It’s official. Stranger Things, the Netflix hit of 2016, has got the green light for a second season. The announcement was made via YouTube on Wednesday August 31, 2016.
- Exclusive NME offer: Save £10 on Amazon Music Unlimited plans with code NME10
Season one was of course, amazing, but over way too soon, so this is pretty great news. With the frenzy around Season One making Stranger Things more popular than Making a Murderer, this looks set to be one of the most hyped shows of 2017. Here’s everything we know so far.
What is Stranger Things Season 2 release date?
The show was initially slated for an October 31 release, but now NME can exclusively reveal that the show will be on Netflix on October 27.
NME Exclusive! First look at the Stranger Things 2 poster
Yes, here’s our exclusive first peek of the new poster.
What does it tell us? Well the poster appears to indicate that the currently unnamed monster is as gigantic and terrifying as first-feared. In Season One, the Demogorgon terrorised Hawkins – but on a smaller scale, attacking individuals. This one appears to be attacking the town as a whole, and things could get ugly…
Have we seen a trailer?
Yes – the the first full trailer for Stranger Things season 2 debuted in February. Watch it below.
There’s a lot going on in that trailer – so let’s break this thing down scene-by-scene.
Eleven is going to be back
We don’t see much of Eleven besides a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it close up of her face – but it confirms that she might be back in the show sooner than expected.
The kids are on their bikes, again
They couldn’t drop the bikes, could they? Dressed in their Ghostbusters outfits, we see what looks like Mike, Lucas and Dutsin cycling pretty fast once again. But from what?
Hopper could be in trouble
In another quick cut, we see beloved Sheriff Jim Hopper caught up in what looks like an explosion – which looks very similar to either the Byers’ home or his own.
The kids are embracing 1984
As reported, the new episodes are set in 1984 and the kids are seen embracing the phenomenon of the year in some some tidy little Ghostbusters outfits.
Hopper’s doing some digging
At least that what it looks like he’s doing as he’s striking something with a long wooden handle into the ground.
The clean up begins?
Hard to tell from this glimpse, but we know a new character is arriving to Hawkins to tidy the place up after the whole Demogorgon episode. Is this menacing figure a part of that team?
Sign up for the newsletter
Towards the end of the clip we see Will hooked up to several machines and getting a bit of a examination from some shady looking people. Is it because of his traumatic experience? Or maybe he’s inhabited the same powers as Eleven and someone’s keeping an eye on him…
The new monster
They said the new episodes would be “bigger and darker”, and judging by season 2’s monster – they’re telling the truth. First we get a glimpse via a sketch, and then during a lightning strike the massive spider-like becomes visible.
But is it just one of Will’s visions? Who knows. Consider us well and truly spooked.
A second full-length trailer premiered at Comic Con and shows more footage of Will’s visions. Watch it below.
Much like the first trailer, we see that Will is having trouble fitting back into his old life. We initially saw glimpses of his visions but this time around we see more of that ‘monster’, with Will unable to ‘wake up’ from whatever he’s seeing.
Sheriff Jim Hopper also mentions that “nothing’s going to go back to the way it was,” later adding that “whatever’s happening is spreading,” so things aren’t exactly looking great for our gang.
We also get more footage of new character Max (Sadie Sink) – a Hawkins newcomer who becomes friends with the gang – and some scary clips of Dustin screaming to ‘abort’ some sort of mission, with Will running away from a darkness.
Eleven also features more prominently and it seems as though she might have been trapped in the upside down. Pushing her hand through a sort of portal, it looks as though she might be back with the gang sooner than we thought.
Netflix have also released more new images from the new episodes. One appears to show the first look of new character Max (Sadie Sink) – a Hawkins newcomer who becomes friends with the gang.
The pictures also appear to show Will’s return to school, but he doesn’t look that happy to be there, does he?
We also get our first appearance of Nancy and Jonathan looking fearful in the car.
Another shot of the lads rocking the Ghostbusters outfits.
And Hopper doing some more investigating.
