9:30am PT by Josh Wigler
'Stranger Things': 7 Threats for Season 3
[Warning: This story contains full spoilers for season two of Netflix's Stranger Things.]
The final shot of Stranger Things season two makes one thing terrifyingly clear: the Mind Flayer is still out there, and it hasn't lost interest in Hawkins.
The Upside Down's big bad (such as we understand the hierarchy right now) will certainly terrorize the small Indiana town once more in season three. It's equally certain that the Mind Flayer won't be alone. Given the escalation in threat between seasons one and two, in which a single monster paved the way for an army of similarly frightening creatures, it's virtually guaranteed that season three will continue the trend by introducing some terrible new nightmares into the mix — or even old nightmares given a fresh coat of petrifying paint.
Here are seven possibilities for the new threats facing Stranger Things in season three:
1. Return of the Doctor
Martin Brenner, played with magnetic menace by Matthew Modine (and not just because his shock-white hair gives off serious Magneto vibes), is all but certain to return in season three. The Duffers have confirmed Brenner still exists within their universe, that they wouldn't give the character an off-camera death a la his final appearance in season one, which means his comeback is an inevitability — it's only a matter of when, and we're betting on the next season.
2. The Hateful Eight
When they parted ways, Eleven's "sister" Eight (Linnea Berthelsen) was moved to tears, reeling from the news that her long-lost sibling would be leaving once again. According to Berthelsen, the actress believes Kali is moving away from her inner darkness...but what if her encounter with Eleven only acts as a means of fortifying her hatred toward Hawkins Lab? What if the next time we see Kali, those tears of sorrow have turned into tears of rage toward Jane?
3. The Lost Others
Even if Eight doesn't bring the hate, what are the odds that others who gained superpowers of sorts in the Hawkins experiments will step forward into the light? And what are the odds that at least one of these survivors might have some harsh feelings toward Eleven and the people she loves? Some sort of powered-up conflict feels like a foregone conclusion at some point down the road in Stranger Things, and it's very possible season two's "Lost Sister" episode was setting up such a conflict for season three.
4. Eleven Sins
Through two seasons of Stranger Things, the people have Hawkins have been very lucky to have Eleven on their side. But what if she switches teams? The Mind Flayer is fully aware of Eleven at this point, and it would behoove this force of darkness to wrap its ethereal tendrils around the most powerful person on its radar. Dark Eleven might become more than a fashion style at some point down the line...
5. Into the Darkness
Whether or not it targets Eleven as an avatar, the Mind Flayer has demonstrated its ability to inhabit human hosts. Even though Will (Noah Schnapp) is free from its grasp, there are others in Hawkins who could host the Mind Flayer. Dacre Montgomery's Billy is one chilling possibility, as are Hopper (David Harbour) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), both of whom were exposed to particles from the Upside Down during season two. Scariest prospect of all: Erica Sinclair (Priah Ferguson), who frankly doesn't need the Mind Flayer's help to sass the denizens of Hawkins into oblivion.
6. The Many Minds of Evil
The Duffer Brothers are masterful at slowly pulling back the curtain. Season one featured a single Demogorgon. Season two featured an army of them. It also introduced a new monster in the form of the aforementioned Mind Flayer. Could season three pull the curtain back even further and reveal that there's more than one Flayer? What if the final image of the Mind Flayer towering over Hawkins is just one of many similar monsters positioned all across the world? That would be one way to raise the stakes.
7. An Unknown Enemy
Heading into season two, the words "Mind Flayer" weren't even on the board, except for those with an established love for all things Dungeons and Dragons. Season three very likely will introduce another form of unforeseen threat, some villainous entity that will arrive with little to no warning. We're here for it — as long as it has better hair than Billy Hargrove.
Follow THR.com/StrangerThings for theories, deep dives and interviews about season two.