The kids are going through a lot this season on Stranger Things and also getting vulnerable, Caleb McLaughlin and Sadie Sink explain.

Shadow and Act recently spoke with McLaughlin, Sink and Priah Ferguson about season 4, how their characters evolved this season and how they’ve grown up while the show has grown up as well.

This season kicks off with a Lucas who is on the basketball team and is getting in with the “popular” kids, much to the chagrin of his friends. For McLaughlin, this aspect of Lucas’ story allowed him to show his vulnerability.


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“I feel like he’s going through an experience that a lot of teenagers go through,” McLaughlin told us. “A lot of people aren’t taught to be OK with who you are and I think Lucas is learning that through his journey this season. He’s vulnerable this season. And there’s nothing wrong with what he’s doing, but in the process, it could hurt other people…like it’s hurting his friends. But he doesn’t go too far where it’s like out of control. Lucas is just smart enough to know what’s wrong and what’s right, so he kind of gets to a point where he’s like, ‘OK, wait, this is not who I am. Let me take a step back. I had my experience, I stepped out of the box. Let me come back to like, you know, who Lucas is– D&D the nerd.”

Immediately into the season, Sink’s character Max is looped into the central mystery with this season’s villain, Vecna.

“It’s a pretty heavy season [for Max],” she explained. “And not only just with everything that’s going on with her personal life, but like losing Billy and how that’s affected her family and just [how] that’s changed her entire environment. And then on top of that, of course, she has to be targeted by this season’s villain. So it’s a really challenging journey for her this year. But luckily, I think she has a group of people who have experienced this kind of supernatural threat before and they have a leg up. So she’s about to fight a little bit.

And as the seasons go by, fan-favorite character Erica’s presence has grown, something Ferguson noted to us.

“When Erica was first brought on, you saw little snippets of her personality,” she explained. “In season 3, you really understood that she is like a math whiz. And in today’s time, I say this all the time, she would classify as a STEM girl [laughs] and she’s very quick-witted. And in season 4, you kind of really see what she actually brings to the team [and] how she’s there for her brother and his friends through this traumatic time.”

McLaughlin also talked about the “insane” experience of aging while on the show.

“Honestly, through what you would call one of my most vulnerable moments in my life, I was on screen and I was working,” he said. “I feel like I’ve gone through like the same experience Lucas is going through, so it’s very interesting to compare the two. But I’m able to have people that are around my age to like talk to and that are going through the same thing. It’s great and it’s a blessing, but it’s insane watching little Caleb on screen and seeing myself now and thinking about my thought process from back then. Things that I didn’t want to do, things that I was shy or nervous about… no, it’s like it’s a no brainer for me. It’s a piece of cake. So it’s like I’ve grown as a person. I’ve evolved.”

Check out the full cast interviews also featuring Millie Bobby Brown, Winona Ryder, Noah Schnapp, David Harbour and more, below:

Stranger Things season 4, Part 1 is now streaming on Netflix.