Ready for the most intense of Friday feelings? Deadline confirmed that Netflix has renewed Stranger Things for a third season. Which feels so soon, right? After all, Stranger Things Season 2 was released a little over a month ago on Oct. 27. All of this might be causing you to wonder something optimistic: namely, whether Stranger Things Season 3 will premiere in 2018. Though the premiere date has yet to be announced, unfortunately, this seems unlikely to be the case.
But let's rewind a little. For starters, the fact that it's been renewed, while delightful, isn't a huge surprise. Both Season 1 and Season 2 of Stranger Things boast a 94 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and the internet response to the second season was borderline euphoric with the Hopper dancing meme dropping within two days of the series' release (possibly even sooner — this was when actor David Harbour, who plays the character, tweeted about it). So is Netflix under pressure to deliver the goods as fast as possible?
Even if they were, Vanity Fair has implied the Duffer Brothers may not be able to deliver the series within a year, which, while sad, seems a realistic take on the premiere date, given the potential challenges posed by assembling the (now more famous) cast and developing the story further.
According to Vanity Fair, after Season 1 dropped, it took the Duffer Brothers 15 months to write, shoot, edit, and add in special effects for the second installment. As the magazine also points out, many of the cast members are far better known now than they were a year ago — according to IMDb, Finn Wolfhard is starring in Dog Days alongside Nina Dobrev and Vanessa Hudgens in 2018, and he's already booked to do voice work on TV series Carmen Sandiego in 2019. Also according to IMDb, while Millie Bobby Brown has wrapped up filming for Godzilla: King of the Monsters, it signals how her star is rising and suggests Stranger Things may have more competition for her time next year.
It's a similar deal for Noah Schnapp (Will), who IMDb reports already has two projects in post-production (We Only Know So Much, Abe) and one in pre-production (Intensive Care) lined up. Even your crush Joe Keery (Steve Harrington) has been busy. While IMDb reports that both of his projects — Shotgun and Slice — are in post production, presumably he would have to do his fair share of promotional work. As things stand, it's going to be tricky to wangle such a large cast into being in one place at once long enough to film for. Presumably this will be the most challenging aspect of putting the show together speedily enough for a 2018 drop.
Or is it? In a Duffer Brothers interview with Vulture, Ross Duffer said of the series' future trajectory, "We’re thinking it will be a four-season thing and then out." If this is the case, then writing the third installment may be equally challenging, since it will involve sketching out a storyline that organically stretches across two more seasons, while still maintaining the pace that the audience is used to.
So if we have to wait until 2019, what do we have to look forward to? According to an interview with Yahoo, one thing is definite: "There will definitely be more Erica in season 3," Ross said. For those with goldfish-like memory, that's Lucas' mean-funny sister, played by Priah Ferguson. The brothers even confided that her role would be expanded in the third season, so at least there's some sunshine in the gloomy likelihood that we might not get Season 3 until the year after next.
Still, true fans won't be mad. If the extra months are used to ensure that all of the original cast are still there, plus Ferguson gets a bigger role and that the storyline is as compelling as ever? Well, that's time well spent.