The initial trailer back in August last year revealed the episode titles (see below), release year, and one tiny clue that the series will be set in the fall of 1984. Plus the return of S U R V I V E’s sick synthy theme tune.
Browse Stranger Things merch in the NME Merch Store.
What are the episode titles?
In the series announcement, a rolling slideshow revealed the names of nine episodes from the upcoming series.
The Boy Who Came Back To Life
The Pumpkin Patch
The Secret Cabin
The Lost Brother
Season One was only eight episodes long, and with MadMax being the only episode without ‘the’ in the title, we can assume this will be a particularly significant episode. In series one, this was episode three, ‘Holly Jolly’. One of the new characters will be called Max, so fans believe she will be premiered in episode one. Her brother, Billy, could be the focus of the final episode.
The second episode, ‘The Boy Who Came Back To Life’, is also the headline of a newspaper clipping shown in the season one finale. So we can assume this episode will really centre on Will, who, due to his early disappearance in season one, we still don’t know too much about. Noah Schnapp – who plays Will – confirmed that the new episodes will pick up exactly where Season Two left off, Will vomiting up that slug.
‘The Pollywog’ is common parlance for ‘tadpole’ in North America. The similar sounding ‘Bullywug’ is a frog-humanoid monster in the ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ series. Anyone else getting flashbacks to Will’s slug vomit and what it might all mean?
Which of the cast are returning? Is Eleven returning?!
Yes! They’re all returning! At least, all of the kids. The Stranger Things Facebook page posted this photo from the first script reading for Season 2. It looks like the whole gang is together again. That means Eleven, Mike, Will, Lucas, Dustin, Nancy, Steve and Jonathan will all be back, alongside new characters Billy and Max, played by Dacre Montgomery and Sadie Sink.
Eleven is rumoured to be back in episode seven, ‘The Secret Cabin’. Fans believe she could be hiding there following a fight with the Demogorgon. Speaking at The Golden Globes however, Millie may have let slip that Eleven could be in several episodes of the show. “Now I am more terrified to go into Season 2 because I feel that pressure. I think that we did a really nice job with Season 1. I think we all feel like we want to step it up and make Season 2 richer and more interesting. So we got a tough road ahead.“
What’s going to happen in Season 2?
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, we got some very specific details about what the plot could entail. The show will resume on Halloween 1984, hence the Ghostbusters costumes. Will is back in Hawkins, but as expected – he’s getting visions and flashbacks from his time in The Upside Down. “He seems to be seeing images from the Upside Down—the question is whether they’re real or not,” says Matt Duffer. Meanwhile his mother Joyce Byers is now dating former high school classmate Bob (Sean Astin) while trying bring back an element of normalcy to their home.
Hopper is trying to keep as much as he can under wraps and retain some kind of order in Hawkins, “It kind of falls on Hopper to be the voice of authority to say, ‘This did happen and this didn’t happen,’” Harbour told EW. “He’s struggling with the compromise that takes him to, having to lie and cover things up.” Over at the Wheeler’s house, Nancy and Mike are struggling to come to terms with the deaths of pals Barb and Eleven.
Harbour expanded on Hopper’s role in an interview with Mogul. “He [Hopper] saved Will and has found a renewed interest in life. So his arc for season 2 in my mind becomes more about butting up against the places where his hero fantasy can’t take him. The places where that hero complex may force him to make the wrong decisions. It’s a satisfying, completely different journey in season 2.” But for all the talk of it being ‘darker’ Harbour also suggested there will be a bt of ‘magic’ in the new episodes. Speaking to Deadline, he said that “it still contains that magic I think we have in the first season, which is that sort of Amblin Entertainment-esque, Steven Spielberg kind of ‘magic of the movies’ feel to it, but it’s also very different.”
A little more light has also been shed on what role new siblings Billy and Max will have on the dynamic in Hawkins. Max looks set to become friends with the gang – Billy however “doesn’t make great friends”, setting himself up to be this year’s villain.
