Stranger Things: what can we expect from season three?

Netflix has confirmed that their blockbuster show will return for a third season, teasing more monsters, high school drama and even stranger things …

If Stranger Things had ended after its second season we might almost have forgiven the powers-that-be at Netflix. For after all the horrors of the last nine episodes, as the malignant entities of the Upside Down once again invaded the small town of Hawkins, Indiana, that perfect series finale left us with a welcome sense of festive joy and hopefulness for the future of our lovable teenage gang of amateur supernatural investigators.

Not for long, though. For Netflix last week announced that the Duffer brothers’ Emmy-winning paean to 1980s Stephen King will be back for another year at least. So what should we be expecting from season three?

More brother and sister reunions for Eleven

Stranger Things

If Milly Bobbie Brown’s Eleven was logically named, there ought to be at least another nine children out there who were experimented upon as part of the nefarious Dr Martin Brenner’s evil MKUltra program, and they might all have different powers. Season two introduced us to Linnea Berthelsen’s Kali, AKA Eight, who is able to manipulate other people’s perceptions, and we already know that Eleven has remarkable telekinetic and psychokinetic abilities. She can eavesdrop on targets in other parts of the world – namely Russians – and manipulate huge objects – vans, giant, multi-limbed smoke monsters – using only the power of her mind.

The question is not just what happened to the other nine MKUltra subjects, but also who they have become. It stands to reason that Matthew Modine’s Brenner might have had more success with some of his earlier victims than he did with his later subjects. Could there be a docile, evil version of Eleven out there somewhere, ready to work on the side of the doctor and his sinister cohorts?

New creatures from the Upside Down

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We now know that there are at least three types of monster who have escaped from an alternate dimension into the Upside Down version of Hawkins, and from there occasionally into the real-world version of the town itself. Season one’s Demigorgon was joined by the apparently sentient Mind Flayer and several demonic Demo-Dogs in season two. So what can we expect next?

It’s a little known fact that both the Mind Flayer and Demigorgon were named after monsters from 1980s Dungeons and Dragons. The former was described as a (presumably much-smaller) octopus-like creature that fastens itself to humanoid subjects, eats their still-living brains and takes over their remaining limbs, while the latter was a two-headed demon prince.

If the Duffer Brothers are leafing throughout the pages of old RPG looking for freaky creatures to riff off, we can perhaps expect to meet monsters like the Flail Snail (sporting spiked balls on its eye stalks, but … you know … still pretty slow and easy to run away from), or the dreaded “Atropal” (ahem … the stillborn foetus of a god) in season three. Or maybe just give us some dark elves.

The return of Martin Brenner

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Absent for most of season two after being attacked by the Demigorgon at the end of season one, the mad scientist needs to return to Hawkins to help explain to us exactly what happened during his hideous experiments in the 1970s. We know he might still be alive, thanks to the information provided by former Hawkins lab worker Ray Carroll in season two.

We need to know, for a start, who Eleven’s father is and whether she’s actually related to the other MKUltra subjects. It’s possible that Brenner himself might have impregnated Eleven’s mother Terry Ives while she was trapped in Hawkins Lab – the young psychic did call him “Papa” during early episodes of season one. But it’s just as likely that Brenner is the only one out there who knows the true identity of our hero’s last remaining fully lucid parent.

Some sweet relief for poor Will already

Stranger Things

Noah Schnapps’ Will Byers may have escaped the fate of his literary forebear, King’s unfortunate little Georgie Denbrough in It, but he’s surely suffered enough from the attentions of the Upside Down’s grim denizens that it’s clearly time for someone else to take the strain. Besides, we’re fed up with seeing Winona Ryder heroically forced to find different ways to look anguished and pallid as his mom, Joyce. At the tail end of season two, it became clear that both David Harbour’s Jim Hopper and Gaten Matarazzo’s ever-ebullient Dustin Henderson have most probably been infected with material from the freakish netherworld, so perhaps it’s time for the Mind Flayer to start messing with them instead.

Billy Hargrove’s continuing adventures in heavy metal haircut hubris

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Not since Bill Paxton’s Chet in Weird Science has there been such a fabulous figure of unreconstructed alpha male jockishness as Dacre Montgomery’s Billy, the ornately mulleted, appallingly racist new kid on the block at Hawkins high school who drove all before him in season two before coming up against an even bigger jerk – his own violent bully of a father. Now that we know why Billy behaves the way he does, it would be fascinating to see if he is able to evolve from bully-boy 80s rock star wannabe into something more multilayered in season three, just as Joe Keery’s Steve Harringon eventually managed to find his way in season two after a rocky beginning on the show. And if he can’t, well, an excruciating death in the jaws of something abhorrent from the Upside Down will do just as nicely.


Ben Child

The GuardianTramp

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