SDCC has come and gone, but many of its reveals and trailers are still talking points. One trailer that most will agree stood above the rest is Stranger Things Season 2’s Thriller-fueled new look. Seconds into the trailer, Vincent Price is heard, his ever eerie voice reciting the all too familiar words from Michael Jackson’s hit. Not too longer thereafter, an evidently remixed version of the King of Pop’s track ushers in the rest of the trailer. This extended look at Stranger Things‘ second season was without a doubt one of Comic-Con’s highlights. And that’s due in no small part to Thriller’s brilliant inclusion. However, according to series executive producer and director, Shawn Levy, it almost didn’t happen.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to pull off as a producer. We were rejected repeatedly,” Levy said (via Heroic Hollywood. For months. A month ago, it was over. And 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 just really ate away at us because we knew it was a great trailer, but with Thriller… it’s next level.”
Whether the struggle was in getting Sony or the Michael Jackson Estate to consent is unknown. The latter is specifically known for being strict in its handling of rights. Either way, Levy wasn’t deterred, and it’s a good thing too.
“I basically decided to be a massive pain in the ass and I went back into bull-headed producer mode and I figured out a way to work out a deal and license Thriller.”