David Harbour (Hopper) told Hollywood Life that the mysteries could cause a bit of friction in the town; “there are certain people in the town that know what happened, and then certain people that don’t know what happened. So there’s a lot of fall out with who knows what.”
The Duffer brothers have also confirmed that the new series will feel more like a “sequel” than an anthology, and Executive Producer Dan Cohen told Yahoo! that the new season would feel “bigger and badder and darker” than the original. Charlie Heaton, who plays Jonathan Byers on the show, confirmed to ET that the second season would be “slightly darker”. He added, “The scope feels bigger this year.” He also promises that the second season will be action packed: “From episode one through four, it’s gonna be a ride.” In May, Finn Wolfhard said the show would not just be darker, but also “a lot more horror oriented.”
The location will not just stick to the fictional Hawkins, Indiana of season one. “We will venture a little bit outside of Hawkins,” admitted Matt Duffer. And on the specifics: “I will say the opening scene [of the premiere] does not take place in Hawkins.”
And they’re going to return to the Upside Down. Matt Duffer told EW that they “definitely want to explore a little bit more” of the Upside Down. Ross adds “We really don’t go in there much until they go in to find Will at the end. So we’ve opened up this doorway, and to us it’s exciting to talk about, like, what else is behind there?”
Or maybe the Upside Down will come to them? In a new interview Noah Schnapps, who plays Will, has hinted that the treat of the Demogorgon is far from over. In fact, his character could become the Demogorgon. “You’ll be seeing more of me. I’ll be there,” said Schnapp to Vanity Fair. “In the last episode, I threw up a slug, so Season 2 begins with what happens from there. There may have been some effect on him. I may or may not have turned into a monster. You’ll have to watch to find out.”
Speaking to Mashable, Levy confirmed that “Will Byers is very much at the center of Season 2. Noah steps up in the most staggering way.”
Remember S U R V I V E? The duo that crafted the spooky music for the show? Well they’re going to be back for Season 2, and they’ve confirmed our suspicious about the Upside Down playing a more prominent role. “There are new characters, fun, and the upside-down will be more of a place—you’ll spend more time,” Kyle Dixon from the band said. “So we’ll make a lot more weird music this time around.”
They will also be developing old characters further, including (maybe) the real reason why Jim Hopper’s daughter died. David Harbour, who pays Hopper, said in a Reddit AMA that this was a “secret we may explore in s2”.
And then there’s the Nancy/Jonathan/Steve issue. Natalia Dyer, who plays Nancy, believes her character will be going on an emotional rollercoaster in season two. She told Dazed, “It will be interesting to see how relationships have morphed because of what’s happened.” She added “I’m sure a lot of people would love to see how she deals with the loss of her friend, Barb. And I’d love to see some good brother-sister moments.” She also admitted that Nancy should “have more badass moments.”
Steve actor Joe Keery echoed her sentiments, telling Dazed Digital, “Now they’ve witnessed this event, they have this bond, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it affects their relationships.”
In general though, the production is staying quiet on Stranger Things season 2 plot details. Levy told Screen Rant: “Look, as much as people are dying to know what happened, I think the reason Stranger Things has become the phenomenon it has is because no one knew what was coming. I think there’s this delicious torture in not knowing.”
As mentioned above, we know its going to be “darker” than the first bunch of episodes – but if The Duffer Brothers had it their way, Eleven would have been a completely different character. Speaking to Vulture, Ross said: “The Eleven character, the kind of powers she has and to have a young protagonist that’s violent — it’s not E.T. It’s not a happy situation. She’s killing people, and brutally murdering them.” Whether we’ll get some brutal murder scenes from Eleven in the Season 2 is yet to be seen, but it’s clearly on their minds…
In an interview with The Huffington Post actor Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin) teased that season 2 will end on a cliffhanger. He said there were “some new stories coming in that you’re gonna want to hear about if there is a Season 3. Also, we got another cliffhanger in there for ya, so that’s gonna be exciting.”
Speaking exclusively to NME, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos revealed that they’ve seen episode one, and dished some info: “I have just seen the first episode of season two,” Sarandos told NME. “It’s fantastic – it delivers on everything that every fan wants.” Hastings added: “We have a sense that it’s going to be really big. The reaction and momentum in Netflix internally is building.
