'Stranger Things'

‘Stranger Things’ season 3: Release date, cast, trailers, plot hints and more

We're getting a third series of Stranger Things this year! Here's everything we know so far.

With production well under way on Stranger Things season 3, here’s what we know so far about the upcoming season – including release date, plot hints, trailers and more.

The latest:

  • The release date for season 3 has been confirmed
  • A new poster has been unveiled
  • Fans are now speculating as to whether the poster holds any plot details…
  • Details of a new villain for Series 3 are believed to have leaked via IMDB
  • It’s been confirmed that the show will feature eight episodes, and the titles of those have been revealed

See below for more information…

When is Stranger Things season 3 released?

Wondering when season 3 of Stranger Things is coming out? Netflix have now confirmed that Stranger Things 3 will debut on July 4. Just after midnight on January 1, the streaming giant unveiled a brand new poster announcing the premiere date.

The poster itself sees Eleven and Mike holding hands while Will is looking back at the camera. Eleven and Will are the only ones looking back, while Dustin, Lucas and Max seem to be looking up at fireworks. You can see the poster below.

With the ground covered in dead rats, fans are now speculating that this season could see demo-rats entering the town – especially as one of the episodes in entitled ‘The Mall Rats’. Maybe they’ll enter through the soon-to-be-opened mall as revealed through the first trailer?

They also released an announcement video, showing Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve (sponsored by Starcourt Mall). However, the footage of the Times Square crowd is interrupted by a retro computer screen with the phrases “When blue and yellow meet in the West” and “The Silver Cat Feeds” highlighted.

Some fans on Reddit have connected the phrases to a behind-the-scenes book, with one user pointing out the hands of the clock in the Starcourt Mall are blue and yellow. Others think it has something to do with Mike and Eleven wearing blue and yellow when they first met – they’re also wearing blue and yellow in the poster above.

You can watch the announcement video below.

The waiting time between season 2 and 3 is bigger than season 1 and 2. Speaking during the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in Beverly Hills on July 29, Cindy Holland, VP of Netflix’s original content, explained:

“It’s a handcrafted show. The Duffer brothers and Shawn Levy have worked really hard, and they understand the stakes are high. They want to deliver something bigger and better than what they did last year. And so they really want to take the time to get it right.”

Holland added that “more special effects” is one of the main reasons for season three’s prolonged production – but it’ll be “worth the wait”.

How many episodes will there be in Stranger Things 3?

Executive producer Shawn Levy gave a pretty clear idea of the new season’s episode count in an interview with Glamour back in October 2017.

“It’ll be an eight or nine-episode season,” Levy said. “The number of episodes will be dictated by the amount of story that excites us. We now know what is going to happen in season three to every character.”

TV Line later reported that the new season will consist of eight episodes.

The titles of those eight episodes have now been revealed in a new teaser trailer that shows off the  new title sequence too.

Those episodes are: Suzie, Do You Copy?, The Mall Rats, The Case of the Missing Lifeguard, The Sauna Test, The Source, The Birthday, The Bite, and The Battle of Starcourt.

What’s going to happen in Stranger Things 3?

We have a lot of questions about Stranger Things 3 after that season 2 finale. But it seems pretty clear the show will extend past Hawkins. “They’re going to have to get the fuck out of this town,” co-creator Ross Duffer told Vulture in an extensive interview back in summer 2017.

And we’ve already seen that happen: divisive episode ‘The Lost Sister’ from season two saw Eleven branch out and hang out with fellow telekinetic wonder Kali – AKA Eight. Chances are this was an important step to establishing a storyline outside the show’s usual setting of Hawkins, Indiana.

But as the ominous final scene of season two suggested, the Mind Flayer could still cause them hassle. According to The Duffer Brothers,”they’ve shut the door on the Mind Flayer, but not only is it still there in the Upside Down, it’s very much aware of the kids, and particularly Eleven. It had not encountered her and her powers until that final episode. Now, it knows that she’s out there. We wanted to end on a little bit of an ominous note.” Job done, then.

Stranger Things‘ Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown

Speaking to Variety, Millie Bobbie Brown gave us some insight into what will happen to Eleven. “It’s really a coming of age for her and understanding what being a normal teenage girl is,” she said. “It’s a beautiful storyline for Eleven this season.” N’aww.

Eleven’s controlling father Papa reared his head briefly in season two, hinting that he could return in 3 as the show’s big baddie. Eight, meanwhile, also looks like she’s set herself up as a baddie as she uses her power for some not-so-wholesome endeavours.

