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And so, the waiting game begins.
The second season of Stranger Things arrived on Netflix on Oct. 27, presenting nine new hours for fans to quickly and easily devour. Hopefully, you followed our advice in terms of pacing out the binge. However you consumed the season, point is, we’re now all stuck in the same boat: completely at a loss as to when to expect season three and what to expect from it whenever it arrives.
With that in mind, we’re walking away from Stranger Things season two with several questions about the past, present and future of Hawkins, Indiana. Here they are, presented in no particular order:
1. When will season three begin?
The final image of the season features the Mind Flayer looming over Hawkins Middle School in the Upside Down realm. Should we expect the next season to pick up immediately where season two left off, given the apparent immediacy of the Mind Flayer threat? Not so fast. The Duffers have confirmed season three will feature another time jump similar to season two, given how quickly the young cast is growing up. Look for another year or so between seasons, both in real time and within the context of the story — but what any of that will look like is anybody’s guess, given the otherwise tidy way in which season two ended.
2. Which pieces of pop culture will have the most impact on season three?
If James Cameron’s Aliens, as well as other iconic sequels like The Empire Strikes Back and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, were the primary sources of inspiration for Stranger Things season two, what will be the primary source of inspiration for season three? Because once we know the answer, it could be very instructive in terms of what to expect from the next evolution of Stranger Things, considering just how closely season two followed Aliens from a structural standpoint.
3. Is Will finally free from the Upside Down?
It certainly looks like the artist occasionally known as Zombie Boy has lost his connection to the Mind Flayer by the end of the season. Noah Schnapp has said that he thinks there are still remnants of the Upside Down within Will, but the Duffer Brothers have suggested otherwise — that at least it’s time for a break for season two’s decisive most valuable player. That’s not to say Will the Wise can’t find his way back into the shadow dimension’s dark clutches again before long, of course…
4. Will Hopper and Dustin have new connections to the Upside Down?
David Harbour and Gaten Matarazzo’s fan-favorite characters both find themselves covered in Upside Down boogers at different points in the season, with seemingly no lasting impact… not yet, at least. We can foresee a season three scenario in which Hopper and Dustin have developed their own “now-memories,” able to tap into the Upside Down the same way Will displayed throughout season two.
5. How will Eleven’s return impact the party’s dynamics?
Millie Bobby Brown’s telekinetic hero has returned to Hawkins, and will be able to integrate into the town fully in a year — just in time for season three! Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Eleven end season two with a kiss at the Snow Ball, so one imagines their relationship will continue into season three. What kind of effect will that have on the group moving forward? Will Luke and Max be a couple, too, and will Eleven finally have some appreciation for Max?
6. What’s next for Kali?
Also known as Eight, Linnea Berthelsen’s Kali boasts the power to make you see (and not see) whatever she dreams up. It’s a powerful person to insert into the world of Stranger Things, and someone we’re certainly going to see again in the future of the show. The only question is, how does she get drawn deeper into the Upside Down of it all? And are there others like Kali and Eleven out there? And if so, what powers do they have? Fun possibilities to ponder between seasons, for sure.
7. How will season three make room for Steve?
As the former coolest kid in school, Joe Keery’s Steve enjoyed one of the most unexpectedly delightful stories of season two: teaming up with the kids following his breakup with Nancy (Natalia Dyer). Season two suggests Steve will be in college by the time season three picks up. Can the show find a natural way to bring him back into the story if he’s no longer living in Hawkins? Could he find a new portal to the Upside Down wherever he goes off to school?
8. Does Billy have Steve Harrington upside?
Played by Dacre Montgomery, Billy was an explosive force of teenage fury throughout season two, but beyond that? He didn’t serve much of a purpose. Will season three find a way to draw Billy deeper into the storyline, or will it dump the character completely? Will they find some way to redeem him moving forward, similar to how the show was able to rehabilitate Steve?
9. Will there be justice for Bob in season three?
Given his Lord of the Rings and Goonies roots, fans were excited to see what Sean Astin would bring to the table when he joined the Stranger Things cast. Turns out, it was a short run for his character, Bob Newby, killed by the demodogs right in front of his loved ones. There was justice for Barb (Shannon Purser) in season two. Will Bob get justice of his own in season three, or will he have faded away into the ether once the series returns?
10. Where in the world is Doctor Brenner?
Matthew Modine’s antagonist from season one only appeared in season two through flashbacks and visions, but it was heavily implied that the man Eleven knows as “Papa” still lurks somewhere in the Stranger Things universe. What’s more, the Duffers have insisted there are future plans for the bad doctor Brenner. So, what’s he up to? Is he somewhere inside the Upside Down, becoming more monstrous than ever? Is he somehow in league with the Mind Flayer? In fact…
11. What is the Mind Flayer’s next move?
It’s the big question on the board. There’s little doubt that this shadow in the sky is the primary mover and shaker in the Upside Down, at least as it pertains to Hawkins. Without an active entry point into our world, how will this creature’s plans shake out in the year between seasons two and three? Perhaps there’s a hint in the Duffers tease of season three: “They’ve shut the door on the Mind Flayer, but not only is it still there in the Upside Down, it’s very much aware of the kids, and particularly Eleven. It had not encountered her and her powers until that final episode. Now, it knows that she’s out there. We wanted to end on a little bit of an ominous note on that level.”
Follow THR.com/StrangerThings for continuing coverage of season two, including theories, news, interviews and much more.
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