When will season two be set?
Due to the fact that some cast members’ voices have already dropped, the Duffers have stated that the second season will take place a year later, in 1984. Matt Duffer told IGN: “As much as I would love to have it be Christmas right after that, it’s just not feasible, so we’re going to skip a year. They’ll be a year older and all their changes they’re going through, we’ll take that into account and kind of work that into the show.”
Charlie Heaton added that the time jump will be hardly noticeable. He told ET, “You follow these characters a year later, and you’re straight back in the world of Hawkins, which we know and love so well,” he said. “I don’t think you’re gonna notice.” The two seasons should come together seamlessly: “Even though it’s a year, you’re falling straight back into where we left off, in a sense.”
This also gives them some perfect new/vintage material to pay homage to in season two: Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Aliens, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. “We’re trying, hopefully, to capture a little bit of the magic of those films,” said Duffer to IGN. “Something like Temple of Doom. I actually really love Temple of Doom.”
What will it look like?
Season two will be set in 1984, so the hairstylists on the show have promised mullets and perms. “Last year was ’83 and this year is ’84, and they’re still in Hawkins, Indiana — but people are starting to realise there are perms and mullets, so we’re using a lot of wigs this year, because no one wants perms and mullets,” lead hairstylist, Sarah Hindsgaul told Refinery29. Steve’s beautiful pompadour might be getting ready for a chop.
And Nancy’s look in particular is about to have a revamp. “Nancy has kind of a big hair turn this year, too — they decided to do something drastic… That’s all I can tell you.” However her look at The Golden Globes in February doesn’t showcase any new ‘drastic’ hair style – so maybe the revamp was overstated.
On the cover of Entertainment Weekly in February we got a sneak peak at what the kids will look like. The lads look mostly the same, but Eleven is rocking a serious mop of hair now…
Any new cast members?
In an interview with SlashFilm, Shawn Levy said: “The plan is to continue with this set of characters while introducing a few critical key new ones next season.”
One of these new characters is “Max”, who according to TVLine, is a “tough and confident” early teenage girl who rides a skateboard and whose “appearance, behaviour and pursuits seem more typical of boys than of girls in this era.” In October, it was revealed that Sadie Sink, who has starred in another Netflix show, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, will play Max. Is she the inspiration behind the episode title “MadMax”?
Also joining the cast will be her “very muscular and hyper-confident” step-brother Billy, who reportedly drives a Camaro. The role will be played by Australian born Dacre Montgomery, who stars as The Red Ranger in the upcoming Power Rangers movie. In a new interview, Montgomery revealed that he was cast to bring a bit of a wild-card edge. “We come to town and basically ruffle feathers I guess is my character’s place. The Duffers were like, ‘We want somebody like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.’ He’s wild, he’s unpredictable”
A report from the San Francisco Chronicle suggested that Nashville actor Will Chase will join the cast as Neil Mayfield, who will be the father to two new kids in town. Could he be Max and Billy’s father?
Joining the adult cast will be ’80s movie star Sean Astin (The Goonies, Lord of the Rings) as Bob Newby. The character is described as “a kindhearted former nerd who went to high school with Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Hopper (David Harbour) and now manages the local Hawkins RadioShack.” David Harbour, who plays Hopper, has revealed that Astin’s character will be Winona’s [Joyce’s] new boyfriend — much to the chagrin to the Chief of Police”. Executive producer Shaun Levy went a bit further and explained the impact the character will have on the new episodes. “Bob is new to our weird Hawkins group, but he’s immediately memorable and I think people are going to be very surprised by where that takes them this year,””
Former Aliens star Paul Reiser is to play probable baddie Dr. Owens, “a high-ranking member within the Department of Energy on a ‘clean-up’ assignment, tasked with containing the events of last year.” He elaborated on his new role to Entertainment Weekly and said that he doesn’t know at the moment whether his character is turns out to be good or bad, “to be honest, I’ve only read a few of the scripts so I still don’t know and I’m not sure they know.” He also suggested that his character will be slightly different to Dr. Modine and be slightly less “imposing”. Reiser said, “my guy is much more hands-on and sort of among his many degrees is that he has a bedside manner that Modine’s character did not have. I know coming into this what this community has gone through and my job is to try and walk them through their mistrust.”
