Stranger Things season 2 - what we know (and what we think) will happen

Stranger Things ended its first season the same way it started, with a hell of a lot of hints. Much like the first Dungeons & Dragons battle between our heroes foreshadowed the Demogorgon, we’ve now got the eight-headed Thessalhydra, the Lost Knight, the Proud Princess and the Flowers in the Cave. What do they all mean, and what else can we expect from season 2 of this dynamic series? Sure Netflix hasn’t officially confirmed season 2 yet, but come on guys. It’s gonna happen. 

I’ve put together a list of what we know about Stranger Things season 2, as well as some fan theories, and my own personal speculations. Keep in mind, there will be major spoilers, so I recommend keeping this in your reading list until after you’ve watched the first season.

We’re skipping ahead at least a year

The last few scenes of season 1 had the characters time jump several months to Christmas. Well, it looks like we’re going even further into the future in season 2. According to showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer, the second season will take place at least a full year after the first. The kids are getting older, with some of them already going through voice changes, so it makes sense for the show to age as the actors do. It sounds like the showrunners are more than cool with this, with Matt Duffer calling it a ‘Harry Potter situation.’

“I love watching kids growing up on camera. So the idea seeing where these kids and these characters are one year later is cool to me,” Matt Duffer told Entertainment Weekly. Plus, there’s so much that can happen in that year-long gap, promising even more monsters, madness and exploration of the Upside Down.

We’ll find out how the Upside Down affected everyone

When we skipped to Christmas at the end of last season, everyone was trying to act like everything was normal, only they couldn’t. For example, Will was spitting up slugs and Hopper was making ties with Men in Black-style government agents. But according to Matt and Ross Duffer, we really haven’t gotten into just how messed up these characters are, especially physically. After all, at least four people survived the Upside Down, and a fifth (Eleven) is potentially still in there.

“They took off their helmets, and we know it’s a toxic environment,” Ross Duffer told IGN. “A big part of season 2 that we’ve been discussing is what is that effect? Did it affect anyone else? But specifically, is Will okay? The short answer being no.”

Eleven is the ‘Lost Knight’

Last we left off, Eleven had sacrificed herself to kill the demogorgon and save her friends. Or did she? Fast forward to Christmas, and the boys are talking about a ‘lost knight’ who’s missing from the game. Plus, we see Hopper putting El’s favorite food (Eggo waffles) in a box in the woods. While the Duffers haven’t confirmed that Eleven’s coming back, they’ve definitely hinted that we haven’t seen the last of her.

“What did James Cameron say? No one’s ever dead in sci-fi,” Ross Duffer told IGN.That still leaves the question of where Eleven is and what she’s up to. It could be she’s discovering more about her powers, figuring out where they came from and how they connect to the other dimension. Hell, she might’ve found another dimension beyond the Upside Down. I’m just glad that Hopper hasn’t given up on her, but why hasn’t he? Hmm, could it be...

Eleven is Hopper’s daughter

The first season of Stranger Things waited until the end of the first season to give us information about Hopper’s daughter, who we’re told died of cancer. Why is that something they would keep until the end? After all, it’s not that big of a reveal. Unless it connects us to Eleven in ways we hadn’t thought of before.

There are theories that Eleven is not the daughter of that comatose woman from the beginning of the season, but rather the daughter of our own Sheriff Hopper. It would explain his determination to figure out what happened to her, even if it seemed a minor detail in his investigation into Will’s disappearance. Plus, Matt Duffer said there’s something bigger going on between the two of them that will likely manifest next season.

“Hopper is left with this guilt because he sold her out. We wanted to leave it sort of mysterious exactly what he knows,” Matt Duffer said. “Have there been sightings in the woods or is he hoping she’s out there or has he already made contact with her? We don’t answer any of that, but we like the idea of potential putting her and Hopper together.” That still leaves the question of what happened to that woman’s daughter.

There are other test subjects

Someone on Reddit pointed out the fact that Eleven’s tattoo reads 011, emphasis on the zero in front. Why would they put the zero on there unless there also could be a one, two or even more numbers on other people? That means there could potentially be hundreds of other test subjects participating in this government project. That gives the show the opportunity to introduce us to new superpowered characters beyond Eleven, perhaps with other abilities that haven’t been previously addressed. After all, producer Shawn Levy did tell Slashfilm that we’re getting other characters next season. 

