The only thing that might send our brains spinning faster than Season 1 of Stranger Things is what might unfold in Season 2 of Stranger Things. Our obsession with the Upside Down runs deep: We've already pored over conspiracy theory history looking for answers, rewatched Parks & Rec to vet a cockamamie connection, and called the actress who plays Barb just to spend one more second with the gone-too-soon best friend. And now, with info on Season 2 finally trickling in, we have more to wrestle with.
Here's everything we know so far about Stranger Things Season 2, a compendium we'll be updating until Netflix gives us more episodes of its insanely popular sci-fi series.
Season 2 will arrive in 2017
Shooting on the Stranger Things follow-up began in October in Atlanta and is expected to wrap in April. The deadline for delivery is unknown, but the schedule ensures new episodes could drop in time to save your summer.
There will be nine episodes (and we know what they're called)
The trailer also teased a cryptic outline for what's to come. We can only guess what the titles mean, but they were laid out as follows:
"The Boy Who Came Back to Life"
"The Pumpkin Patch"
"The Secret Cabin"
"The Lost Brother"
The action will jump ahead a year
Besides being total Stranger Things title-sequence catnip, the first trailer for Season 2 confirmed that the action will take place in the fall of 1984. How this might impact the series is unclear, but here are a few things that happened in real life: President Ronald Reagan squared off against Walter Mondale in the election; the Space Shuttle Discovery made its maiden voyage; NASA purposely crashed a Boeing 720; and Louisiana mounted the World Exposition, a.k.a. the 1984 World's Fair. Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins, Red Dawn, Sixteen Candles, and Splash all hit theaters around that time. Stranger Things Season 2 could draw from any of them.
The next installment will play out like a movie sequel
When did following up on your hit series' debut with a second season become a bad thing? Is the scariest prospect of another batch of Stranger Things episodes a sophomore slump? Ask Mr. Robot, but whatever the case, the Duffers and their collaborators insist that we shouldn't use TV terminology when discussing the show, even if the next chapter will pick up threads Season 1 left untied. "We are definitely digging into the questions left hanging at the end of Episode 8," producer Shawn Levy said of Stranger Things... 2. "There were some troubling loose ends. Why did Hopper get in that car? What was that thing that Will coughed up in the bathroom?"
The core cast of kids will return
"There's still more story here [in the 1980s], there's still things that are unresolved," Ross Duffer told EW, addressing whether Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Joyce (Winona Ryder), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and the rest of the Stranger Things gang would return.
Eleven is back, too
"We don't know about Eleven," Ross Duffer admitted in the same EW interview. "We leave that up in the air." YEAH, OK, BRO. When cameras rolled on Season 2 late last year, Millie Bobby Brown took to Instagram to clear up her casting status. But Ross Duffer is right about one thing: We "don't know" about Eleven -- she'll be back, but how she'll be back is anyone's guess.
Season 2 will introduce three new young characters
Casting notices leaked three fresh faces set to join the main ensemble. Here's how The Hollywood Reporter described them:
Max is "a tough and confident 13-year-old female whose appearance, behavior and pursuits are more typical of boys than of girls in the era. She has a complicated history and a difficult relationship with her stepbrother, Billy, that's made her protective of her past and generally suspicious of those around her. She's also good on a skateboard, which she uses to get around pretty much everywhere." Sadie Sink, whose credits include TV's American Odyssey and the boxing movie The Bleeder, will play Max.
Billy is "a super muscular, overconfident 17-year-old. He's so captivating and edgy that there are rumors flying around that he killed someone at a school he attended in the past. Billy steals people's girlfriends, is a drinking-game pro, and drives a black Camaro. But his violent and unpredictable nature shows itself to those closest to him, especially to ones who are younger than he is." Dacre Montgomery, who stars in this summer's Power Rangers, plays Billy (a naming choice destined to confuse Rangers fans).
Roman is a "male or a female of any ethnicity between the ages of 30 and 38. After growing up homeless with a drug-addicted mother, he or she suffered a great loss at an early age and has been seeking revenge ever since. Roman is ultimately an outsider who doesn't understand how to connect with people." Linnea Berthelsen, a Danish actress who makes her television debut, will play Roman, who sounds like she could be One, Two, Three, etc.
Two cast members will earn a promotion
Joe Keery, who played hunky Steve Harrington, a.k.a. Jean-Ralphio's secret father, and Noah Schnapp, locked in the Upside Down as Will Byers for most of Season 1, both graduate to "series regular" status in Season 2. That means more love triangle mishegoss between Steve, Nancy, and Jonathan, and that the slug slipping out of Will's mouth in the first season's final scene wasn't a 24-hour bug.
Two '80s veterans join the cast
Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings) will play "Bob Newby," a grown-up nerd who went to school with Joyce and now runs the local RadioShack, which sounds like something that probably happened to his Goonies character Mikey. Paul Reiser (Mad About You) will co-star as "Dr. Owens," a Department of Energy goon assigned to clean up Hawkins after the cross-dimensional disaster of the first season.
Don't expect any justice for Barb
Will Season 1's abruptly terminated internet sensation make a comeback? "I can't see it happening," Matt Duffer told IGN. "But Barb will not be forgotten. We'll make sure there's some justice for Barb. People get very frustrated, understandably, that the town doesn't seem to be really dealing with Barb. That stuff is all happening. We're just not spending any screen time on it." Fair -- but we still think there's a 17% chance of "Demogorgon Barb" being the Season 2 villain. Actress Shannon Purser is optimistic, too. As she told Thrillist in August, "I'm sure that the Duffers are gonna bring [her disappearance] back in Season 2."
There will be new haircuts
The most random Stranger Things Season 2 update: The jump ahead in time means a whole new set of looks for the characters. At least the fashionable ones. "Last year was '83 and this year is '84, and they're still in Hawkins, Indiana -- but people are starting to realize there are perms and mullets," lead hairstylist Sarah Hindsgaul told Refinery29. Unlike Millie Bobby Brown, the rest of the cast is trepidatious when it comes to their looks. "We're using a lot of wigs this year, because no one wants perms and mullets." Hindsgaul promises Nancy with "a big hair turn," but leaves a Demogorgon Flock of Seagulls makeover off the table.
The show will seek inspiration from other '80s movies
The Duffer brothers do not keep their reference-hunger a secret. Stranger Things Season 1 owed everything to the masters of the past, and Season 2 will offer more of the same. "I know movie sequels get a lot of sh*t, but the ones we look up to aspire to pivot and do something different," Matt admitted to EW. "There's Temple of Doom, Aliens, Terminator 2. I guess a lot of this is James Cameron. But he's brilliant. And I think one of the reasons his sequels are as successful as they are is he makes them feel very different without losing what we loved about the original. So I think we kinda looked to him and what he does and tried to capture a little bit of the magic of his work."
Stranger Things Season 1 shared DNA with the monsters-in-the-shadows horror of Alien. Will Season 2 lift from Aliens and be a gun-toting rampage through the Upside Down? We'll find out in 2017.
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