Duffer Brothers Having 'Total Meltdown' Over Stranger Things Monopoly

Monopoly, the fun board game for families (aka a relationship-ruining psychological experiment in capitalism) has expanded beyond tearing families apart and instead set its sights on major streaming franchises. "Stranger Things" season 4 is just around the corner and while fans in the know are taking special care to shield their eyes and cover their ears until they can binge through the super-sized season in a single night, it turns out that spoilers are lurking around every corner. Even the ones you buy in a board game.

Images from an official Monopoly game tie-in are being shared online, ahead of the long-awaited new season of the series. The images include game cards that spoil major plot points for the first and potentially second half of the season — we won't delve into them here, but there is an entire Reddit thread dedicated to the situation. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix wasn't happy about the reveal but no one was more upset than Matt and Ross Duffer, the "Stranger Things" creators who were said to have had a "total meltdown" about the mishap. The secrecy surrounding this series has been very intentional for years — hence the reason that the lead-up to this latest season has been completely devoid of details until just before the new episodes are slated to drop.

Monopoly strikes again

Mystery is an important part of the "Stranger Things" vibe, so it's no wonder the creators were so distressed about any possible leaks. Per THR, the Duffer Brothers and their fellow producers are heavily involved in the vast majority of the show's promotion and marketing, and typically have approvals over merchandise to avoid these situations. But given the insane amount of "Stranger Things" merchandise out in the ether, it's no surprise that a product or two manages to slip through the cracks. Surely they can't examine every single Demogorgon figurine and Eleven lunchbox in the lineup!

The source that spoke with THR said, "Lessons have been learned and, I expect, there will be more cohesion going into season five." As for why the game was released before the season, the purchase details remain unconfirmed but the Reddit thread devoted to the situation claims the game was bought at "a nationally recognized retailer and purchased fair and square by a consumer. Nobody stole it; nobody leaked a sample."

The cost of doing business

In our world of merchandize-driven franchises, this is not an unusual occurrence. On many famous occasions, marketing departments have released toy lines, soundtracks, and so many more products that accidentally reveal key plot elements before they have a chance to hit screens. It's not often we hear back about behind-the-scenes meltdowns driven by spoilers, but the rest of this story is pretty damn familiar. Two of our biggest ongoing franchises — "Star Wars" and the MCU — fall prey to this all the time. Like the LEGO set that showed off Ant-Man's giant transformation in "Captain America: Civil War," or the action figures of Thor for "Avengers: Infinity War," that showed the God of Thunder with an awesome ax that comic book lovers quickly recognized as Stormbreaker, a weapon capable of killing Thanos.

It's a pretty unavoidable situation for studios looking to benefit from having merchandise at the ready — Jon Favreau took great pains to keep the star of "The Mandalorian" under wraps (no, not Pedro Pascal) and refused to give manufacturers the character design for Grogu. Sure, this meant a great big surprise at the end of the first episode — but it also robbed us of official Baby Yoda plushies for many, many months. Spoilers are just the cost of doing business.

Volume 1 of "Stranger Things" season 4 makes its debut on Netflix on May 27, 2022, with Volume 2 following on July 1, 2022.