It seems unthinkable that Stranger Things 2 is already in the works, given that its band of child actors have spent every waking moment being adorable around the world on a full-time basis since the first series aired.
And yet the first trailer for Stranger Things 2 appeared during last night’s Super Bowl. Now that we’ve all watched it, let’s see what we can expect when it returns in time for Halloween.
The trailer begins with a 30-year-old commercial for Eggo waffles. This can either be read as a callback to the final scene of the first series, where Jim Hopper left some waffles in a box in the woods for Eleven to eat, or as another piece of the 1980s infatuation that came to define the first series. In truth it’s probably both, but that doesn’t mean the Duffer Brothers aren’t so nostalgic that the new series won’t contain a scene where Dustin uses a Teddy Ruxpin to fight an Umber Hulk at a roller disco while dancing to We Built This City on Rock and Roll.
Another key feature of Stranger Things is its love affair with cinematic references, which continues apace here. Yes, there are kids on bikes like in ET. But there’s also a giant monster like in Super 8, which means the Duffer Brothers have moved on from referencing Amblin movies and are now also referencing movies that reference Amblin movies. There’s also the shot of the kids wearing Ghostbuster outfits, which – and I realise this might be a stretch – may very well be a reference to the film Ghostbusters.
Of course, all the references and nostalgia were a sideshow for what people truly loved about Stranger Things – its ability to deliver movie-grade scares on a streaming budget. Luckily, this is still in place. Eleven, wherever she is, looks terrified. Hopper’s getting blasted by shards of glass. There appears to be a burial in the woods. There is overt surveillance, and sinister figures in hazmat suits, and a colossal new monster. The trailer also suggests that we’ll be spending a lot more time in the Upside Down, which can only be a good thing. This is all great news.
No Winona Ryder!
We saw a lot of familiar faces in the trailer – the kids, Eleven, Hopper – but many were notable by their absence. Barb, presumably, is busy being the subject of endless ironic Halloween costumes. That Jean-Ralphio kid has likely been swallowed whole by his own hair by now. And where’s Winona Ryder? Her performance in the first series – screaming, hysterical, adorned in fairy lights – was nothing short of iconic. Surely she’s going to return to Stranger Things this time around, but why isn’t she in the trailer? Perhaps she’s been too busy to have filmed her scenes yet. After all, standing next to people and appearing to be astonished by the very nature of the universe itself must take up a lot of time.