Sci-fi series Stranger Things was one of 2016’s most talked about television events. Spoken about with similar enthusiasm as Westworld or Game of Thrones, the young cast had won over audiences from the off; no doubt causing a surge in Netflix binges the world over.
With season two out this year, fans are keen to know what’s in store for our heroes and, importantly, the fate of Eleven (played by Millie Bobby Brown) as well as what the ending of the season means for rescued Will (Noah Snapp).
What we know so far
With relatively little revealed in 2016, New Year’s Day saw their Twitter account tease some pretty cool news…
1984 is going to be a strange year. pic.twitter.com/cD2usFZRKJ
— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) January 1, 2017
Yep, the follow-up episodes will be set in 1984 – so season two essentially continues from where we left off. Will went missing on 6 November, 1983 and by the end of the season we see Will and his family – mum Joyce (Winona Ryder) and brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) – sit down for Christmas dinner, thus seeing out the year together.
But what happens in the time between season one ending and the second commencing?
Significantly, as you can see in the teaser (at the bottom), it says the story continues in the fall of 1984… which is winter, implying we’ll see the story pick up almost a year later. What’s happened in the meantime will surely be explained in its opening few episodes.
So a period has passed since that shot panned out from the cosy dinner scene the Byers were having, despite audiences knowing Will’s still very much connected to the Upside Down dimension but we don’t know specifics just yet.
New Year, new problems for Will and co., as a host of unanswered questions lead us into season two as we look set to be plunged deeper into the murky world of what Matthew Modine’s Dr. Brenner (he’s definitely dead, right?) was up to and the repercussions of splicing gateways to other dimensions are.
Is Eleven dead? If not, where is she?
What’s going on with Will now he’s back?
Has Hopper turned to the dark side?
If the following tweet is anything to go by, it seems the sophomore season will focus on the terrifying Upside Down world where we assume Eleven is trapped; with a strong hint that such plans have been well underway since November…
ɹɐǝʎ ʇxǝu noʎ ǝǝs
uoıʇɔnpoɹd uı ʞɔɐq pic.twitter.com/jYd1tDsPRi
— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) November 4, 2016
When’s it out and where?
First thing’s first, season two hasn’t got a confirmed release date yet – it’s just down for 2017, and IMDb pen it as airing in July. The likelihood is it’ll begin mid-to-late summer and is back exclusively on Netflix.
Season one was a binge-friendly eight episodes long and, also according to IMDb, we’ll be getting nine this time around.
Who’s in it – is everyone returning?
Yes! Everyone’s back – apart from Brenner (above), but that’s not to say he won’t miraculously appear later on in the series. So, despite intense speculation, Millie Bobby Brown will be back – in what capacity we’re unsure – as Eleven, with Will (Snapp), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Steve (Joe Keery), Joyce (Ryder), and Jim Hopper (David Harbour) all returning.
New faces joining include Sean Austin (yes, the guy from The Goonies and The Lord of the Rings’ Samwise) as Bob, with youngsters Roman (Linnea Berthelsen), Billy (Dacre Montgomery), and Max (Sadie Sink) entering the fray as fresh characters.
What’s it actually going to be about?
Co-Creator Ross Duffer told Variety that, despite Will escaping the nightmarish Upside Down, he’s still suffering: “…it’s had some kind of effect on him, both emotionally and perhaps physically. 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 2. What effect does living in there for a week have on him?”
It seems clear we will learn a lot more about the Upside Down and the show’s writers essentially have a pass to delve as far and wide as they see fit. After all, when you open doors to other dimensions you’ve no idea what long-term damage has been done and the extent of the nasties that have been let through.
Whatever’s still going on with Will and his connection to the darker world he inhabited for a week, it’ll (hopefully) all tie in to when we get to see Eleven again. Her story is possibly the most interesting as there’s still plenty to learn about her past. Her reintroduction may come early on to establish some sort of semblance with viewers… but then again they may pull a Luke Skywalker a la Star Wars: The Force Awakens on us.
And then there’s Barb – a character who despite the briefest of appearances – has become a phenomenon in the world of internet memes (#JusticeForBarb FTW). But fans shouldn’t get their hopes up just yet because there’s a strong chance we won’t be seeing or hearing from her ever again. Co-director Matt Duffer previously told IGN: “I can’t see it happening,” when questioned about Barb’s return, but did reassure fans: “We’ll make sure there’s some justice for Barb.” Hurrah!
What do you want to see in season two of Stranger Things? What surprises do you think will be in store for us? Share your thoughts in the comments below…
Mike is a freelance TV, film, music and entertainment writer, with an unhealthy obsession for Game of Thrones. He’s written for MTV, GamesRadar+, Total Film, GoThinkBig, Loaded, and regularly scribbles for Yahoo Movies, BBC Radio 1, BuzzFeed, VODzilla, and Metro.