The time for strangeness is almost upon us again!
On October 27, the citizens of Hawkins will be dealing with alternate realities, adolescent mischief, and a whole lot of Stranger Things.
With interest at a fever pitch and speculation coming from all directions based on a handful of posters, episode titles, and an incredible trailer, there is enough information to cobble together a list of possible season two elements to get excited over.
Here are ten things we’re looking forward to.
10) Bigger Set Pieces
Though no one complained about the quality of the first season, creators the Duffer Brothers discussed how the tight budget of the first season made them change planned elements and rethink ideas. It turned out great, but fans wouldn’t complain if the show had a little more money this time around. Though Netflix is tight-lipped with specifics, rumor has it they spent much more on season two, which means we should be seeing even more spectacular set pieces than the levitating van and the Demogorgon fight scene.
9) Extra Doses of Steve Harrington and Will Byers
Barb may be the supporting character with the largest and most organic online support, but she will unfortunately not be returning for season two. However, there are two characters who we’ll be seeing more of this season. Actors Joe Keery and Noah Schnapp have been promoted to series regulars for season two, which means Steve Harrington (long-lost father of Jean-Ralphio from Parks & Recreation) and Will Byers (who spent most of season one cold and terrified in the Upside Down) will be featured more prominently in this season. That makes sense for Will, given his connection to the Upside Down, but what’s in store for Nancy’s super-cool boyfriend Steve?
8) The Ultimate Fate Of Dr. Brenner
Matthew Modine’s shady doctor made an indelible impression on viewers, both channeling Peter Coyote from E.T. and creating a complex villain whose emotional connection to Eleven made him manipulative and dangerous. There’s no way a character that interesting and despised had his death take place OFF SCREEN. The Duffer Brothers have confirmed as much, hinting that if that were the end of Dr. Brenner in the series, they would be disappointed, too. So expect a return in some capacity.
7) Dustin Has a Pet Monster?!
In its first season, Stranger Things lovingly paid homage to many 1980s films with its various plot elements, from Poltergeist to E.T. This season, the homages continue, with a specific reference to Gremlins. Hinted at in the trailer when the group stands around the makeshift Ghostbusters ghost trap, actor Gaten Matarazzo has already confirmed that his character will have a “little creature I get to bond with,” according to Matarazzo in Entertainment Weekly. Adorable, mysterious creature; Mogwai, anyone?
6) Meeting More Residents Of The Upside Down
Though the Upside Down was a creepy alternate existence, the thing that made it truly scary was the Demogorgon. Crossing realities to grab victims and take them back to feed on, the Demogorgon was surprisingly lonely in its work. Where were all the other residents of the Upside Down? Was there really an entire alternate dimension occupied by only one creature (other than the humans it kidnapped)? From the look of the trailer, Eleven makes her way back from the Upside Down, but she doesn’t come back alone. So who is the new resident, and why didn’t we see it before now?
5) Meeting More Residents of the Rightside Up
It’s not just the Upside Down getting bigger this year. The town of Hawkins is welcoming some new faces as well. Aside from some iconic faces of the 1980s that are joining the cast, two young actors are joining as well. Dacre Montgomery is Billy, who sounds like a bully right out of a Stephen King story. Sadie Sink will play Max, a character shrouded in mystery regarding how she fits into the story. What do we know about her? According to Sink at the Stranger Things Comic-Con panel: “She moves from California.” Don’t everyone shout your fan theories at once.
4) More Revelations About The Mysterious Illness That Took Hopper’s Daughter
Initially played as character motivation for the hard-drinking Sheriff Hopper, the ultimate revelation of his daughter’s tragic death was a moving backstory that helped viewers fully understand Hopper’s trajectory. But was it more than that, too? The sudden onset of the disease and the strange behavior of his daughter during her illness point to something strange afoot. And, as Will, Barb, and Eleven know, the tragedy of a missing child is just the beginning of scratching the surface…
3) 1980s Nostalgia Galore
In a mere eight episodes, the first season of Stranger Things made both subtle and direct reference to dozens of beloved 1980s properties, from the John Carpenter-style synth score to Nancy booby-trapping the Demogorgon like her namesake in A Nightmare on Elm Street. And from the casting and trailer alone, it looks like the show is ready to outdo itself. The trailer shows us homemade Ghostbusters costumes, a video arcade with Dragon’s Lair, and it is accompanied by the wonderfully iconic Michael Jackson song “Thriller.” On top of that, the season 2 cast includes The Goonies’ Sean Astin and Aliens’ Paul Reiser. What’s more 80s than that?
2) Body Horror
The influence of the 1980s is all over Stranger Things, with the exception of one major name of the time: David Cronenberg. His body horror work, from Videodrome to The Fly to Dead Ringers, made him a household name in horror. Stranger Things had a few teases of body horror, with the view of Barb’s fate, the Scanners-style power of Eleven, and the final moments of Will coughing something up in the bathroom sink. It seems, however, like those two elements might be adding up something. If the creature crawling out of dead Barb’s mouth is the same one that Will coughed up, then season two might have a “gestation” element to it similar to Cronenberg’s Shivers, 1982’s Xtro, 1987’s The Hidden, and the life cycle of the alien in Aliens.
1) A BUNCH More Questions
Sure, this season will probably answer (or at least start to answer) many of the questions left open from the previous season. However, the series is immensely popular (though Netflix doesn’t give out numbers, it is likely one of their most-watched series), and the Duffer Brothers have said they’d like to do a three or four season run before its definitive end. With at least sixteen to eighteen more episodes after this season, there’s no way Matt and Ross Duffer haven’t started mapping out story arcs for later seasons and planting tantalizing mysteries to keep their rabid fans theorizing all across the internet.
Stranger Things Season 2 arrives on Netflix on Friday, October 27th.