Stranger Things Season 3: Theories on Release Date, Cast, Plot

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Warning: This post contains spoilers for Stranger Things.

Fans were so quick to tear through Stranger Things season 2 that they were already clamoring for season 3 before Halloween 2017 was over. The most recent nine-part installment answered more questions than season 1 did, but it still ended on a mysterious note.

Is Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) still out there plotting against Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown)? Will the Shadow Monster be able to get back to our world? And then there’s the relationships. With superhero Bob (Sean Astin) out of the picture, will Hopper (David Harbour) and Joyce (Winona Ryder) finally hook up? We won’t know until next season, but there’s still plenty to theorize about in the meantime.

Here’s everything we know so far about the show’s third coming, from the Stranger Things season 3 release date to the actual story.

Will there be a Stranger Things season 3?

Yes. Co-creators Matt and Ross Duffer, along with producer-director Shawn Levy have promised four confirmed seasons in total, possibly even five. That means we’ll likely see the kids grow up as they continue to fight evil — and of course, deal with high school stress too.

Stranger Things Courtesy Netflix 

When is Stranger Things season 3 coming out?

Netflix hasn’t announced an official Stranger Things season 3 release date yet, but Halloween would be a fitting target — just like it was for season 2. Judging by the space between seasons 1 and 2, fans may expect to make a return trip to the Upside Down for the third season in late 2018. But if the deli meat bait-paved road ahead is longer, it may not come out until early 2019.

Which Stranger Things season 2 cast members are coming back?

Certainly not Barb (Shannon Purser). Or Bob for that matter. But the cast hasn’t officially been announced yet. As the first season of the show took off, so did its rising stars. After starring in September’s It as Richie Tozier, Finn Wolfhard will return for that film’s sequel. David Harbour will become Hellboy in the upcoming reboot and Millie Bobby Brown will play Madison Russell in Godzilla King of Monsters. On the bright side, it looks like the kids have bonded offscreen. Hopefully that bodes well for getting the key cast members together to keep the show on track.

2Stranger Things Courtesy Netflix 

When will Stranger Things season 3 take place?

The story will likely take place another year ahead. Season 2 started in October 1984, nearly a full year since the traumatic events of season 1, which took place in November 1983. The show’s creators have assured fans that season 3 will be no exception. Matt Duffer confirmed that another “time jump” will happen in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, citing the need to adapt the story as the actual child actors grow up.

If the story leaps another full year ahead for season 3, the core group of the kids will be in ninth grade. We can’t wait to check in on Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) spreading his social wings in high school.

2Stranger Things Courtesy Netflix 

Where will Stranger Things season 3 take place?

The opener and the seventh episode took fans to Chicago, a artistic decision that led to mixed reviews. But don’t expect the show to will limit itself to good old Hawkins in season 3 either. If the Duffers are committed to what they told Vulture, the kids will have to get out of Hawkins.

2Stranger Things Tina Rowden/Netflix 

What will Stranger Things season 3 be about?

What villainous entity will the heroes of Hawkins face off against? The finale’s closing moments — in which we see the monster encroaching on Hawkins Middle School in the Upside Down while everyone’s having a blast at the Snow Ball — confirmed that the Shadow Monster a.k.a. mind flayer was eager to get into that school.

Executive producer Dan Cohen told TV Guide the finale sets up the story for season 3.

“We talked about different ways that the season could end. There were other ways we could have ended beyond that, but I think that was a very strong, lyrical ending, and it really lets us decide to focus where we ultimately are going to want to go as we dive into season three.”

While Eleven may have closed the gate, Ross Duffer also confirmed that the monster’s still a threat, and even worse, it knows about her. He told The Hollywood Reporter:

“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.” That still leaves plenty of possibilities for season three to explore.

2Stranger Things Courtesy Netflix 

Is Will going to help the monster return to our dimension?

In season 2, the Shadow Monster hijacked Will’s (Noah Schnapp) body, spying on people and trapping the Hawkins lab workers. That was until Nancy was able to expel the dark force out of him with a quick fire poker move. Is Will completely rid of this evil demon? It’s hard to know. And if the monster’s going to pivot to the next lucky kid, who else could it exploit?

Will the shadow monster spread?

Will was infected by a vine through the mouth in season 1. In season 2, Hopper was down there forever and got spit in the face by a disgusting abscess. Dustin suffered the same gross fate in episode eight. Does this mean that Dustin and Hopper are both marked somehow now?

It’s worth noting that Dustin forged a strong bond with Dart, a Shadow Monster soldier. So the 3 Musketeers lifer might end up acting as a medium between dimensions.

Finally, we know that Eleven, Kali and Dr. Brenner — if he’s still around — could all potentially open up the gate back up and start some chaos in season 3. It’s (almost) anyone’s game.

2Stranger Things Courtesy Netflix 

Or will it turn into an antihero?

Yes, the smoke monster will not let go of Hawkins, but it’s not much better down in regular land either. Dr. Owens (Paul Reiser) really worked that charm in season 2, but Joyce didn’t trust the new and improved lab staff. So why should we? Another wild card is Hopper. The Chief earned all the points not only as hero in a crisis, but as a repentant father figure for Eleven. But the antihero has hidden depths, even from himself.

And then there’s Kali ,who will stop at nothing to get revenge on all of Dr. Brenner’s “bad men.” Will she — and quite possibly the other gifted children — be a strong ally for her old labmate Eleven? Or will she manipulate her instead? It seems likely that all the Hawkins Lab kids will join up to combine superpowers to ultimately turn the tables on their Hawkins Lab oppressors, but that might be the final endgame of the whole show.

Will Dr. Brenner show up in Stranger Things season 3?

Will Eleven and Kali (Linnea Berthelsen) team up in search of Dr. Brenner, who is possibly still alive? The Duffers left the question open so he’s probably still out there. Either way, see you in our nightmare flashbacks, guy.

Will Steve stick around for season 3?

Humanity’s most promising up and comer Steve (Joe Keery) became a key player in season 2, taking on Jonathan’s nail-studded bat and the role as the protector of kids, especially Dustin. But thanks to a huge push from Murray (Brett Gelman), Nancy (Natalia Dyer) chooses Jonathan (Charlie Heaton). Will the fan favorite King Steve stick around? By season 3, he should be in college or working full-time for his rich dad. After all, Nancy may not be on hand to help with his embarrassing college application essay now.

2Stranger Things Courtesy Netflix 

How will Eleven adjust to her life as a regular person?

Dr. Owens promises Hopper that Eleven can start her new, more independent life in a year. If we return to the show when she’s allowed to be herself in broad daylight, how will she evolve? Will she really adjust to Hawkins High? Will the monster or Dr. Brenner let her be a normal kid? Wherever she is, no mouth breather is safe.

2Stranger Things Courtesy Netflix 

Will Joyce and Hopper get together in season 3?

Even while Bob was alive and kicking, these two shared suggestive glances, and they’ve been through a lot together. In the aftermath of season 2’s mayhem, Hopper comforts Joyce (Winona Ryder) as the pair share a cigarette for old time’s sake outside the Snow Ball.

It looks like Hopper’s gearing up to make his move. After all, it will only have been a year after Bob dropped dead, so why wait? These people are ready.

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