When you have a show as mysterious and highly-anticipated as Stranger Things, it’s never too early to start wildly speculating about the next season. Now, I realize Stranger Things 2 was only released on Netflix last Friday, but if you’re like me you binged it in 5 days or less. In order to stave off nagging thoughts like “Maybe I should get a life” I decided it was necessary to pitch some ideas to Stranger Things showrunners the Duffer brothers (because they’re obviously reading this).
If you haven’t seen the second season, I urge you to go watch it now. Stranger Things 2 is thrilling, funny and somehow both trauma-filled and charming. It mostly lives up to the hype.
Season 2 ended in a more settled place than the semi-cliffhangers of season 1, but that just means we have more space to guess where the show will go next. The following is a list of the best plot ideas for Stranger Things 3. Some of them are serious and some of them are extremely serious. Beware, spoilers will follow.
History of Hawkins Lab and Dr. Brenner’s return
Like Lost did with the Dharma Initiative, we could get some more backstory on the shadowy Hawkins Lab. We know it was built post-World War II and run by the Department of Energy. At some point, the CIA began controversial mind-control experiments that led to the birth of Eleven and her psychokinetic abilities. What was it like when the lab started? How were they able to keep everything so secretive? Was Dr. Martin Brenner (Matthew Modine) always an evil scientist or did he turn into one?
Speaking of Dr. Brenner, he will almost certainly return in season 3. In episode 7 of season 2, Eleven’s “lost sister” Eight hints that Dr. Brenner is still very much alive after his uncertain fate at the end of season 1. Considering his complex relationship with Eleven, his reappearance would have profound consequences.
What about Nine and Ten?
Season 2 kicked off by showing us Eight, or Kali, whose power is making people hallucinate whatever she wants them to see. While this episode was the weakest of Stranger Things 2, it could be fascinating if all of the other lost Hawkins Lab children came back. What would their powers be? What have they been up to since they got out?
The last shot of season 2 shows the Mind Flayer in the Upside Down hovering over the Hawkins Middle School gym while the kids are dancing at the Snow Ball. According to the Duffers, the Mind Flayer is now keenly aware of Eleven’s presence after she shut the gate to the Upside Down. Hence the music choice in that scene, The Police’s all-time stalker anthem “Every Breath You Take.” So it’s almost certainly going to come after Eleven and our heroes. Could the other Hawkins Lab kids get together to take the Mind Flayer down?
Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper seem like a natural couple. They grew up in the same town, they both have severe trauma in their past (Hopper fought in Vietnam and then lost his daughter to cancer, Joyce keeps losing Will to an alternate dimension monster), and they now have two years of shared dramatic experiences.
Look, I know Bob Newby’s body hasn’t even been buried yet. I’m as upset about this as you are. But the first two seasons seem to be gradually revealing that Jopper should be a thing. Don’t be too surprised if we kick off season 3 a year or two later with a happy Hopper household featuring Will and Eleven as step-siblings. Family game night would be a competitive round of “Who has the deepest psychological scars?”
Steve vs. Billy: Who ya got?
Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of King Steve vs. Billy the Archetypal 80s Teenage Villain. Billy had our hero Steve Harrington’s number throughout season 2. He rocked ol’ Steve on the basketball court (how unnecessary and lame was that between-the-legs layup, though?) and then pummeled him in a fistfight at the end of season 2. It would be immensely satisfying if Steve got his revenge next season. Team Steve!
More from the Steve and Dustin buddy-comedy
Speaking of Steve, one of the highlights of season 2 was the buddy-comedy scenes between him and Dustin. Since Steve will be graduating high school, there’s a chance we won’t see much of him in season 3. Steve stans like myself will not abide this.
At the start of season 2, he’s telling Nancy that he might give up on the college dream and stay in town to work for his dad. This was a shrewd move from the writers, because now he can plausibly stick around and keep getting involved in Dustin’s high-jinks. (Quick caveat: Steve claims he’s the “world’s best babysitter” but is he really? The kids he’s watching are basically in serious danger almost every second he’s “babysitting.” 13-year-old Mad Max drove a car under his watch!) I can’t wait for a full episode of Dustin and new big brother Steve wandering around Hawkins finding trouble.
Let’s go back to that fire arcade
The first time you really feel at home in Stranger Things 2 is when Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will are hanging out at the arcade in the first episode. These scenes are what make the show special. So let’s do an entire episode set in that dope arcade. Picture it. The gang tries to beat each other’s top scores while that Cheetos-munching employee peers over their shoulder and pesters Mike about Nancy. Later, maybe Lucas’ sister can wander in and eviscerate everyone in the place with her withering sass.
Bob Newby origin story
Finally, we come to the best idea I’ve got for Stranger Things 3: An entire flashback season of Bob’s past. We’ll get to see Bob founding the Hawkins High AV Club, Bob telling dad jokes at age 15, Bob impressing his nerdy friends with brain teasers, Bob getting bullied by Hopper (not great, Bob), Bob buying his first Bob-mobile, Bob doling out terrible advice, and Bob’s euphoria when Radioshack first hired him.
I think we’d all be okay taking a break from the main storyline if it meant we got to see this. From my keyboard to the Duffers’ ears…