Stranger Things season 2: plot rumours, returning characters, and everything you need to know

Fast Facts:

  • Stranger Things season 2 release date: 2017
  • Cast: Millie Bobbie Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Charlie Heaton, Natalia Dyer, Caleb McLaughlin, Dacre Montgomery, Sadie Sink, Joe Keery, Noah Schnapp, Sean Astin, Linnea Berthelsen, Paul Reiser, David Harbour
  • Producers: Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen
  • Showrunners: Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer

Update: January 23, 2017 - M. Night Shyamalan wants to direct an episode of Stranger Things season 2

The title says it all, really: Shyamalan wants to have a go directing one of Stranger Things' season 2 episodes. He's got a history with the Duffer brothers so this doesn't sound as far-fetched as you'd expect: the Duffer brothers made their debut on Wayward Pines, produced by Shyamalan. He said recently "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!'". I'm torn. On one hand Shyamalan can blow our minds with The Sixth Sense. On the other, he's responsible for After Earth. Hmm. What do you think?

Update: January 16, 2017 - Stranger Things season 2 will be "bigger, darker" and start with that slug

Get some salt ready, because Noah Schnapp revealed that season 2 is going to pick up at the point just after Will threw up that slimy slug. He goes on to say that "I may or may not have turned into a monster. You’ll have to watch to find out". How interesting. Could Will be the next threat to Hawkins, with something distinctly unnerving maturing inside him? Hopper and Joyce did have to haul a long snake-thing out of his throat when they found him in the Upside Down. Perhaps it left something behind. Shawn Levy also let slip that "season 2 is bigger and potentially darker in its stakes. The threat, which in Season 1 was to Will Byers, has grown. That’s all I’m going to say!" By the sounds of it the Upside Down might have begun to affect the entire town, rather than a couple of individuals. Hopefully we'll be getting a release date soon, because I certainly can't wait to see what's going on in the not-so-sleepy town. 

***Original article continues below***

Stranger Things season 2 can't come soon enough

The binge-watch summer hit Stranger Things is due to hit our screens at some point in 2017, but we’ve already got a decent picture of what we might be seeing in season 2. So if you feel like you’re getting withdrawal symptoms from a lack of Eleven on your screen and have a craving for Eggos, have no fear: we’ve got you covered and have compiled everything you need to know about Stranger Things season 2. 

Stranger Things season 2 release date is 2017, and filming has already started at a familiar location

Hopper's back😏

A photo posted by @dkharbour on Oct 31, 2016 at 7:55am PDT

Get those Eggos ready, because a tweet has revealed that production has officially started and guess what - Millie Bobbie Brown is returning to our screens! The Upside Down back-to-front snap has got thousands of fans excited beyond belief, and I'm not ashamed to say it made me squeal with delight.

The release date hasn’t been confirmed yet, but it will air some time in 2017. Filming has already started, as photos have been spotted on Imgur which show filming trucks at the location used for that shady Department of Energy lab, where Eleven was raised. David Harbour has teased us by snapping a picture of him in full Hopper costume on instagram, and Noah Schnapp confirmed on instagram in October that filming has started, so you should really start getting hyped now.  

Some leaked photos have appeared on Twitter showing the cast in costume getting ready to appear on set, and the enthusiasm on their faces is easy to see. Other photos show Gaten Matarazzo, Finn Wolfhard, and Caleb McLaughlin speeding around on bikes, but there's no Will in sight. Where on earth could he be? Perhaps he's still recuperating from his time in the Upside Down. You'll have to wait for Stranger Things season 2 to discover exactly why he seems to be absent, but the good news is that all the episodes will be hitting Netflix at the same time so we don't have to wait around to find out.

Stranger things season 2 teaser trailer has got us hyped up already

The teaser trailer is short but sweet. It might not have any footage from season 2, but it does flash up the name the nine episodes for us to dissect and inevitably overthink. Plus, the theme music which makes my hair stand on end is back. Plus in October we got a very 80s teaser trailer in the form of a news report by Brenda Wood, who has alerted us to a mysterious girl with a shaved head shoplifting Eggos and lets us know Barb is still missing. Take a look for yourself!