Elsewhere, Stranger Things star David Harbour – who plays Jim Hopper – suggested to Insider that a long-held fan theory about his daughter Sara (it’s thought she died in Hawkins Lab) could be true. When the similarity between where Hopper was seen slumped in a stairwell in season one and where Dr. Owens was found hiding in season two was pointed out to him, Harbour responded: “It is the same location. So that’s interesting. Or it’s a similar location.”

Could we find out more about Hopper’s daughter in season three?

After hyping up – and delivering on – Stranger Things 2 as being “bigger and darker” than its predecessor, The Duffer Brothers have this time promised no such extension.“It’s not necessarily going to be bigger in scale,” Matt Duffer told Indiewire. “What I am really excited about is giving these characters an interesting journey to go on.”

Joe Keery, who plays Steve Harrington, is already thinking about what the new episodes might have in store for his character. Speaking to Mashable, he said “[Steve’s] definitely not the fastest guy. In a pinch, he can work himself out of some situations. With Hopper, they could lend to each other in that way. It could be like a buddy-cop movie or something.”

Shawn Levy has said that we’ll see more of Steve and Dustin together in the new season, that’s for sure. “In season two, it was all very cute and there was a funny factor to it because it was unexpected, but now that it is expected, I want to see them connect more and be more familiar with each other,” Levy told Glamour. “I want them to have a connection like they’ve really had a connection for a year – like they’re brothers.”

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family is so important

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Will, who was the focal point of season two, is unlikely to have such a pivotal role, according to Levy. “We’re going to give Will a break,” he told Glamour. “We’re not going to put Will through hell for a third season in a row. He’ll be dealing with stuff, but he won’t be at rock bottom the way we forced the amazing Noah Schnapp to play.”

Speaking at a special screening of Stranger Things back in August, Harbour revealed an unlikely source of inspiration for Stranger Things 3: the 1985 comedy Fletch, which starred Chevy Chase. The caper has apparently provided the Duffer brothers with some creative ideas for the new season.

Harbour told Variety: “The Duffers are so specific each year with the movies… and Fletch is one movie we get to play around and have some fun with this season, which you wouldn’t expect from Stranger Things and you wouldn’t expect from the Spielberg universe and you certainly wouldn’t expect from a darker season.”

Harbour also said that Hopper’s fatherly relationship with Eleven will become more complicated as the season unfolds. “Their relationship is going to get far more complex, because, you know, things happen to girls and boys when they’re 13 and 14… a lot of changes go on in the body and in your social life, and I don’t think [Hopper’s] going to handle watching her become a woman in front of his eyes very well.

“That’s horrifying for him – maybe even more so than fighting inter-dimensional monsters.”

Stranger Things deaths

Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers

The actor added that he wants to see his character’s relationship with Joyce Byers develop further in season three.

“There may be other people in the mix in this situation, but I think they’re built for each other and I would love to see them get together,” he said. “From the very beginning, I thought that these two are tortured, messed up, beautiful people who are like puzzle pieces that can’t stand each other but actually need each other.”

Another tidbit dropped by executive producer Levy confirmed that Eleven and Mike will still be together in season three, too.

Gaten Matarazzo meanwhile has teased how long Stranger Things could last in a new interview with The Telegraaf. He said: “I know that [with] Matt and Ross, their goal is not to go as many seasons as possible…It’s to go until they finish their story, and I’ve heard the magic number is either four or five. We just finished up three – three is not the last one planned.”

Spoiler alert time…

A new set of plot spoilers for season three has been released into the wild via the medium of an official companion book to the show, Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down. 

The season two Shadow Monster, aka The Mind Flayer, is definitely returning. In the book, author Gina McIntyre reveals how much of a threat the Mind Flayer will be in the series’ future: “The Mind Flayer hasn’t lost interest in Hawkins either…The tentacled creature continues to loom near Hawkins inside the Upside Down, and its malevolent influence isn’t absent from the new season.”

Co-creator Ross Duff has also said that the core friendship group of Will, Mike, Dustin and Lucas will all be tested – and not just by other-worldy forces.

He is quoted in the book as saying: “It’s really the final summer of their childhood… they’re dealing with growing up, with these complicated new relationships. They’re starting to fall apart a little bit, and maybe they don’t love playing Dungeons and Dragons as much as they used to. Naturally, that’s going to generate conflict.”

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we love four spooky boys

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When will Stranger Things 3 be set?

