Stranger Things returns to Netflix on July 4, and the streaming service has finally released a full trailer for the show’s new season. We’ve been tracking season 3 info all year, but the two minutes and 45 seconds of footage in the trailer are the clearest look we’ve had yet — and provided eight new revelations about the upcoming season, whose tagline reads “one summer can change everything.”
David Harbour, Winona Ryder, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Dacre Montgomery and Joe Keery all return for season 3, and they’ll be joined by new cast members Cary Elwes, Jake Busey, Maya Hawke, and Francesca Reale.
While the few teases Netflix has released have — in true Stranger Things fashion —been vague, the new trailer revealed some telling information about the upcoming season. Here’s everything we know about the mysteries set to unfold in Stranger Things season 3.
Dustin (Matarazzo) spent part of his summer at Camp Know Where (which, judging by the icon, is a computer camp), complete with classic ’80s uniform of khaki shorts and a green-and-yellow ringer T-shirt.
The other kids surprise him upon his return home, and Eleven (Brown) controls his robot toys to make him follow them into the living room. There was probably an easier way to surprise Dustin without giving herself a bloody nose.
Phone home much? The kids’ summer project seems to be putting up a big antenna on the top of a hill. Given all the creatures the group has encountered without seeking them out, you’d think they’d enjoy being off the grid, but we’ll see what this antenna is all about.
Eleven spent most of season 2 separated from the boys, so this summer is the first chance she’s had in a while to play with other kids. It looks like she’s getting really close to Max (Sink) as they play in her bedroom, then head to the mall food court — where Eleven looks like a kid going to Disneyland for the first time. They also slide in between the escalators. Don’t try this at home, kids.
We knew about the swimming pool featured prominently in the trailer, but not Hawkins’ town-wide Fun Fair (or, rather, Mayor Kline’s Fun Fair). Kline (Elwes) hosts a Fourth of July event at the fair in the trailer, and there’s a gunman stalking the hall of mirrors.
We see Hopper (Harbour) all dressed up (in a nice Miami Vice–style light suit) at a table for two, but his date isn’t there yet. We hope he hasn’t been stood up. It’s nice to see Hopper’s casual summerwear, too, as he tells Nancy (Ryder), “I want you to feel like this can still be your home.”
There’s a big protest outside the mayor’s office with homemade signs reading “Mayor Swine,” “Support Downtown,” and “Hawkins is Downtown.” If the ’80s taught us anything, it’s that small towns face an uphill battle.
Summer at the Hawkins pool is a great chance for Billy (Montgomery) to show off his abs. He’s making eyes at the lifeguard (Reale) in the trailer, so why is he macking on Karen Wheeler (Cara Buono) in the above photo?
We get one clear shot of a big new monster growling in the hallway — and it’s not even the Shadow Monster, who’s still lurking around the Upside Down. And in one of the shorter, fast-paced clips at the end of the trailer, it looks like Billy has a nasty bite that’s getting infected.
Netflix previously released a trailer featuring Hawkins’ fictional Starcourt Mall, which includes such staple ’80s stores as The Gap, Waldenbooks, and Sam Goody music. Only The Gap still exists here in 2018. In the food court, we got a glimpse of Steve Harrington (Keery) working at the fictional ice cream shop Scoops Ahoy, along with a new character Robin (Hawke). Hope there’s no demogorgon in the Rocky Road.
Seasons 1 and 2 of Stranger Things both took place when the kids were in school, with season 2 even culminating at the winter ball. So it’s about time they enjoy a summer break.
“It’s about the swimming pool and campfires and parades and Fourth of July and fireworks,” Shawn Levy told Variety at PaleyFest in March 2018. “So there’s kind of a poppy fun to season 3 that’s really enjoyable before things inevitably turn super dark.”
On the red carpet for Netflix’s annual FYSEE event in 2018, Brown was coy about Eleven’s appreciation of the summer: “Eleven has a great time with summer. That’s all I can say.”
Stranger Things season 3 was supposed to return in 2018 (and was filmed and ready to go), but Netflix pushed the premiere to summer 2019. Netflix Vice President of Original Series Cindy Holland told the Television Critics Association that the production team needed more time to create bigger visual effects.
“There are more special effects, and I think it’s going to be a really exciting season, but it just takes a little more time,” Holland said. “It’s a hand-crafted 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. I think it’s going to be a fantastic season, worth the wait.”
Jumping ahead to the summer sets season 3 firmly in 1985, Levy told The Hollywood Reporter in March 2018. For those of you who didn’t get to live through that glorious summer, it was the time when Back to the Future, The Goonies, and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure came out. Stranger Things star Noah Schnapp suspects the boys have seen those movies.
“Yeah, of course,” Schnapp told Rotten Tomatoes at FYSEE. “There are so many references from different things from the ’80s. They do such a good job of it.”
Other new casting includes Elwes as Mayor Kline and Jake Busey as a reporter for the Hawkins Post, whom we see glimpses of in the new trailer.
Casting director Carmen Cuba said on a panel that Hawke (PBS’s Little Women), whose character is being described as an “alternative girl,” is a true talent. (Plus, judging from both the teaser video and the trailer, she wears a Scoops Ahoy uniform well.)
“What’s great about her, just like these kids and the other one, is that she’s just an individual,” Cuba said. “There is not another human on this Earth like Maya Hawke — her rhythm, her energy, her humor.”
Whoever Hawke plays has scenes with Eleven too, Brown revealed during the panel.
“She’s so good,” Brown said. “I remember the Duffers and I looked at each other and were like, ‘Wow, she’s really good.’ I want to say so much more, but I can’t.”
Priah Ferguson has been made a series regular, so expect to see Lucas’ little sister Erica hassling the boys a lot more. Take that, nerds.
Levy also told THR that Keery would have more to do as Steve Harrington. Even though he’s not related to any of the boys, Steve protecting them as a father figure worked out so well that they’re going with that.
“We’ll definitely get to see some more of Steve Harringon in season 3,” Levy said. “I’ll just say we won’t be abandoning the Dad Steve magic.”
The winter ball saw Eleven and Mike (Wolfhard) pair off and share a kiss, and Lucas (McLaughlin) and Max kiss too. Those couples are still together in the summer, Levy told THR. That does not include, however, Dustin and Nancy (Dyer), who was being nice at the ball, but promised Dustin the girls would appreciate him when they’re older. Brown also told Variety more recently that season 3 finds Eleven adjusting to her human side.
“It’s really a coming of age for her and understanding what being a normal teenage girl is,” Brown said.
The kids may have vanquished the demogorgon in season 1 and demodog in season 2, but the big shadow monster is still waiting for them.
“The shadow monster is still lurking up there out there in the Upside Down,” Levy told Variety. “He is determined to find a way to achieve his goals.”
Netflix released this video of the Stranger Things cast gathering for the first season 3 table read back in April of 2018, and confirmed that production began on April 20 of that year.
The first bit of season 3 news ever reported concerned the pay raises given to the Stranger Things cast: The main young cast got bumps to between $200,000 and $250,000 an episode, while Ryder and Harbour could have gotten as much as $300,000, Deadline reported.
They’ve earned it, making Stranger Things Netflix’s biggest original series hit. Even Dyer and Heaton joined the six-figures club, with between $100,000-150,000 per episode.
Stranger Things seasons 1 and 2 are now streaming on Netflix.