Stranger Things season 2 episode titles and what they might mean 

So, the teaser trailer for Stranger Things season 2 has given us the name of each of the nine episodes (one more episode than season 1) which makes it a tantalising glimpse into what the episodes may hold. After all, the titles sure to cause speculation and fan theories galore. Here they are along with my wild speculation as to what some of them could involve:

Madmax - This first episode will likely be an introduction to the new character Max, which I’m especially excited about because you can never have too many badass little girls on TV. By the sounds of it, she’ll be a central character in season two. 

The Boy Who Came Back To Life - This is an obvious nod to Will, so we might be seeing an episode about how he was received by the citizens of Hawkins upon his return from the Upside Down, especially considering the title was plastered on the front of the newspaper in the last episode of season one. 

The Pumpkin Patch - Perhaps this episode will have something to do with that weird egg from the Upside Down we got a glimpse of in one of the episodes. But one pumpkin doesn’t make a patch, so we could be seeing even more eggs.

The Palace - This very well might be another location in the Upside Down, and it certainly sounds like it’s a place of serious importance. Maybe this is where we’ll find the ‘proud princess’ hinted at in the last episode of season 1. 

The Storm - This episode is probably going to deal with a real-life storm, as 1984 was a big year for extreme weather. The Atlantic hurricane season pummelled America pretty badly around this time, and I bet there will be equally dramatic events in the episode to match the weather. 

The Pollywog - A pollywog is a tadpole, but in this case it’s probably that gross slug which Will coughed up in his bathroom. If that slug is a tadpole, I hate to imagine what a frog would look like…

The Secret Cabin - This might be where Eleven is - after all, think back to when Hopper put those eggos in that box in the woods. Cabins are found in woods, so maybe Eleven has found herself somewhere in the Upside Down to stay - or hide. 

The Brain - We all know Eleven has some advanced telepathy skills, so maybe this episode will be dealing with her powers - or maybe someone else will discover they’ve got the same abilities. The Brain could also be the title of the new big baddie, as it certainly sounds ominous enough. 

The Lost Brother - This might be the fourth key character who has yet to be cast. Maybe he’ll be called Twelve. We know Eleven’s mother wasn’t the only one to be experimented on, so there very well might be more kids like Eleven somewhere in that shady government facility.

Stranger Things season 2 cast has some (kind of) familiar faces

In an interview with Slashfilm Shawn Levy revealed that they plan to “continue with this set of characters” in Stranger Things season 2, meaning that Millie Bobbie Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Charlie Heaton, and Natalia Dyer are returning to our screens. Joe Keery and Noah Schnapp will be returning as series regulars in their roles as Steve Harrington and Will Byers.

So what about new cast members? We know that we’ll have four new additions to the central cast thanks to The Hollywood Reporter. One of the new characters remains a mystery, but the other three are called Max, Billy, and Roman. 

Entertainment Weekly has revealed that Sadie Sink will be playing Max, a 13-year-old tomboy who shreds on her skateboard rather than using a bike. She’s had a complicated life up until now and has a tricky relationship with her step-brother Billy, which means she’s “protective of her past” and “suspicious of those around her”. Sounds like she’ll be another badass character which’ll fill the young-female-character void left by Eleven, as it hasn’t even been confirmed that our telekinetic prodigy will be returning. 

Dacre Montgomery, from the upcoming Power Rangers movie, will be playing Billy, Max’s step-brother, who sounds like a wild card. He’s a buff, cocky 17-year-old who is so edgy that rumours are flying around that he killed someone at one of his old schools. He’s got a reputation for stealing people’s girlfriends, being a dab hand at drinking games and drives a black Camaro. But he’s got a dark side, and those closest to him know about his tendency to be aggressive and unpredictable, especially those younger than him. Sounds like him and Max aren’t going to be best of buds. 

Linnea Berthelsen will be playing Roman according to Variety, who has had a tough life: having been homeless from a young age with a drug-addicted mother, she suffered a great loss when she was younger and has been “seeking revenge ever since”. Sadly, Roman is described as an outsider “who doesn’t understand how to connect with people”.

Sean Astin has been cast as Bob Newby, an aged nerd who went to school with Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Hopper (David Harbour). Bob has a kind heart, and is now manager of the Hawkins RadioShack. Maybe he’ll get along with Mike and his geeky crew, considering he seems to be just as nerdy as they are.

