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‘Stranger Things’ Season 2 was Originally Denied the Rights to Use Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’

It’s pretty safe to say that the trailer for the highly-anticipated second season of Stranger Things was one of the best released during San Diego Comic-Con.  Everything about the trailer is absolutely perfect.  Immediately upon viewing, you are transported back in time to 1985 to the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana.  When the light-hearted trailer starts to ramp up the suspense, one key detail which makes that dramatic transition so successful is the music played throughout the trailer.  The scenes in the trailer are amazing on their own but, it’s Michael Jackson’s iconic and terrifying tune, Thriller that brings everything to a whole new level.

Surprisingly enough, the creators of Stranger Things had to battle for the rights to use the epic song.  io9 had the opportunity to chat with executive producer Shawn Levy at SDCC, just moments after the incredibly awesome trailer dropped. i09 asked Levy about the use of the song and, he commented about how the song almost didn’t make the cut.  Levy said:

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to pull off as a producer. It’s very, very hard, for reasons I won’t go into. We were rejected repeatedly for months. A month ago, it was over. We had another trailer that was being shipped to San Diego, and it did not have that song. The [Duffer] brothers and I would watch it, and it really ate away at us, because we knew it was a good trailer, but with Thriller it’s next level.”

Yup, you read that right.  The trailer that debuted in San Diego was almost completely different!  So, how to Levy and the Duffer Brothers finally gain the rights to use the song?  Persistence!  Levy explained:

“I basically decided to be a massive pain in the ass. I went back into bullheaded producer mode, and I figured out a way to work out a deal to license Thriller. That was a really happy day, the day that we finally pulled off that licensing arrangement.”

Boy, are we glad that it all worked out in the end.  We can’t imagine changing anything about the Stranger Things season 2 trailer!  Can you?  Check out the awesome trailer again below and let us know in the comment section below what other songs you think Levy and the Duffer Brothers could have used?

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Denise Caputo

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A self-proclaimed nerd, karaoke junkie, craft beer enthusiast and lover of all things pop culture, Denise enjoys all facets of entertainment from Broadway to box office blockbusters. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, concerts (lots and lots of concerts), volunteering, reading and playing with her rescue kitten, Samantha (who rescued who, right?). Denise currently resides in Long Island, New York and is honored to be a part of the Fan Fest News team!