5 Things You Might Not Have Known About The Starcourt Mall in “Stranger Things 3”

The Starcourt Mall

With the premiere of the third season of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” just over a week behind us, more details around the show’s latest season have begun to emerge as the concern for spoilers dies down. Late last week the Netflix Behind The Scenes podcast for “Stranger Things” released its first episode and the subject of the half-hour podcast was The Starcourt Mall. Featuring various crew members from the show, the episode shared the behind the scenes scoop on how the “Stranger Things” crew created the pivotal season three location. Here are some highlights from the episode you may not have known.

The Starcourt Mall was created using an actual mall

The Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth, GA was renovated to become the Starcourt Mall for “Stranger Things 3.” Built in 1984 the mall had the perfect look for the time period of the show and with two stories and nearly 40 stores, it was large enough to contain the seasons bigger monster and massive end battle. The crew recreated the internal ’80s aesthetic of the mall by referencing actual photos of the location during the period that were stored in a mall security scrapbook.

The Mall’s impact on downtown Hawkins was inspired by a writers’ real-life experiences

In “Stranger Things 3” many Hawkins residents are unhappy with the opening of The Starcourt Mall because of the impact it had on local business. This plotline was inspired by a real-life experience from Co-executive Producer and writer Curtis Gwinn. Growing up, his friends’ mom owned a knitting store and when a new mall opened with a competing shop in his town it drove her out of business.

All 40 stores in the mall were completely realized, even if they never made it into the show

While we obviously don’t see all 40 stores in The Starcourt Mall during season three of “Stranger Things,” they all existed. The creative team behind the show fully stocked and decorated each store to be period accurate, including a candle shop called Wicks ‘N’ Sticks, which almost, but never actually made it into the plotline. “There were talks of like Dustin going in and grabbing a candle as a weapon or something later, but it just never worked out,” explained series Set Decorator Jess Royal on the podcast. If you want a closer look at some of the storefronts and what they housed, check out this twitter thread I shared last week from Andy Baio that included photos and videos of many of the locations.

Some of the mall employees wore actual uniforms from the 1980’s

Using sites like eBay and etsy, the costume designers sought out actual work uniforms for the stores featured in “Stranger Things 3.” For instance, the team was able to hunt down and purchase two full original uniforms from Burger King. The team was also fortunate enough to be given period-accurate uniforms by Hot Dog on a Stick.

The booth Dustin and Steve sit in at Scoops Ahoy is shaped like a boat

It’s only seen once during the season and if you blinked you missed it, but the Scoops Ahoy booth Dustin and Steve sit at in the episode titled “The Mall Rats” is actually shaped like a boat. On screen, it just looks like your typical red booth, but the outside of the booth is actually a boat bow that sticks out from the front of the store.

The front of the Scoops Ahoy Ice Cream Parlor in "Stranger Things 3"

The Starcourt Mall was a huge part of “Stranger Things 3,” so seeing just how much went into making this mall as authentic as possible is impressive. You can listen to the first episode of Netflix Behind The Scenes here.

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