Paul Reiser will be playing Dr Owens, who works at the Department of Energy and has been tasked with ‘containing’ all the fallout from the supernatural rigamarole. Presumably he’ll be having some chats with Hopper, especially as it looks like Hopper is now under the thumb of the government following the deal he made at the end of season 1. 

Comedian Brett Gelman has been cast as conspiracy theorist Murray Bauman, billed as “a disgraced journalist who has dug deep into conspiracies and is currently investigating a cold case in Hawkins”. I’m assuming that he’ll have something to do with the dodgy experiments at the the Hawkins Energy Lab, so perhaps he’ll be on the hunt for other test subjects like Terry Ives, or even trying to find out if the rumours about a mysterious telepathic girl with a shaved head are true. 

For all you Barb fans out there, I've got bad news: she's still dead. You might have experienced a brief moment of elation during the Golden Globes opening number. I could hear dozens of overjoyed screams when Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, and Finn Wolfhard rapped that Barb was indeed alive. Gasp! Sure enough a smiling Barb emerged out of a swimming pool in one unbloody piece without slugs coming out of her mouth. But now it’s time to burst your bubble, because soon afterwards Brown told EW that Barb is, indeed, as dead as a doornail. She's kicked the bucket, shuffled off the mortal coil, run down the curtain, and joined the choir invisible. Sorry folks. But Stranger Things season 2 promises to deal with Barb’s disappearance in more depth, so fans will get some closure. 

Stranger Things season 2 plot has already been hinted at by the Duffer brothers

The official logline has already revealed the crux of season 2:

"When terrifying supernatural forces once again begin to affect Hawkins, they realize Will's disappearance was only the beginning. And so the adventure continues…"

As suggested by the fact that “supernatural forces once again begin to affect Hawkins”, season 2 is going to be “darker and weirder” than season 1, with a self-contained story. But you might need to savour it, as in an interview the Duffer brothers said they can’t see Stranger Things going on for six or seven seasons. The brothers “have an ending that we want to get to and I guess the question is just how long we need to get there. At a certain point though the story is going to become unbelievable”. 

By the sounds of what Matt Duffer said in an interview, the consequences of living in the Upside Down for a week are going to be pretty central, so Will isn’t going to be in the best shape. We already saw him regurgitating that gross slug, as well as the brief flick into the other dimension, so maybe he’ll be constantly jumping between the Upside Down and the real world - or the Upside Down might start to leak into Hawkins. Matt is eager to remind us that  "three of our other characters were in there [Nancy, Joyce, and Hopper]. They took off their helmets." So it looks like Will isn’t going to be the only one experiencing the consequences of being in the Upside Down - although it’s fair to assume that his symptoms will be the most drastic. The inter-dimensional tear is still open, and with it the lab became ever-more unnerving and grimy, filled with black gunk. I somehow doubt that’s not going to be important.   

Matt also touched on the prime antagonist for season 2 - we can expect a “bigger, badder monster”. Ross is particularly excited by the “idea of where you can sort of ramp up more and more and more. Where Joyce isn’t at an 11 from the beginning [referring to her terrified state at the beginning of season 1 when she discovers her son is missing]”, so this season is promised to be a slow burner which gently builds into an almighty crescendo. 

Stranger Things season 2 story locations will venture outside of Hawkins

Season 1 did end up feeling a little bit enclosed and claustrophobic in the best way, but it doesn’t look like season 2 will be confined to the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. Photos have already revealed that filming is taking place at the Department of Energy, but Matt says that “we will venture a little bit outside of Hawkins. I will say the opening scene [of the premiere] does not take place in Hawkins.” Exciting, right? Why would season 2 be outside of Hawkins? Maybe it has something to do with Eleven’s mum, or the new characters Max, Billy and Roman being introduced - a new family moving into the neighbourhood, perhaps. Or there might be other departments experimenting on kids, which means more kids, more powers, and more drama. Yay!

Stranger Things season 2: is Eleven still alive?

