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Stranger Things season 3: How to watch, when, and plot rumors

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There’s bound to be an Eggos reference in Season 3. They just couldn’t leggo of that favorite food.


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Warning: Possible spoilers ahead for Stranger Things 3. 

Halloween 2018 will be a little gloomy for Stranger Things fans. In 2017, Season 2 of Netflix’s horror-sci-fi drama came out just days before the spooky holiday, making for a streaming TV treat better than any candy. But fans will have to console themselves with fun- size Snickers bars and SweeTarts this fall, as the blockbuster hit won’t be back until 2019.

The show seemingly came out of nowhere in July 2016, with a 1980s setting and rich pop-culture details. Young Will Byers disappears one night after playing D&D with his buddies in Hawkins, Indiana. The unfolding plot includes a secret government laboratory, a young girl with psychokinetic powers, a creepy Upside Down dimension filled with monsters and goo, and Christmas lights that blink an unnerving message. It boosted the sales of Eggo waffles, Eleven’s favorite snack, and created an entire movement seeking Justice for Barb, a beloved character whose fatal disappearance from a pool sent fans off the deep end.

The show’s been renewed for a third season, and co-creators Matt and Ross Duffer say a fourth and fifth season are likely. Here’s a sneak peek at what strange things await.

We’ll update this story as new information is revealed.

When? Where? What?

Season 3 is coming sometime in 2019 and will be eight episodes long, the same as the first season (but one fewer than Season 2). It’s set in the summer of 1985, jumping ahead one year from Season 2.

For the previous two seasons, Netflix posted all the new episodes at once, making the show yet another poster child for binge-watching. We expect the same all-at-once episode dump again, though we don’t have confirmation.

Production began on April 20. On April 27, Netflix released a teaser video of the cast settling down to read through what’s presumably the first script of the new season. (In true Erica form, Priah Ferguson orders the audience to “Get out of here, nerds!”) Sadly, there are no spoilers, but it’s fun to see the cast again, even if only the backs of their heads.

How to watch

Get yourself a Netflix subscription. Stranger Things is a jewel in the service’s crown of original series, and it’s the best way to ensure you get all the new episodes plus access to the first two seasons.

Not sure Netflix is worth it to you? The service offers a free monthlong trial, so if you sign up close to the new season’s premiere you can soak up the new season and both previous years, then cancel your membership without penalty.  But we’re expecting two more seasons of the show, so you might have to sign up again later on (or find a Netflix-subscribing friend who’ll invite you over).

Meet the cast

Returning cast:

Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven

Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler

Noah Schnapp as Will Byers

Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair

Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson

Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers

David Harbour as police chief Jim Hopper

Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler

Charlie Heaton as Jonathan Byers

Joe Keery as Steve Harrington

Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield

Priah Ferguson as Erica Sinclair

Cara Buono as Karen Wheeler

New faces:

Maya Hawke
Hawke, the teenage daughter of actors Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, will join the cast as Robin, Variety reports. Robin is described as “an ‘alternative girl’ bored with her mundane day job. She seeks excitement in her life and gets more than she bargained for when she uncovers a dark secret.”

Cary Elwes
Elwes, forever known to many as Westley in The Princess Bride, is coming to Hawkins, where he’ll play the town’s mayor. “Handsome, slick and sleazy, Mayor Kline is your classic ’80s politician — more concerned with his own image than with the people of the small town he governs,” Netflix says

Jake Busey
Busey, son of acclaimed actor Gary Busey, will play Bruce, described by Netflix as “a journalist for The Hawkins Post with questionable morals and a sick sense of humor.”

What we know about the plot

Love is in the air: The romantic duos of Eleven/Mike and Max/Lucas are still together in season 3, but for how long? “They’re like 13- or 14-year-old kids, so what does romance mean at that stage of life?” Executive Producer Shawn Levy said.  But in July 2018, Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike, noted that the show will be set in the summer of 1985, and called it “the summer of love.” Wolfhard wasn’t around for the first summer of love in 1967, and he wasn’t born yet for the summer of 1985. But his quote seems to hint that love and relationships will be a part of season 3, for good or for ill.

Not everyone’s romance will be all hearts and flowers, though. David Harbour, who plays police chief Jim Hopper, said that while his character will “take more risks with these new languages of intimacy and vulnerability,” unsurprisingly, he’s “going to flail and be horrible at it.” 

Father figure as martyr: Also in summer 2018, Harbour told the Tampa Bay Comic-Con audience that he knows how he’d like his character to bow out. “I would like to take a bullet for Eleven,” he said. And when fans cheered the selfless response, he replied, “Now you’re all happy about me dying!” No fears, though. I think Hopper will stick around until the show’s eventual end. Whether he lives happily ever after (with Joyce?) or heroically exchanges his life for Eleven’s, we’ll have to wait and see.

New faces: Finn Wolfhard appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in August 2018 and hinted at some new additions. “We’re in the middle of (filming the season),” Wolfhard said. “We got some new cast members, some incredible people.” But that was about all he would spill, and Fallon quickly changed the subject to joke about how he should appear on the show as a “weird uncle or something.” New characters are no surprise, and if they play major roles, as Max and Billy did in season 2, surely details will leak out soon.

More D&D: The first season started with the main boys playing Dungeons and Dragons, which certainly helped endear the show to all of us nerds out there. Expect more of the fantasy role-playing game in season 3.  As Comicbook.com pointed out, artist Jared Flaming shared on Instagram in April that he’s teaching the show’s propmaster about the game.

Dad Steve is back: Older teen character Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), who turned out to be a big brother figure for Dustin in season 2, will keep up that role. “I’ll just say we won’t be abandoning the Dad-Steve magic,” Levy told THR.

Back in time: Ghostbusters was an important theme in season 2, and Michael J. Fox’s 1985 movie Back to the Future will be a key element this season.

Sing it, sister: Lucas’ sassy younger sister Erica (Priah Ferguson) will have an expanded role this season, and deservedly so. “There will definitely be more Erica in season 3,” show co-creator Ross Duffer told Yahoo Entertainment. “‘We got to use more Erica’ — that was one of the first things we said in the writers’ room.”

Keeping up with the Byerses: Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven, did her best to start a crazy rumor about the new season. While being interviewed by E! in mid-May, Brown asked co-star Noah Schnapp (Will Byers) if he’d love to see reality-show star Kim Kardashian on Stranger Things. A confused Schnapp thought the casting was reality, and Brown led him on by claiming Kardashian was set to play a character named 10. Kardashian herself seemed to be onboard, tweeting an enthused response. (Fan opinion: NOOOOO PLEASE NOOOO!) 

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