Producer Shawn Levy said that the next instalment of the show is likely to be set a year after season two’s conclusion – so, during the summer of 1985.

The Duffer Brothers also suggested that the new episodes will have to deal with the kids growing up and grappling with – gasp! – puberty.

“Even if we didn’t want to deal with [puberty], we have to deal with it because our real-life actors are going through it. I think that’s exciting because it forces the show to evolve and become something different every year,” they told Entertainment Weekly in October 2017.

“It’s going to test their friendships. Obviously, like Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Max (Sadie Sink) are together, but really, when you’re that age, how long do relationships last? They usually last about two weeks if you’re lucky. I think that’s going to be fun to explore.”

Stranger Things action figures

The gang’s all here

Will Stranger Things 3 be the final-ever episodes?

Judging by the comments by The Duffer Brothers to Vulture, they’re “thinking it will be a four-season thing and then out”. So as season three progresses, we’re likely to see some kind of end-game for the show starting to rear its head.

Speaking to NMELinnea Berthelsen – who plays Kali, AKA Eight – doesn’t think that the season two episode ‘The Lost Sister’ is a set-up for a spin-off show.

“I don’t think so,” she admitted. “I love the rest of the gang, I think it would be so much fun to see more of them, but I honestly don’t think so.”

On November 19, during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Millie Bobby Brown hinted that S3 will not be the last season.

Colbert asked the actress if the photos the she shared of herself crying after S3 wrapped meant that her character, Eleven, is killed off.

She responded: “No! I’m just a very emotional person. When it comes to my closest people, like, I’m not good at goodbyes.”

Brown then reiterated that the photos were taken on the last day of the season’s filming. “Of the season, not the show,” she emphasised, “The season.”

Will the whole cast be back for Stranger Things 3?

See, here’s where it gets tricky. If you hadn’t noticed, the kids are pretty much everywhere right now – from talk shows to playing guitar on stage with Mac DeMarco. So as the kids turn into teens, there’s likely to be some kind of ambition beyond the Stranger Things comfort blanket for the precocious cast.

Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven, is already eyeing up some roles in Hollywood blockbusters. She’s confirmed to be starring in Godzilla: King of Monsters, which is already in post-production. Charlie Heaton (Jonathan), meanwhile, is starring alongside Game of Thrones‘ Maisie Williams in 2018 film The New Mutants.

With those kind of scheduling conflicts likely to throw a spanner in the works, who knows which actors might end up ditching Hawkins to fry some bigger fish? Demand is going to be high for these stars, especially after season two.

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this right here… is my person 4eva ❤️

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Berthelsen told NME that she “doesn’t know yet” if she will return for season three, but would “love to,” if asked.

“I have no idea. I’m really a big fan of Matt and Ross, who create the show, and I just really want to see what they do with this storyline,” she said. “If they’re gonna bring Kali back, I have no idea. I think we should just be excited for the show, for season 3, and see what they’re gonna bring.”

The Duffer Brothers seem keen for her to return. “I would say chances are very high she comes back” Matt told an audience at Vulture Festival LA in November 2017.

One person we know we will definitely be seeing more of is Lucas’ younger sister Erica, who stole the show in season two. “I love Erica,” Matt Duffer told Yahoo!. “Erica wasn’t even supposed to be in [season two] as much as she was. We fell in love with this girl.”

“There will definitely be more Erica in Season 3,” Ross Duffer added. “That is the fun thing about the show — you discover stuff as you’re filming. We were able to integrate more of her in, but not as much you want because the story [was] already going. ‘We got to use more Erica’ — that was one of the first things we said in the writers’ room.”

Priah Ferguson, who plays the character, seems well up for it, too. “I hope Erica could partner with Lucas and fight off the Demogorgan with Eleven, Mad Max, and the whole cast,” she told Teen Vogue. “I feel like her just snooping around in Lucas’s room – I feel like that’s a little bit of a clue. But maybe not.”

Levy has said that they’re not sure if Dr. Owens, played by Paul Reiser, will be back as he admitted that he didn’t “have a clear-cut answer for you yet”.

And will the cast get a pay rise?

According to reports, the stars will get paid a whole lot more for season three. Winona Ryder and David Harbour will be paid $350,000 an episode, while Millie Bobby Brown will pocket $300,000.

Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin and Noah Schnapp will all get $250,000 per episode, while Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton and Joe Keery will earn roughly $150,000 each.

