The other, perhaps more high-profile horror gig, is Stranger Things 2, which starts streaming Friday, Oct. 27 on Netflix. On the second season of the hit series created by the Duffer Brothers, Astin plays Bob Newby, a former schoolmate of Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) and Jim Hopper (David Harbour), who now runs the Hawkins Radio Shack and dates Joyce, much to the chagrin of the chief of police. Oh, and he also happens to hate watching horror movies. That’s pretty much all that’s been revealed of Astin’s role, aside from the fact that Stranger Things producer and director Shawn Levy has dubbed him the “Barb of season two.”
That title, however, may have more to do with being a potential fan-favorite than a premature death. (Of course, we don’t know for sure and Astin himself wouldn’t answer any direct questions about the plot. “I can’t wait until Oct. 28, when I can answer any questions,” he says.) But what he can tell ET is that his presence is more than stunt casting.
While Astin’s 1985 childhood classic, The Goonies, is heavily referenced on the show, his role is more than just a tip of the hat to the nostalgic world Stranger Things lives in. “Of course you’re aware of it, but it has to work on its own terms, too,” he says of Bob, who also plays a part in Joyce’s home life with her kids, Will (Noah Schnapp) and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton). “That wouldn’t be fair to the fans of the show, if you felt like you were taken out of the show with something distracting.”