Sean Astin, star of Stranger Things, Lord of the Rings, The Goonies and Rudy himself, has joined the fervent fan group that wants to see some kind of justice for Barbara “Barb” Holland from the first season of the hit Netflix show. Stranger Things. And while Sean Astin’s character Bob Newby was introduced to the series’ second season, only to die defending the world from extradimensional threats emerging in the town of Hawkins, he apparently feels that character got all the closure he could need.
Some context: when Stranger Things hit the streaming platform in the summer of 2016, no one could have predicted one of the breakout stars of the season would be the one killed off almost immediately. But when the Big Bad of the first season, the Demogorgon, unexpectedly killed Barb (portrayed perfectly by Shannon Purser), the internet came running. As the awkward friend of ostensible series lead Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) in a show with a deep affection for the nerdy outcasts (and Dungeons & Dragons players) of the world, it is perhaps not surprising that internet fandom embraced the character. #Justiceforbarb and #Imwithbarb quickly became trending tags across media platforms, and several seasons later, here we are, still talking about her. Per Screenrant, Sean Astin said “Bob had justice. He died a hero’s death. Barb, no one knows what the hell happened.” And he’s got a point.
And of course, Sean Astin is no stranger to rabid fanbases. As one of the stars of Peter Jackson’s enormously popular, influential Lord of the Rings film series, he has lived 20 years so far with his most famous role being that of a helpful hobbit. Himself part of a famous Hollywood family, Astin has grown to be one of the more charming and humble character actors in recent years, as invested in the role of an initially suspicious but ultimately heroically self-sacrificing Bob Newby in Stranger Things as he was for other parts — like the determined teenage football player in Rudy and a roided-up bodybuilder in the romantic comedy 50 First Dates. And while he has generally had a career in supporting characters, it has never stopped him from being a fan favorite in all his franchises. Plus, he is a pretty okay rapper, at least when it is hobbit-related.
Stranger Things season four is set to be released on Netflix in 2022, and a trailer has already been released. There is no word yet if Sean Astin will reprise his role as Bob in a flashback (as he did last season) or if we will ever see more of Barb in a similar fashion. Fans are already amped to find out what happened to David Harbour’s Sheriff Hopper (last seen in a Soviet gulag after being presumed dead) and how the show will handle the increasingly teenage problems of its central crew of monster-fighting kids. But with confirmation of a spinoff series for Millie Bobbie Brown’s Eleven character and a mysterious new animated film set in that universe in the works, fans are sure to have lots of Stranger Things soon.