“Stranger Things” star Caleb McLaughlin is coming to terms with the end of his popular Netflix sci-fi drama, which has brought in a loyal fan base for nearly seven years.
Speaking to TODAY.com, the 21-year-old says it's a bittersweet end to the series that he's been a part of since age 13, adding that he and his co-stars are giving it “one last run.”
“It’s sad, but I think it makes sense that the show is ending,” he says. “You don’t want to over milk the cow.”
In terms of the upcoming last season, for which a release date has yet to be revealed, McLaughlin gave three words to describe what fans can expect: "I don't know."
He admits that he has some guesses as to what could happen in terms of the plotline, but since filming hasn't started due to the writers strike — he'll have to wait to find out what happens with the rest of the cast.
But the series delay hasn't stopped McLaughlin from staying in touch with his castmates or trying to figure out what the final season could bring.
“We reach out to each other once in a while,” McLaughlin says. “Just to check in and talk about, ‘Hey, I can’t wait to see you when we get back to Atlanta and start filming again. Oh man. Have you guys been watching the last season? Did you guys read anything? Did you hear anything yet?’”
However, McLaughlin's check ins with his co-stars aren't always a place for him to be updated on their personal lives. He tells TODAY.com that he learned about co-star Millie Bobby Brown's engagement to Jake Bongiovi the same way her fans did.
“I found out on Instagram,” he said.
With fans feeling like they've grown up with the six young stars since the series launched in 2016, McLaughlin says he often encounters comments on how quickly they're aging.
Now that the 21-year-old has developed facial hair, McLaughlin says he's received comments from people who are shocked that he has a beard, to which he jokingly counters with “‘Well, Millie’s getting married.”
Aside from his popular Netflix series that set his stardom ablaze, McLaughlin is now gearing up for his latest role in the LeBron James biopic, “Shooting Stars,” which hits Peacock June 2.
The film follows James' his early life growing up in Cleveland, Ohio with his best friends, called the "Fab 5." As an avid basketball fan, McLaughlin gets to live a personal dream by playing Dru Joyce III, one of James' closest comrades and high school teammates.
In preparation for the role, the actor says he and Joyce III spoke on the phone for about two hours so that he could get a better understanding of his upbringing, his friends and who he’s become as a person. McLaughlin says he also learned how the basketball star overcame being one of the shortest players on the team during his freshman year at the height of 5'2.
“The level of confidence that Dru had in the film or even him as himself, the adversity he had to face in basketball with his height, and people putting him down and telling he can’t do this because he’s too small and him proving them wrong,” McLaughlin says. “I had to bring that level of energy and confidence that he had.”
McLaughlin tells TODAY.com that he hopes people walk away from the film with a newfound confidence in themselves and an appreciation for the people who show support.
“This film is more than a game,” he says. “It’s about community and that is about having the right foundation and staying focused and being confident and not allowing people to tell you you can’t do it.”