Roman, an “emotionally damaged, magnetic young woman who suffered a great loss as a child,” will also be added to the cast. The part will be played by Danish actress Linnea Berthelsen. Netflix told EW that “Although she does not live in Hawkins, she is mysteriously connected to the supernatural events at the lab…”.
‘Fleabag’ actor Brett Gelman will play the new character Murray Bauman, “a disgraced journalist-turned-conspiracy theorist who is investigating a cold case in the small Indiana town”.
A job listing advert on Backstage also hints details for season two extras casting. The advert is for an “Untitled TV series”, but the URL clearly indicates the advert is for “stranger-things-season-2”.
The production company, Taylormade, also provided extras for Season one. They’re looking for “1980’s-Looking People” of “all ethnicities”, and they’re “especially seeking males with longer hair styles, and females willing to cut their bangs.” Are the bangs just the first step towards a full head shave, like Eleven? Cutting your fringe certainly makes it easier to wear wigs…
Don’t expect any A-listers to join the team though. Executive Producer Levy explained to Entertainment Tonight that they’re actively avoiding casting too many big names for the show. “To be honest, part of the fun of the show is we want people to discover these characters so we kind of actually resist big stunty name casting because we want people to meet the character as they are and be surprised by them.”
Are any of the fan theories correct?
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Duffer brothers stated that they have been reading our many Stranger Things fan theories for Stranger Things Season 2. Though “Most are wrong”, there are a few which are “right or very close”. They elaborated that though the season 2 episode titles are purposefully ambiguous, “Some of those people have figured stuff out based off of the chapter titles.” The obsession is real.
Has filming started?
Stranger Things Season 2 completed filming in early June, as confirmed by several of the stars Instagram accounts.
M. Night Shyamalan registering some interest in getting behind the camera for an episode. Speaking to Digital Spy, Shyamalan mentioned that he’d worked with The Duffer Brothers before on TV show Wayward Pines, and wouldn’t hesitate to work with them again, potentially on Stranger Things 2. “My boys who do Stranger Things, they did Wayward Pines for me. They were round my house and I was like, ‘Well, you can hire me back guys!’”
Is this going to be the last season?
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the show’s creators suggested that they’re aiming to have the show done in “four to five” seasons. “Everything changes as we move forward so we’ll see,” said Ross Duffer. Matt Duffer added: “I want it to have a really finite ending. I don’t want it to be one of those shows that runs out of gas and they lose it because they’re losing interest. You wanna end when you’re on top.” Of the new season, Ross said: “Hopefully you’ll come to the end of season two and feel fully satisfied and want more but you’ll feel like it has come to a conclusion.”
Though those quotes are pretty non-committal on the show continuing to run for a long period, Levy appeared to suggest otherwise in an interview with Mashable. “As the episodes were written by the Duffers, they realized that there was too much story for nine episodes. So it forced us to be judicious in which stories we tell this season,” Levy said. “So one of the surprises was, not all of our grand ideas are going to be serviced in one season… If we had 40 ideas going into the season, 30 [we] are going to pick, and the rest go in the back of our head for, hopefully, future chapters.”
But whether Eleven will be in the entire show’s run is yet to be seen. Millie Bobby Brown was recently cast in blockbuster Godzilla: King of the Monsters and is rumoured to be starring in Avengers: Infinity War, both of which are shooting in the next year. Would her big screen aspirations interfere with Stranger Things? Its certainly plausible.
Is Barb alive?
According to David Harbour, who plays Chief Hopper in the show, she is “fully dead”.
However, the Duffers have promised to offer justice for Barb in Stranger Things season two. When asked if she would return, they stated that they “don’t see it happening”.