When Stranger Things 2 (executive producer: Cindy Holland) came to an end, the show had left just as many questions for audiences as it did after Season 1. Spoilers! What does the Shadow Monster want? Will Eleven ever get to be a normal kid? Why did they have to do Bob dirty like that? While we'll never truly know why Stranger Things creators The Duffer Brothers had to have Bob Newby taken away from us so cruelly, everything we know about Stranger Things 3 is telling us that just because the lab is closed, the people of this town aren't any safer than they were before.
The final shot of Stranger Things Season 2 showed the Mind Flayer (a.k.a. the Shadow Monster) in the Upside Down standing over Hawkins Middle School. And according to a Variety interview with David Harbour, that's the last piece of Stranger Things that any fans will get until 2019. The actor said, "One of the things that’s annoying for fans is that it takes us a long time to do [these seasons]," but encouraged those fans by reminding them that patience will result in a better season. "Like any good thing, [The Duffer Brothers] need time," Harbour said.
While Stranger Things Season 3 won't be back for at least a year, there are enough clues about the upcoming episodes to whet the appetite of any fan who can't wait to revisit Hawkins. Here's what we know so far:
Season 3 Will Likely Be 8-9 Episodes
Stranger Things seems to have found the sweet spot for how long a season of the show should be, and is sticking to having either eight episodes like Season 1 or nine episodes like Season 2. Executive Producer Shawn Levy told Glamour, "The number of episodes will be dictated by the amount of story that excites us."
Will Is Finally Going To Catch A Break
Being Will Byers is not easy. First he's kidnapped and taken to a parallel dimension where everything is sticky, then a year later, he's infected by a giant Shadow Monster. Will has had a rough go of it, but Season 3 will finally go easy on the youngest Byers son. "We’re not going to put Will through hell for a third season in a row. He’ll be dealing with stuff, but he won’t be at rock bottom," Levy told Glamour.
They Might Not Be Dealing With The Shadow Monster
Despite the massive (literally) cliffhanger at the end of Season 2, it sounds like the Shadow Monster may not be the main focus of Season 3. Levy teased in the same Glamour interview, "We're [going to be] dealing with forces of evil that are new."
While it's hard to go bigger than the Shadow Monster, Matt Duffer indicated that the show may not in fact be going bigger in Season 3. He told Indiewire that the next set of episodes "[is not] necessarily going to be bigger in scale ... What I am really excited about is giving these characters an interesting journey to go on."
They May Be Leaving Hawkins
Stranger Things took a brief detour in Season 2 when it followed Eleven out of Hawkins for an entire episode and Shawn Levy hinted to Collider that the series could move outside the town yet again. In addition to confirming that the Hawkins Lab was closed for good, Levy said, "There’s only so much evil that can happen [in Hawkins.]" and added that Season 3 has the "feeling of the world getting a bit bigger."
Eight Will Be Back
While Season 2 episode "The Lost Sister" proved to be the most divisive episode of the series so far, the The Duffer Brothers trust that there's still more to say about Eleven's sister, Kali a.k.a. Eight, and her band of vigilantes. Comicbook.com reported that Matt Duffer told the crowd at Vulture Festival LA, "It feels weird to me that we wouldn't solve [Kali's] storyline ... I would say chances are very high she comes back."
It Could Be The Penultimate Season
Ross Duffer revealed to Vulture that they are "thinking it will be a four-season thing and then out." This hints that much of Season 3 could be setting things up for a major showdown in Season 4, after which there may be no more Stranger Things.
The Show Is Going To Have To Deal With Puberty
As much as the show might like to keep its actors the same age forever, that's simply not how humans work. So instead of ignoring puberty and adolescence, Matt Duffer told Entertainment Weekly, "Even if we didn’t want to deal with it, we have to deal with it because our real-life actors are going through it."
While working with growing young actors may be a challenge for some directors, The Duffer Brothers are looking at the opportunities that confronting puberty provides. "I think that’s exciting because it forces the show to evolve and become something different every year," Matt added.
There Will Be More Dustin And Steve
The single most important thing that fans need to know about Season 3 of Stranger Things is that the most dapper pair of gentlemen in Hawkins, IN will reunite. Steve stepped became a major role model for Dustin in Season 2, and Shawn Levy spilled to Glamour that he "[wants] to see them connect more and be more familiar with each other." He continued, "I want them to have a connection like they’ve really had a connection for a year — like they’re brothers."
Season 3 of Stranger Things is way too far away, but it's shaping up to be well worth the wait.