— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) November 6, 2018
For a show as popular as Stranger Things, it’s amazing how well the cast and crew have been able to keep secrets about the third season — especially when fans have been chasing down the stars and production (and not to mention nosy reporters trying to get scoops).
Even on Nov. 6, the newly dubbed “Stranger Things Day” (it’s the anniversary of Will Byers’ disappearance in 1983), the cast recorded a video greeting in front of a black screen (lest any details be discerned) — and you can watch it above. As you can see, there’s no new footage, and so far the only bits of real information we have about season 3 have come from public appearances at panel events, trades reporting on new casting, or cryptic trailers released by the show.
Rotten Tomatoes has scoured all the reports to figure out just what’s happening in Stranger Things season 3 so far. Even when we interviewed Millie Bobby Brown at Netflix’s summer FYSEE event for Emmy voters, she asked fans to wait until season 3 is ready to watch on Netflix.
“Why would you want bits and pieces when you could have the whole show all in one?” Brown said. “I think it’s important for the fans to know that they’re going to get the show. It’s not like we’re going to keep it from them. We’re doing it for them. We’re doing it for the fans, so I think it’s important for them to understand that our privacy on our set, our work on our set should be respected.”
Even kind words from Eleven won’t satisfy the truly obsessed Stranger Things fan. So here are, er, 11 things we do know about Stranger Things Season 3 so far.
Netflix released a trailer for the fictional Starcourt Mall, opening in Hawkins next summer. The mall 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 (Joe Keery) working at the fictional ice cream shop Scoops Ahoy, along with a new character Robin (Maya 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. Season 2 even culminated in 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. “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 FYSEE, 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 was supposed to return this year, but Netflix pushed the premiere to summer 2019. Netflix Vice President of Original Series Cindy Holland told the Television Critics Association they need 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. 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 on Saturday. “There are so many references from different things from the ’80s. They do such a good job of it.”
Maya Hawke’s casting has been previously reported. Casting director Carmen Cuba spoke on the FYSEE panel about Hawke (PBS’s Little Women), whose character is being described as an “alternative girl.” She wears a Scoops Ahoy uniform well though.
“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 Erica hassling the boys a lot more. Take that, nerds.
Levy also told THR that Joe 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 (Finn Wolfhard) pair off and share a kiss, and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Max (Sadie Sink) kiss too. Those couples are still together in the summer, Levy told THR.
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 on April 27. It confirms they began the read on April 20, so they’ve been hard at work for a whole month now.
The first bit of season 3 news ever reported concerned the pay raises given to the Stranger Things cast: The young cast got bumps to between $200,000 and $250,000 an episode, while Winona Ryder and David 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 Charlie 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.