ByHeather Snowden, writer at
Lover of bad puns, nostalgic feels and all things Winona. Email: [email protected] Tweet: @heathbetweetin
Heather Snowden

When the second season of Stranger Things comes slammin' onto our TV screens later this year, it's bringing a whole host of new faces with it — faces that'll join fan favorites to push the show into newer, more terrifying territory. One of those fresh additions will go by the name of Dr. Owens, a scientist who's brought to the small town of Hawkins, Indiana in an attempt to control the supernatural powers at play. And his character was inspired by the '80s classic movie Aliens.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, creators the Duffer brothers reveal that they referred to the character by another name in their pitch to , the name of the actor who plays him: Paul Reiser, and there is a pretty cool reason for this. The character is an homage to Reiser's character, Carter Burke, in Aliens — the traitorous, backstabbing, douchebag, Burke. And because '80s movie viewers proved to have a pretty shit radar for working out whether or not Burke was a jerk, this character should be somewhat similar in his throwing-us-off-the-scent-ness.

Ross Duffer explains:

“We want people to have those debates like, ‘Do you trust that guy or is he Burke?' Paul was saying the reason James Cameron cast him is because he thought people would inherently trust him and it would be a twist.”

Meta AF.

'Aliens' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
'Aliens' [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

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To make the character twist even more intriguing, it would seem that not even Reiser himself knows where Dr. Owen's true agenda lies. Talking to EW, he speaks of a "heated" debate his character has with Hawkins's resident Chief of Police, Hopper:

"I have a certain thing in my head that I’m playing. I did a scene a few weeks ago with David Harbour, and it was a heated scene where he’s sort of holding me accountable. My lines were to the effect of, “Trust me. Everything is fine.” I said, “I don’t believe me and I am me!” It just feels like there’s such a well-worn precedent not just of Aliens but in life when a government guy says, “No, you’re fine. There’s nothing to worry about here.” It’s like, “Yeah, I don’t believe you.”

Dr Brenner in 'Stranger Things' [Credit: Netflix]
Dr Brenner in 'Stranger Things' [Credit: Netflix]

And if you're thinking that his role as the ominous lab-guy could overshadow that of Dr. Brenner — Eleven's captor/"papa" — Reiser has this message of assurance for you:

"There’s a little more humanity. Modine’s character had very few lines so he was this looming, powerful presence. My guy is much more hands-on and sort of among his many degrees is that he has a bedside manner that Modine’s character did not have. I know coming into this what this community has gone through and my job is to try and walk them through their mistrust."

We probably won't know exactly what Dr. Owen's deal is until Season 2 lands on Netflix this Halloween — until then, you'll have to make do with watching the Super Bowl trailer on repeat. Sorry.

Who's your favorite Stranger Things character?


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