My immediate answer to this is yes, hell yes she is. I refuse to believe someone as badass as her would just be written off - and Hopper thinks the same. In an interview Dave Harbour, who plays Jim Hopper, said that Hopper is still struggling with the fact that he sold out Eleven to the government. The Eggos at the end have special significance for him, as Harbour suggests that “maybe he has to find redemption with Eleven if she still exists somewhere in the universe, and he clearly believes she does. He wouldn’t leave the waffles if he didn’t.” 

The Upside Down is a clear manifestation of our world through a twisted mirror, so I assume that the eggs would appear in the other dimension after being put in that box in the woods. Eleven is (hopefully) waiting it out in the Upside Down, and I am praying for the moment when she comes back, more powerful than ever. 

Stranger Things season 2 theories: new monsters, central characters, and are Eleven and the demogorgon one and the same?

Seeing as we’re all clearly thirsty for some idea of what might be in store for us in, I’ve compiled some of the most convincing Stranger Things season 2 theories around. 

The one which (as far as fan theories go) is pretty obvious, is that the Thessalhydra is going to be the big bad monster for season 2. At the end of the final episode, the boys are just finishing up a Dungeons & Dragons session when they’re faced with a Thessalhydra. Thessalhydras have eight heads which centre around a circular mouth filled with pointy teeth - but when the boys vanquish it Lucas only cuts off seven heads. Which means there’s still one left. Could this foreshadow the finale of season 2, where you think the big bad guy has finally expired but it’s not quite dead? Or maybe there’ll be not one but eight monsters to match the eight heads of the Thessalhydra. 

The end of the D&D game also gives us three more things to dissect for meaning: the lost knight, the proud princess, and the weird flowers in the cave. Some have said that the proud princess is Eleven, but I have to say I think she’s more likely to be the lost knight. After all, we have no idea where she is and she can certainly hold her own in a fight, whether it's against mouthbreathers or the demogorgon. The weird flowers are probably a nod to the egg found in the Upside Down, as we don’t know much about it, but the demogorgon is feeding off it at one point. That might be one of the big questions with season 2 - after all, what on earth hatched out of it?

So that just leaves the proud princess. Who could she be? On Reddit there have been suggestions that Terry Ives (possibly Eleven’s mother) could be the proud princess, as she refused to stay silent about the government abducting her baby. Maybe she’ll be featured heavily in season 2, as some theories have speculated that her sister might not be her sister at all but one of Brenner’s agents, tasked with keeping her drugged up enough so she doesn’t cause any more trouble. After all, her lips start moving when Joyce and Hopper leave the house, which could mean she’s trying desperately to tell them something that goes unnoticed. I’ve got a soft spot for Joyce and Karen (Mike and Nancy’s mum - her lockpicking scene tells me she’s got an edge), so seeing another kickass mum join the cast would be the cherry on top.

The next one sounds pretty obvious too, but Will could be an incubator for the next monster. That slug he puked up might mean he’s infected with something, and worryingly after the bathroom flipped into the Upside Down he didn’t seem as shocked as I expected. The way he looked at himself in the mirror has even got some doubting that it’s Will at all. Crazy, right? But that long snake-thing that got pulled out of his throat might mean that the original Will is long gone. 

Okay, buckle up. This one’s a doozy. Reddit user peters45 has come up with a theory that Eleven and the Demogorgon are one and the same. There are some key facts that point to this, all of which work together to become surprisingly convincing. The demogorgon, despite being drawn to blood, never comes after Eleven has her nosebleeds. When Eleven faces off with the monster in the final episode at the school, she raises her right hand to pin it to the wall and the monster does exactly the same, mirroring her. Eleven recognises both Will and Barb despite never having seen them before - maybe she met both of them through the demogorgon’s eyes first? Each time Eleven concentrates to find Will - first via the ham radio and second at Castle Byers - the demogorgon finds him straight afterwards. Coincidence? I think not. And finally, after Eleven saves Mike from jumping off the side of the cliff, she tearfully says: “I’m sorry. The gate… I opened it. I’m the monster”. Who’s to say she meant this metaphorically? Maybe she was being very honest, admitting that she and the demogorgon are tied together. 

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Hi, I'm Zoe! When I'm not gushing over Bioshock or playing Dungeons & Dragons you'll find me trying to unearth another ring to add to my knuckleduster-worthy collection.
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