It just wouldn’t be Goosebumps without a cameo from the writer who started it all — R.L. Stine.
During the penultimate episode of season 1 — which started streaming on Friday, November 10 — the main characters focus on the future after facing Harold Biddle’s (Ben Cockell) vengeful spirit.
While friends Isaiah (Zack Morris), Margot (Isa Briones), James (Miles McKenna), Isabella (Ana Yi Puig) and Lucas (Will Price) enjoy a road trip to Seattle for the weekend, their teacher Mr. Nathan Bratt (Justin Long) finds a different way to deal with what he went through. He immediately starts writing a book inspired by his experience of being possessed by Harold, who wanted him to bring Slappy the Dummy back to life.
“It’s a tale of intrigue and murder set in a small town. It’s kind of like Stephen King‘s Carrie meets Stephen King’s The Shining. But with a touch of levity,” Nathan teases to Ben (Leonard Roberts), without mentioning how much of the plot is directly based on their trauma.
Nathan gets an offer to turn the manuscript into a book series — but only if he changes the ending. His first idea is to reveal that all the characters were ghosts from the very beginning, but that isn’t very well received by his publisher. In an attempt to cure his writer’s block, Nathan goes on a drive, during which he listens to an insightful podcast.
Stine’s face is then seen on the cover of a (fictional) podcast titled “Let the Write One In,” where he offers advice to fellow authors.
“Ideas are often depicted as a light build coming on. Why? Because true creation is from darkness. You can’t create unless you allow yourself to sit in that darkness,” Stine, 80, says in the episode. “The blackness. The nothingness that we have before the big idea. The perfect twist. This darkness is where imagination was born.”
He continues: “Is it scary? Of course. It’s like I always say, ‘Every great story has a beginning, a middle and a twist.’ So, for you out there listening: What are you willing to do?”
Goosebumps, which premiered in October, follows five teenagers who must work together after accidentally releasing supernatural forces. While trying to recapture the evil spirits, the group unlocks secrets of their parents’ past.
The spooky show is the newest take on Stine’s iconic series, which has been releasing books since 1992. Goosebumps has also inspired many spinoffs, and a total of 240 books have hit bookshelves.
Before Goosebumps debuted on Disney+ and Hulu, executive producers Conor Welch and Pavun Shetty revealed Stine’s reaction to their TV adaptation.
“Getting an email from R.L. Stine after he watched the pilot saying he was thrilled with what we had done with his property was a true career highlight,” Welch exclusively told Us Weekly in October. “He was just always in the back of our mind. The bar was so high. So, even though he wasn’t in the writers room with us, his presence was certainly looming.”
Welch noted how much thought went into making the show simultaneously feel nostalgic for Goosebumps readers and intriguing for newcomers.
“We just knew that we had to elevate the material. We had to make fans of the book thrilled that we were doing what we’re doing when we’re doing it and not retreading stuff that had already been done,” he continued. “I think just [R.L. Stine’s] looming presence was enough motivation to make sure that we were reaching the heights that we hoped to.”
New episodes of Goosebumps are released every Friday on Disney+ and Hulu.