Stranger Things 2 brought us many things: new characters both gloriously douchey and tragically lost, bigger monsters, choice grooming tips, children being possessed by interdimensional entities, justice for that one character the internet couldn’t shut up about even though that character was worthless, and, more than anything, an insatiable desire to binge more episodes.
Sadly, Netflix won’t be giving us more Stranger Things for a while, so we’ll have to make due with our other favorite pastime: incessant theorizing about the biggest unanswered questions ahead of Season 3. Duffer brothers, I hope this finds its way to you—we need answers.
Does Eleven have other Hawkins Lab “siblings?”
During a standalone episode featuring Eleven, we met another girl who had been experimented on at Hawkins Lab—her “sister” Kali, also known as Eight. The episode was a rare miss for the show, but what it did achieve was the type of world-building that could expand Stranger Things beyond Hawkins in future seasons.
By introducing Kali, who had different telekinetic powers than Eleven, the series invites the possibility of more super-powered kids with more unique gifts popping up further down the road—and oh god, this now sounds a lot like the X-Men.
How does the Shadow Monster get back to Hawkins?
The final shot of an otherwise cheery final sequence of Season 2 shows the Shadow Monster in the Upside Down looming over Hawkins. It’s safe to assume it will be the primary antagonist again next season, but it’s unclear how, exactly, it’s going to come back after Eleven shut the gate between their worlds.
Could the Shadow Monster possess another person in Hawkins, and if so, how? We don’t know the whereabouts of Season 1’s villain, Dr. Brenner, but he knows a lot about the Upside Down and seems generically evil enough to reopen that portal. Another theory that’s made its way online is that our mullet-rocking menace, Billy, could be the next person under its control. The reason: His stepsister Max injected him with a syringe to knock him out in the season finale, and it might be the same one that was used on a possessed Will Byers.
Might Billy have some Shadow Monster in him? Actually, while we’re on the subject...
What is up with Billy?
Billy (Dacre Montgomery, who earned this role) burst onto the scene, shaking up the Stranger Things status quo with a Camaro and possibly the greatest mullet put to film. It took one basketball scrimmage for him to assert his dominance over Steve Harrington. Eight episodes later, he had Mike and Nancy’s mom eating (cookies) out of the palm of his hand while her husband slept just feet away.
Is it even legal to expose that much midriff?
However, not all of Billy’s antics were inherently goofy. He terrorized his stepsister Max, as well as Lucas for harboring feelings for her—which may have been racially motivated. He nearly ran over a group of children. We also got a pretty grim glimpse of his family life in a scene featuring his abusive father. He capped Season 2 off by nearly beating Steve to death—the only reason he didn’t was because Max stabbed him with the syringe. The last we saw of him, he had stopped being a bully, but he was quietly stewing rather than seeking forgiveness.
Billy could be up to a lot next season. Will he continue to be a secondary antagonist? Will we learn more about his complicated relationship with Max? Is there more to glean from his disturbing relationship with his father? Could he pull a Steve and become an unexpected hero? And then there’s the fan theory that he could be possessed by the Shadow Monster. We don’t have answers to any of these questions, but we can safely assume that Billy will play an integral role in the coming episodes.
Will Season 3 give us #JusticeForBob?
I was not on the Barb bandwagon last year, but seemingly most of America was demanding that this character—who didn’t service the plot beyond dying—get retribution. The #JusticeForBarb movement was so strong, it not only garnered Shannon Purser an Emmy nomination, but it also made the Duffer brothers force a joyless retcon into the beginning of Season 2.
Hopefully the brothers are willing to do the same in Season 3, because Bob deserved better. He not only saved most of the main characters through sheer bravery and brain teasers, he was an overall great dude. Bob was given a small memorial in the Season 2 finale, as Mike lauded him for creating the Hawkins Middle A/V Club, but there ought to be more. When will he be given a posthumous medal of honor? When will they build a statue in front of the Radio Shack?
Does Dustin’s mom like her new Siamese cat?
