fans generally just accepted that someone forgot about his birthday, whether that be the writers or the characters. However, in an interview with Variety, Matt Duffer admits, “The honest response is, clearly like the characters in the show, we also forgot about Will’s birthday. So the debate now is whether we adjust Will’s birthday or we just let it be really sad.”
The Duffer brothers describe adjusting Will’s birthday retroactively as “George Lucas-ing the situation.” That would mean they would go back and edit the scene where Joyce Byers says his birthday is March 22nd to make it a different date, in line with George Lucas’s editing of Star Wars movies. However, one look at the episode shows that it has not been edited and Will’s birthday canonically remains March 22nd. The brothers apologized for their mistake, saying it does not mean they do not love Will. Ross Duffer tells Variety, “It was obviously a mistake, and we’re sorry. We apologize to the fans.”
Jonathan’s creepy photography
However, after that interview, fans began to believe that the Duffer brothers are going back to edit episodes of the show to make everything line up more with the events of season four. People on TikTok began to spread the rumor that the brothers edited an episode in season one where Jonathan Byers takes a secret photo of Nancy Wheeler undressing. In that episode on Netflix, there is no scene of Jonathan taking that photo, although the physical photo is shown later when Steve Harrington breaks the camera. These rumors prompted the show writers to tweet to dispute the theory.
Fans are now wondering what to believe. Are the Duffer brothers trying to avoid the backlash from the rumors or has this been a case of a mass Mandela effect? Twitter user @willelmikes has shared a screenshot of a Reddit thread from six years ago confirming that they never clearly show Jonathan taking the photo of Nancy without a shirt.
To further confirm the Duffer brothers’ claim, people who own physical copies of the series have been sharing the disputed scene and proving that there was never a part where they show Jonathan taking that picture. The part when Steve sees the photo is still there, which means that the audience still knows that Jonathan took a picture like that, we just never saw him physically taking it.
So there you have it, as interesting and concerning as it would have been for show creators to begin editing previous episodes, the Duffer brothers remain innocent of this major erasure.