According to Heroic Hollywood, Mille Bobbie Brown’s pay for S3 will match that of her co-stars, David Harbour and Winona Ryder at a massive $350,000 per episode.

Will there be any new characters in Stranger Things 3?

Yes! That Hashtag Show recently announced that there will be at least three new characters in the show for season three – here’s a bit of casting info on them:

Mayor Larry Kline: Described as a classic, 80’s style slick politician, Kline is described as pathetic and driven only by his own interests. The studio is looking for a male, 40s-60s, to fill the role.

Bruce: A morally compromised news reporter in his 50s, Bruce was described as outwardly sexist, overweight and bedraggled.

Patricia Brown: Patricia seems to be filing the role of the sweet, neighborhood elder. The studio is looking for a woman in her 70s for the role which will see her spending a lot of time tending to her garden and offering her advice to the neighborhood kids.

An additional new character by the name of Robin, who Netflix described as “an “alternative girl” (yes, that is her actual character description), will be played by Maya Thurman-Hawke.

Another potential spoiler may be in the revealing of a new villain via IMDB – in the form of Soviet Russia. One IMDB member noticed a series of new casting information which read “Russian solider”, “Russian Officer” and “Russian Goon” although these were eventually changed to remove “Russian.” There is growing speculation about the roles and how these will impact on the plot.

Have any new cast additions been confirmed yet?

Cary Elwes and Jake Busey

Yes! Cary Elwes and Jake Busey will join for season three: Princess Bride star Elwes will play Mayor Kline, while Starship Troopers‘ Busey will portray Bruce.

Busey spoke more about his character in an interview with SyFy. “I play one of these filthy, rotten journalist-types!” he joked. “Nah, I’m a local journalist with a sick sense of humour. They had to add an element [of humour] to the show, so it’s a new angle.”

Has Stranger Things 3 started filming?

Yes, filming for Stranger Things 3 began on April 23 – Millie Bobby Brown confirmed the news in an Instagram post, which you can see below.

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and so it begins 🤭 #strangerthingsseason3

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On September 28, Brown shared an intriguingly emotional photo from the set on her Instagram Story. But what exactly is Eleven doing by the sea shore?

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She also shared a quick video from the set – see it below.

Back in May, the actress shared another update about season three to say that it was “amazing and wonderful” to be back filming with her castmates.

“The Duffer brothers, Shawn Levy and Netflix really know how to grow with the characters, so it’s very good,” she said. “They know how to write to us and how we’re growing and our voices and mindsets are changing, and [how] we’re maturing every day.”

Brown also disclosed her choice for a Stranger Things dream cameo: Leonardo DiCaprio.

“Leonardo is Eleven’s long-lost brother,” she said when asked about what role he could play on the show. “I have already made a storyline. Leo, if you want to be in Stranger Things, here’s the contract.”

In June, Brown had broken her kneecap. Her co-star Sadie Sink (who plays Max) said that the injury was “gnarly”, but that she would “get better really soon”.

Brown returned to the set in Atlanta in July to continue filming. As the Daily Mail reports, she was seen filming scenes with Sink, including one where the two had to ride their bikes in the rain.

On 16 July, an advert for a new shopping mall in the show’s fictional hometown of Hawkins was shared via the Stranger Things’Twitter.

The show’s teenage heartthrob Steve is seen in the clip working in an ice cream parlour called Scoops Ahoy alongside Robin (played by Maya Hawke).

Could she be a major new character? Perhaps the shop and the shopping mall will feature heavily in the new season?

On November 10, David Harbour announced on his Instagram that he’d finished filming on season three. The actor wrote: “Wrapped. Everyone say ‘goodbye mustache’.” Could this mean that filming on Stranger Things 3 has officially finished for everyone else, too?

Millie Bobbie Brown shared an array of tearful imagery over the same weekend.

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thats a wrap ♥️

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She told fans in an Instagram story video that she would “cry all day” on the last day of shooting. In the video she tagged co-stars Sadie Sink (Max  and Noah Schnapp (Will), saying that she “couldn’t say goodbye” and that it’s “not okay”.

Later, she shared a tearful selfie with a caption reading: “Told u.”

Instagram / Millie Bobby Brown

Despite the tear-stained photos, as mentioned above, Brown seemingly confirmed on …Stephen Colbert, that she was upset because it was the last day of filming for S3, not for the whole show.

Brown revealed to Colbert that Netflix told her off after she shared the images, saying, “you can’t say anything.”

We wait with bated breath….