The second most tragic death of Season 2 was that of Mews, the orange tabby of Dustin’s mom, which was eaten by Dustin’s growing “demodog” Dart (who clearly couldn’t sustain itself on Three Musketeers bars). Mews was unfairly massacred, and the Stranger Things fan base should really hold his death against Dustin—this dude brought a growing interdimensional slug thing into his house after living through Season 1 and assumed things would be fine. (In the only bit of good news, his pet turtle, Yurtle, survived the Dart days of winter.)
But in the Season 2 finale’s flash-forward, we see Dustin’s mom has a new kitten! Meet Tews:
Good news, right? Maybe not. Siamese cats are notorious for being very vocal and very demanding—the type of breed that’s a bit more to handle than your average tabby, like Mews. (True story: When I was an infant, my family had a Siamese cat that attacked everyone in the house. My parents got rid of it out of fear the cat would attack me in the crib.)
Will Tews be a good kitty or a menace? Without question, this is the most important plotline of Season 3.
Will anything happen to Dustin and Chief Hopper after the Upside Down tunnels?
Dustin and Hopper both inhaled some weird crap in the Upside Down tunnels underneath Hawkins. The substance had some hallucinatory effects on Hopper; it sort of just scared Dustin.
But what if that stuff has more long-term effects? Being exposed to something malevolent from another dimension cannot be a good thing. I mean, look what happened to Will (and the world at large) after he vomited a slug!
Somewhat related: Will Hopper dance again?
Is Steve going to college?
This is serious shit. Nancy was helping Steve with his uninspired college essay, but even then he didn’t seem too hopeful about his chances of moving onto higher education. He was even seriously considering ditching college to stay in Hawkins and work for his dad. Part of that idea was so that he could be around for Nancy’s last year of high school (and they’re no longer dating by the end of Season 2), but Steve’s romantic status doesn’t exactly change his (presumably very bad) SAT scores.
So in the immortal words from Jonathan and Will’s favorite song from the Clash: Should he stay or should he go? I would guess the former. Steve is sort of like the guy who was a Big Deal in high school before fading into obscurity in his hometown—which isn’t particularly uplifting, but Stranger Things isn’t always an uplifting show. Plus, considering how he won over our hearts as Season 2’s MVP and developed the show’s best bromance with Dustin, there’s no way Season 3 is going to leave this guy and his beautiful hair on the bench.
What movies and ’80s references will influence Season 3?
As almost every outlet will tell you: Stranger Things has a lot of ’80s references, and Season 2 was specifically inspired by action-packed sequels like Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Aliens (hence the casting of Aliens’ Paul Reiser). What will the Duffer brothers pull from in Season 3?
Assuming they leap forward another year—not just to shake things up but to account for their actors getting older—we’ll be in 1985. That means, for example, the first year of WrestleMania and the premiere of Back to the Future, both cool things. It’ll also be the third season of this series—the final piece of a trilogy—which opens the door for the Duffer brothers to reference some classic third installments from the ’80s. I wouldn’t mind seeing Chief Hopper channel some “I’m getting too old for this shit” vibes during an Upside Down–related entanglement, akin to Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade.
However, as Clayton Purdom argued for The A.V. Club, most trilogies—like Toy Story, The Dark Knight, Star Wars, and The Godfather—end with a sense of closure, which could be a problem for Stranger Things, since the Duffer brothers want to do at least four seasons. But hey, that’s something to worry about for next year—I just wanna see Dustin and Lucas dressed up as Doc Brown and Marty McFly for Halloween.
How does Hawkins Lab still have employees?
Fact: Working at Hawkins Lab is the most dangerous job in the world—I’m pretty sure every employee except Paul Reiser in a lab coat was murdered by demodogs in Season 2. Despite this, the Season 2 finale flash-forward implied that it was business as usual at the lab. To which I ask: Who the hell is choosing to work there?
No doubt the government keeps these things under wraps, but wouldn’t one of the workers think: “Whatever happened to Greg from accounting in Hawkins, and also everyone else?” The government’s lucky the internet doesn’t exist yet; imagine the Glassdoor reviews for Hawkins Lab. (Pros: two weeks’ paid vacation, gym reimbursement, 401K. Cons: I watched all of my friends get eaten by slime dogs last week.) Maybe the employees get exceptional benefits and a good starting salary at Hawkins Lab.
Maybe in Season 3, the Duffer brothers will present us with a viable reason as to why, and how, the lab stays fully staffed.