The government might not be so bad anymore

In true E.T. fashion, the government agency served as the big bad for the season (well, the non-demogorgon big bad). But after the events of the first season, it looks like we may be seeing a softer side of the government. According to the showrunners, when Hopper got into the car at the end of the last episode, it represented how he and the rest of the town are going to have to ‘clean up’ what happened, including Will dying and coming back to life. But this will likely put the government in a new position of not being so secretive and evil anymore. If Hopper is working with them, we may learn more about who they are and what their intentions are.

“[We could] go back to the laboratory pull back the curtain a bit,” Matt Duffer told IGN. “It’s not as evil and mysterious as it was in season 1. We might start to get into what they’re doing a bit little more. Maybe they seem a little more least in the beginning.”

The Upside Down is about to get a lot bigger

When the kids were chatting with Mr. Clarke about a portal to the Upside Down, Clarke worried that a gate like that could “swallow us up whole.” Eleven may have closed a door to the Upside Down when she killed the demogorgon, but there’s no way the ties have been severed. For starters, Joyce, Will, and Hopper were able to get out (we don’t know if that was before or after El’s sacrifice). Second, Will is having visions of that dimension.

Over the course of the first season, we saw the portal gate grow in the facility from a hole in the wall to having ‘vines’ all around the research lab, with entrances in other parts of the town (like Will’s house and the forest). Still, that never even came close to becoming something that could “swallow us up whole.” 

To be fair, Levy said the Duffer brothers don’t like putting Easter eggs in the middle of their shows (just in their D&D battles, I guess), but this seems like something that’s too big to ignore. If the Upside Down is still around (which we know it is), I bet it’s going to become a much bigger threat next season. That is, unless…

The Upside Down is all in Eleven’s head

Now, this one seems incredibly far-fetched, but it is at least worth bringing up. As people on Twitter have pointed out, this girl can crush cans with her mind and stop people mid-air from falling to their doom. She clearly has a lot of power, both tapped and untapped. Who’s to say the Upside Down wasn’t a world she created as a way to understand or cope with her power? Well, most likely, logic, since it looks to be something that existed before Eleven came along. And I think we’ve only just begun to understand what the Upside Down is, especially given the fact that Rob and Matt Duffer have a 30-page manual describing all the things it is and could be. Speaking of which...

We’re getting a hell of a lot more monsters, and we’ve already met them all

At the end of episode 8, the boys battled a Thessalhydra and appeared to win, later complaining that it was too easy. Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t. That’s because they only killed seven heads, and the Thessalhydra has eight. Much like the demogorgon was a hint of the flower monster, the Thessalhydra indicates what kind of enemy we’ll be fighting next season. Is it going to be an eight-headed monster? No, I think it’s going to be eight monsters. And moreover, I think we’ve met all of them.

We know that the demogorgon claimed five victims in the Upside Down (excluding Will, since he survived). We also know there’s an egg in the Upside Down, and Will has spit out a slug. That equals seven potential monsters, seven ‘heads’ for our warriors to cut off. But that only leaves one question: Who will be the eighth? Well, we already know that too...

Will is the Eighth Head of the Thessalhydra

We know that Will was intended to become the demogorgon latest victim, but Joyce and Hopper were able to save him in time, pulling the snake out of his body. Well, you can take the Will out of the Upside Down, but you can’t take the Upside Down out of Will. 

Will is undoubtedly connected to the Thessalhydra. For starters, his slug spit. According to D&D lore, the Thessalhydra “can spit out a gob of acidic saliva from its main mouth.” They also live in dark, damp places (like the Upside Down), and Will’s freak-out in the bathroom showed he’s still connected to that dimension.

“Will’s been there for an entire week, and it’s had some kind of effect on him, both emotionally and perhaps physically,” Ross Duffer told IGN. “The idea is he’s escaped this nightmare place, but has he really? That’s a place we wanted to go and potentially explore in season two. What effect does living in there for a week have on him? And what has been done to him? It’s not good, obviously.”


Beth Elderkin is a freelance journalist based in Chicago, and co-hosts Shark Jumping on Channel Awesome. Follow her on Twitter @BethElderkin.
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